Dance Music By People Who Hate Dance Music
May 16, 2008 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I recently rediscovered the song "Man, It's So Loud In Here" by They Might Be Giants, and the delicious juxtaposition of the New Order/Pet Shop Boys pastiche of the music and the sardonic treatment of club culture in the lyrics leads me to my question: What are some other songs that sound like typical dance music but which have lyrics that are critical of dance music or club culture in general?
posted by murphy slaw to Media & Arts (35 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
"You'll Dance to Anything" by the Dead Milkmen
posted by unknowncommand at 11:14 AM on May 16, 2008 [3 favorites]

Not exactly what you're asking for, but "Title of the Song" by Da Vinci's Notebook does something similar to boy band music.
posted by Green With You at 11:16 AM on May 16, 2008

Dead Milkmen's Instant Club Hit (You'll Dance to Anything)?
posted by geckoinpdx at 11:17 AM on May 16, 2008

gah! beaten to the punch.
posted by geckoinpdx at 11:17 AM on May 16, 2008

Ha! Here's the video for it too.
posted by unknowncommand at 11:26 AM on May 16, 2008

Bjork - There's More to Life Than This

Dntel - This is the Dream of Evan and Chan (except it's not really "typical dance music" -- weird meter shifts, etc.)
posted by Jaltcoh at 11:26 AM on May 16, 2008

Oh shoot, nevermind. I know that there was one, though.
posted by unknowncommand at 11:27 AM on May 16, 2008

LCD Soundsystem - Losing My Edge (it's more of a critique of hipster culture, though)
posted by burnmp3s at 11:33 AM on May 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Justice's DVNO, while somewhat obtuse and likely metaphoric, is at least partially about getting into a dance club. It also has the best video I've seen in years.
posted by eschatfische at 11:52 AM on May 16, 2008

Green Velvet - Flash -
wouldn't you know it,
not here more than 30 seconds,
and I see a bad little kid doing bad little things,
he's sucking on a balloon
now this is not an ordinary balloon
it's a balloon filled with the gas nitrous oxide
laughing gas
hee hee hee haw haw
but this is no laughing matter
camera's ready, prepare to flash

posted by nomisxid at 11:53 AM on May 16, 2008

More along the line of parody than outright attack, look through stuff by Handsome Boy Modeling School lyrics and Bran Van 3000 (Go Shoppin', Drinking in LA, Loaded).

(This wasn't your question, but my award for 80's club music song with most incongruous lyrics still goes to the song "Twist" from NIN's demo album Purest Feeling. It's masochism, not social critique, of course. ...I had forgotten how funny this album is. The song Purest Feeling has horns, and "Maybe Just Once" makes me keep expecting New Kids on the Block to take over...)
posted by salvia at 11:54 AM on May 16, 2008

Regurgitator - ! (The Song Formerly Known As):

you won't see me tribal raving baby
cos i won't ever look that good
i'd rather dance in ugly pants in the comfort of a loungeroom in suburbia

posted by goo at 11:59 AM on May 16, 2008

goo - awesome, that's exactly the kind of thing I'm looking for. Keep 'em coming, folks.
posted by murphy slaw at 12:04 PM on May 16, 2008

Instant Mash by Joe Jackson? Dancing Fool by Zappa?
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:07 PM on May 16, 2008

Sorry, I couldn't find a video for Joe, but the tune is on his first album, Look Sharp!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 12:11 PM on May 16, 2008

I was always of the opinion that New Order's Fine Time was quite stinging, with the deliberately-cheesy vocal line and the unmistakeable sound of sheep bleating through the outro.
posted by genghis at 12:13 PM on May 16, 2008

Burn down the disco
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life
Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music they constantly play

Panic, the Smiths
posted by gimonca at 12:15 PM on May 16, 2008

Severed Heads' "Heart of the Party", from Gigapus fits your bill terrifyingly well.

Who will tell my drunken friend
that she will die and go to hell?
She sings la dee dee da, and if evil and sins
are people's beginnings, then I will be there
(for all those feet that keen and bells that ring)

It is an ASTOUNDINGLY danceable tune and part of every running mix I have ever made.

A3's "You Don't Dance to Techno Any More" is a er, honkytonk critique of electro-dance
posted by Shepherd at 12:49 PM on May 16, 2008

Here's a version of Loaded online. It's tongue-in-cheek so I'm not convinced it qualifies. It largely consists of the lyrics "partypartypartyparty partypartypartyparty Get fuckin' loaded."

There's also DJ's Girl ("excuse me, Mr. bouncer, let me through please! like, are you not listening to me, or what?") plus remixes here.
posted by salvia at 12:55 PM on May 16, 2008

Arctic Monkeys, "I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor", dancing to electro-pop / like a robot from 1984
posted by nicwolff at 1:02 PM on May 16, 2008

The Faint - "Glass Danse"

Watch as mirrors clear themselves
With the breath of frigid air that eased in
Made up babies all rotate as
A siren spins a beam of amber
Time sliced, beat by beat
In a row, in a club, in a line, in the city
The glass danse world flickers on
Because the cycle happens enough

posted by clcapps at 1:11 PM on May 16, 2008

A slight derail to throw in my old favorite Jack Chick + Trance = Devil Worship comic.
The Trance Cracker.

Okay, I thought it was funny.
posted by willmize at 1:34 PM on May 16, 2008

Maybe more in line would be Gary Clail's Who Pays the Piper?

It's a criticism of drugs in the club culture.
posted by geckoinpdx at 2:20 PM on May 16, 2008

I can't believe nobody's mentioned the classic KOMPRESSOR DOES NOT DANCE.
(Kompressor wasn't very fond of lowercase.) Here's a crap fake YouTube vid for audio). Almost anything by Kompressor, really.

Muscles' "Sweaty" isn't really critical, but it's such over the top party music that it could easily pass for parody. "My Friend Richard" does have some crit, though. Sweaty is up for listening at this MySpace page.

MC Chris: White Kids Love Hip Hop

Spray's "I am Gothic." ('nother crappy YouTube vid)

The Sisters of Mercy track "Floorshow" was actually Andrew taking the piss, though nobody noticed at the time.
posted by Su at 3:04 PM on May 16, 2008

May be tangential, but Public Image's Death Disco might deserve a mention. A lot of PIL is surprisingly danceable.
posted by gimonca at 3:08 PM on May 16, 2008

"Frank Sinatra" by Miss Kitten (on an album by Miss Kitten and the Hacker)

Everynight with my star friends
We eat caviar and drink champage
Sniffing in the VIP area
We talk about Frank Sinatra.
"You know Frank Sinatra?"
He's dead!

To be famous is so nice
Suck my dick
Kiss my ass
In limosines we have sex
everynight with my famous friends

This is ironic, but hey, maybe I only read it as ironic--Perhaps it's totally earnest. It *is* nice sniffing in the VIP area.
posted by zpousman at 3:21 PM on May 16, 2008

One thing about Zappa's "Dancin' Fool" is that with its 5/4 time, it's completely undanceable (or so I've been told).
posted by ShooBoo at 4:47 PM on May 16, 2008

High Times by Jamiroquai
posted by gnutron at 5:06 PM on May 16, 2008

Alabama 3 - U don't dans to Tekno anymore
posted by Martin E. at 5:29 PM on May 16, 2008

Cosign on Green Velvet, also see "La La Land"
Pulp "Sorted for E's & Wizz"
Soft Cell "Bedsitter"

LOL Kompressor, LOL X 10 --> NIN "Purest Feeling"
posted by citron at 6:33 PM on May 16, 2008

"Boys and Girls" by Blur? Sure, it's a perfect dance pop tune, but also sarcastic as hell, skewering club culture and the empty platitudes of lyrics in club music.
posted by chrchr at 6:46 PM on May 16, 2008

I'll give my votes for The Smiths,
most anything by KOMPRESSOR
and Excuse me Mr Bouncer.
Did anyone mention some of the work of MC Chris, AKA MC Pee pants on Aqua Teen and Hesh on Sealab 2020 has some good stuff that I think fits the OP's criteria.
posted by Kioki-Silver at 8:55 PM on May 16, 2008

If it's the lack of sincerity you're amused by, I'd suggest you might enjoy the flip construction - The Bird and The Bee "Polite Dance Song" involves typical dance lyrics (albeit made a touch more polite) and sweet indie music (and set to a video by Tim & Erik!).

A fun and competent song that mocks the genre with ridiculously over the top lyrics (as opposed to directly stating its dislike) is Electric Six's "Synthesizer":
Be all that you can be
Just as long as you are free
You were blind and now you see
That which is my techno

You can trip on my synthesizer
Electronic world for every boy and every girl
You can trip on my synthesizer
In the end technology unto the world will set us free

At least I hope to hell they're kidding.
posted by Gucky at 9:14 PM on May 16, 2008

Gucky - Neither of those were exactly what I had in mind, but each was great in a completely different way.

There are a ton of great answers here, I'm just flagging the ones that particularly capture my interest.
posted by murphy slaw at 11:49 PM on May 16, 2008

Ain't Goin' To Goa - Alabama 3
posted by DelusionsofGrandeur at 6:35 AM on May 17, 2008

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