Dancing With A Synth

There is a certain beauty to electronic music. You can have the most fast-paced, head-pounding beat with the craziest synths and beat drops, but at the same time, using the same instruments, you can create the most relaxed melody—something to lull a person to sleep. Yet, lo and behold, it still falls underneath the label of electronic music/electronica, whatever the kids are calling it these days.

If you haven’t caught my drift, I’ll be writing about electronica and synth-heavy music this week.

It’s natural; sometimes rock isn’t going to cut it. Sometimes folk is too emotional. Sometimes the accent of your favorite brit-rock band is grating on your ears. It happens. Electronica is here to soothe all your pains, worries and fears.

Maybe you don’t believe me when I say you can shoegaze to a rock track or jump around to a folk song. But if you’re going to tell me you can’t dance to electronica, well, you’re lying. The synth was born so that you could dance like a madman. So, get up off of that thang, hit the floor and flail about. Bring out your worst dance moves—this is a judgment free zone.

 “Vanished” by Crystal Castles, off of their eponymous debut record.

I shit you not, I have been listening to this song since I was in eighth grade, and not once, swear on my life, have I ever gotten sick of it. It’s a timeless track.

And quite frankly, the only appropriate way to start off an electronic music playlist is with a song that is heavy in beat and unafraid to be electronic.

Listen to the bass jumping octaves, listen to that singing synthesizer and try to tell me that you don’t want to immediately dance to this song. I’m tapping my foot as I write this now, fighting the overwhelming urge to dance around my room. But unfortunately, you cannot write and dance.

Maybe someday.

“Shooting Stars” by Bag Raiders, off of their eponymous debut.

My phrase for this week has been “<insert thing> is making me feel feelings.” This track is doing exactly that.

I was in a Sephora on Fifth Avenue with my best friend, Tiffany, two years ago when a song by Bag Raiders came on. I was dancing in the store; she didn’t think I was going to find out the name of the band.

Here we are, two years later, and I’m still listening to them (There’s been a lot of personal stories in this article, wow.)

“Shooting Stars” is a song that starts off like your typical dance track. It has your synth melody and a drum beat for your feet to latch onto, but it is when the chorus hits that you are released from dancing purgatory into pure, flailing choral joy.

With each subsequent beat, your heart will break a little more. See? Not all electronic music is about drinking your liver to death.

“Night By Night” by Chromeo, off of their album Business Casual.

Chromeo is definitely one of the coolest electronic groups making music today. David 1 is sexy, clean and well-dressed whereas P-Thugg is the down-and-gritty master of sound. What else do you need in a band?

If you need to feel like a badass when walking to class, put this track on. It’ll keep your pace quick and you can make those strides whatever you want them to be. You might be even dancing on your way to class.

I’ve always wanted to see that/do that, but I guess there are too many stairs on this campus for that.

PROVE ME WRONG.

“The Bay” by Metronomy, off of their album, The English Riviera.

Up until this point, we have had your conventional electronic dance songs. Let’s decrease your heart rate; constant heart palpitations are never good. “The Bay” is here to get you back into normalcy and good health.

Shake your shoulders a little bit, stare at your shoes. Imagine yourself on a sunny beach despite all of this rain. With a crisp bass line and even fresher synth, there is nothing to complain about. So while, “This isn’t Paris / This isn’t London / And it’s not Berlin / And it’s not Hong Kong / Not Tokyo,” it’s at least fun to pretend.

“Take Me Over” by Cut Copy, off of their album, Zonoscope.

This bass is infectious, the synthesizer the dreamiest thing in the whole world. If “The Bay” has you thinking about all the places you would rather be other than in the bowels of Miguel Hall, take a deep breath with Cut Copy and stroll on over to paradise.

This is another key example of chill, yet danceable, electronica. You don’t need a bass drop for it to be good. Cut Copy has been heavily influenced by the 80s as made apparent by Dan Whitford’s vocal style.

It’s okay, just embrace the 80s. You’re going to fall in love with the decade sooner or later.

“Sometimes” by Miami Horror, off of their record, Illumination.

Are you ready to go on a space adventure fueled by the synthesizer? Because I f*ckin’ am.

With atmospheric vocals, it’s like you’re driving down the highway with your hair down with your best friends. Drum your hands against the dashboard, maybe even honk the horn to the beat. Move to this song.

My favorite kind of lyrics are ones you can’t discern, so you’re just making the strangest noises. Paired with bad dancing (maybe you’re a good dancer? I haven’t met one). You’ll certainly be a hit at all the parties.

“Walking On A Dream” by Empire Of The Sun, off of their album, Walking On A Dream.

“We are always running for the thrill of it.” Well, I’m glad someone is getting some sort of sick pleasure out of running.

Picture yourself in Sweden at some sort of resort—that’s the kind of feeling this song evokes. Being blissfully away from it all and chill enough to not have a care in the world. Luke Steele’s voice states that he’s too cool for school, and that’s how you should be feeling when listening to “Walking On A Dream.”

“Oblivion” by Grimes, off of her record, Vision.

“Oblivion” is one of the most haunting songs I’ve found as of late. The echoing chorus chills you to the bone, as if you’re walking out on your own, no matter where. Most importantly, the synth follows a strict pattern, but this constant repetition allows for every kind of dancing possible.

It is a misleading track, however. With such a happy melody, it is easy to ignore the lyrics. But lyrics such as: “Someone could break your neck / Coming up behind you / Always coming / And you’d never have a clue,” are the complete opposite of what the song sounds like. Misleading is an understatement.

Either way, you must shoooooOOOOOEGAZE.

“Last Forever” by Fenech-Soler, off of their debut album, Rituals.

This song will not trick you. No, it’s just that happy of a song. Feel free to jump around with your suitemates. “Feel so alive / We can make this last forever,” hell yeah! It’s (almost) the end of the semester. That’s something to celebrate.

I have little to say about this song other than the fact that it just puts a smile on my face and it should make you smile, too. Sometimes you just need a fun song. The synth’s refrain is what holds this song together and it is certainly something to bob your head to.

“Love Is All I Got” by Feed Me featuring Crystal Fighters, off of his record, Calamari Tuesday.

“Love Is All I Got” is the perfect blend of indie electronica and your classic EDM-esque bass drop. Crystal Fighters bring to the table a tribal aspect to electronic music, setting you on a listening journey to some distant, far-off desert island. Feed Me brings you back to the modern era, giving you the synth solo of a lifetime.

I bet you didn’t see that coming. SYNTH SOLOS ARE COOL, GUYS.