I've been listening to disco, lately.
Yeah, yeah, I know.
I can't help myself. There are some classics out there that just set my veins afire. Stayin' Alive, YMCA, Play That Funky Music, Boogie Shoes. I went to Amazon in search of compilations that might give me some of the essentials, and 3 discs later...
I'm a sucker for genre compilations. It's like a greatest hits album of assorted 1-hit wonders. Thanks to them, I have enough ironically cool music to DJ a wedding, give or take a Righteous Brothers album.
There's the 80's New Wave disc, that has I Want Candy by Bow Wow Wow, the B-52's Rock Lobster (don't worry, I've got Love Shack on another disc), Tainted Love, Come On Eileen, etc. Or there's the 80's hip-hop disc, which has Jump Around, Set Adrift on Memory Bliss, Around the Way Girl (sadly, no Mama Said Knock You Out), Nuthin' but a 'G' Thing, etc. Or the collection of 90's techno, featuring such ubiquitous toe-tappers as Mr. Vain, 100% Pure Love, What is Love (baby, don't hurt me), or Good Vibrations, that seminal chart-topper that gave us Mark Wahlberg with his funky bunch.
I sometimes wonder how many fans have harassed Mr. Wall-Burg about his dance-tastic past. Alternately, I wonder how many fans he's secretly killed.
Soundtracks are good, but a genuine compilation is better. Soundtracks always end up with some kind of filler that worked as background music during the film but isn't worth listening to all the way through--or worse, you get stuff like the American Pie soundtrack, that is chock-full of non-hits by the bands whose hits are peppered across the movie.
Sometimes you get a Mallrats or a Pulp Fiction--a seamless blend of great genre tunes that are only occasionally interrupted by dialogue. C'est la vie.
And, of course, some compilations are completely worthless--the No Alternative charity disc that came out years and years ago and features all the biggest artists of the 90's grunge scene playing music that obviously didn't make it onto their albums. The only song worth taking away from this is Verse Chorus Verse (a.k.a. "The Happy Song") by Nirvana--the record's unlisted bonus track.
And I have yet to sully my hands with the dirt from a Now That's What I Call Music volume. Even I have standards. Or not. It occurs to me that I was listening to the Bee Gees this evening, whilst barreling down Highway 40.
I think of them as guilty pleasures. Besides, my iPod is brimming over with genuinely cool/good music, mainstays of my youth, and the obligatory awesome stuff that I've always loved and you've never heard of (like, for example, 9 discs of The Seatbelts). But man cannot live by pretentious crap alone. Sometimes I just want to put on my... my, my, my, my, my boogies shoes.