5. Donna Summer - I Feel Love
I was actually going to write about Donna’s stab at the “MacArthur Park Suite”, but quickly realised that would require a thesis. And besides, “I Feel Love” makes a great contrast to my own previous thoughts on Kraftwerk. Tom reckons that this Moroder helmed disco smash is possibly the greatest single ever. I can hardly disagree. Everything you need to know about dance music lies dormant, waiting to be discovered in this peerless technological wonderland. Donna does a great job of course, with her shimmering, ethereal coos and suggestive sighs, but really this is Georgio’s show, and Underworld knew what they were doing when they sampled the itchy, globular synth riff that is the song’s only hook to serve a similar purpose in their “King of Snake”. Moroder’s mastery is even more evident when Donna’s voice drops out and all you can hear is the stomping 4/4 beat and those crazy synth oscillations wobbling back and forth, while the sound of the synths themselves slowly morphs, as if they were spinning on wheels inside your head. Needless to say it’s difficult to take the “innovations” of a broad swathe of Euro-dance music from the nineties seriously after hearing this track.
What I think I like most though is that while “I Feel Love” is the most mechanically propulsive disco track ever, it’s also impossibly smooth. Those two extremes have tended to tug dance music in different directions right through this decade, to the music’s detriment, and hearing this music reminds me of what went wrong, and how it could still be right again.
Oh, and I’m not trying to swipe Tom’s tastes. I didn’t even realise he had “Trans-Europe Express” on his best albums list until I linked to his list for this entry. Honest!