2020 has been the worst example of a year with Corona 19, racial tensions, political unrest, and world-wide lockdowns. With everything at a standstill, artists were forced to stay home and create, and create they did! Kylie Minogue, Jessie Ware, Horse Meat Disco, Róisín Murphy, and all the other amazing artists that contributed Disco & Funk are to be thanked for providing joy in the middle of pure darkness. What do we do when it gets dark? We turn on a disco ball and dance!
1. Kylie Minogue - Last Chance
It is an impossible task to choose the "best" track from Kylie Minogue's transcendent Disco album, but "Last Chance" resonates strongly because it still feels like classic Kylie, ala "Spinning Around," but sounds perfectly in step with modern disco, like only Kylie can! She's at her best when she calls us onto the dancefloor, and this album couldn't have come out at a more welcome time in our history!
2. Róisín Murphy - Murphy's Law
Róisín Murphy is back and sounding more like a disco queen than ever! "Murphy's Law" is a sultry nod to classics like Donna Summer's "Bad Girls," albeit a slowed-down version of it. Ms. Murphy has managed to show us how much vocal range she really has and that she isn't willing to just rest on her laurels. Róisín is like a fine wine that continues to get better with age!
3. Jessie Ware - What’s Your Pleasure?
I am remiss to say that I missed Jessie Ware's brilliant album when it was released, but "What's Your Pleasure?" was one of the top 5 best disco records of 2020 and the title track represents that perfectly! This song is as steamy as the rest of the record, so you may feel compelled to strip off a layer or three. Don't say I didn't warn you!
4. Pet Shop Boys - Monkey Business
Thank god for the genius collaboration of PSB and Stuart Price! Hotspot completes the trilogy of albums that have all been wonderful celebrations of dance music. "Monkey Business" is a full-on celebration of disco culture. It's a wonderful reminder of the freedom that dancing can provide to ease the strain of everyday living.
5. Hot Chip - Straight To The Morning feat. Jarvis Cocker
This IS A BANGER! Just when we thought Hot Chip might be heading into the ambient landscape, they come screaming back, with a little help from Jarvis Cocker, on "Straight To The Morning"! The song is projecting to a Covid free time where anything goes until the morning light. We all want to go there, and with any luck, early 2021 will give us the opportunity!
6. The Shapeshifters - Finally Ready feat. Billy Porter
Oh, Billy Porter! You are bringing realness to this brilliant track by The Shapeshifters. Simon Marlin has been bringing us the finest house and disco music since 2003 and the release of "Finally Ready" for Pride was pure genius. This is a track that gives all of us the opportunity to choose love and to accept it for ourselves. And the category is...LOVE!
7. Horse Meat Disco - Let's Go Dancing feat. Amy Douglas (Extended 12" Mix)
Horse Meat Disco has been everywhere in 2020, despite not actually being able to be anywhere! Amy Douglas has a voice for the ages and is also having a stellar 2020 professionally as a singer and songwriter (Róisín Murphy's "Something More"). HMD's LP Love and Dancing is chocked full of killer performances and Amy is all over it! Because the LP was released in February, we have had the benefit of dancing to it all year and I imagine well into 2021!
8. BRWN LUXXRY - Teddy
Jeremiah Red and Friend Of Sarah Connor came back with another floor scorcher, this time with "Teddy," reminding just how funky Teddy Pendergrass was. The BRWN LUXXRY project is proving just how much these two producers love the artists that got funk and disco started in the first place.
9. Bootsy Collins - The Power of the One feat. George Benson & The Williams Singers
Bootsy Collins is all I should have to say when it comes to funk! Bootsy snuck the stellar funk album The Power of the One out in September, with a list of guest stars like Snoop Dogg, George Benson, Victor Wooten, Branford Marsalis, Larry Graham, and a host of others that boggles the mind! Do yourself a favor and give it a listen if you haven't. This is the real deal!
10. Birdee & Andre Espeut - Can't Get Enough
"Can't Get Enough" is exactly how I feel about this song! Birdee was smart to enlist the talents of Andre Espeut, one of the most in-demand singers working in the disco genre. The result is a modern yet classic disco gem that simply emanates joy! You won't be able to get enough of this song either!
11. Jafunk & DiRTY RADiO - The Baddest (Kraak & Smaak Remix)
I like this song by Jafunk & DiRTY RADiO (see the April chart)! Kraak & Smaak have lightened up the funk angle and added a nice, breezy nu-disco feel to the track, which breaths new life into a song you might have forgotten about (shame on you). It's a pretty high honor to have this well-respected duo take on your track, which is a real statement about the quality of the original.
12. Andy Bach - Shake Down & Boogie
Tropical Disco has brought us Andy Bach's funky jam with "Shake Down & Boogie." Swirling synth strings guide you to the dancefloor, and the plunking bass line will make you sweat until you scream "Whoo!" at the end of the track.
13. Patawawa - Adadadadeya
Try to say this title 3 times fast! Patawawa is making the most of quarantine by recording each of their parts separately and through the power of the internet, a new song was born! This track is super catchy and is worth spinning at home, poolside, or on the beach (if you can safely spend time on one!)
14. Studio 54 Music - 'Lovin’ Is Really My Game feat. Adeline
JKriv headed up the production of a fantastic new 4 track EP for the new Studio 54 label. Disco diva Adeline was brought on board to update the classic Brainstorm track "'Lovin' Is Really My Game," giving this classic a fresh breath of life and another reason to dance out the bad of 2020!
15. Anoraak - Transatlantic
Anoraak is back with a deep disco track that is on par with April's "Gang," but with a much deeper groove. Gone are the driving sexy vocals that the previous track contained and beautifully replaced with jammy bass and synths. Someday we will all get "Transatlantic" again, but until then, enjoy this!
16. Jet Boot Jack - Get On Down
I don't know where Jet Boot Jack finds the time to work out because he's one of the busiest DJ/producers in the biz! Each release is finding his disco game getting stronger, and both tracks on this EP are very solid. Bright brassy horns backed up by handclaps galore are the driving force behind "Get On Down." Don't mind if I do!
17. Yuksek - The Only Reason (Mark Lower Remix)
The flurry of remixes from Yuksek's Nosso Ritmo has been staggering (3 EP's, all worth checking out!), so when the third EP was released and I heard the Mark Lower remix of "The Only Reason" I couldn't believe how he took an already incredible song and made it even more disco! Lower is another young talent that is getting the recognition he deserves, and who better to provide the remix material than Yuksek?
18. Igor Gonya - Disco All Night Long
As I have said before, Igor Gonya makes a lot of great tracks, so many in fact that this one got lost on July's terrific EP Say I! Say G! for The Basement Discos label. "Disco All Night Long" is all about the love of roller disco, which if you watch any house or disco music video lately is on full display. This track is a great representation of an artist that you are going to want to watch!
19. DISCO LUST - Lost Control
December is still bringing the heat by way of Disco Lust! The duo's In The Night EP on Spa In Disco Records is one of three fantastic disco tunes full of '70s glossy brass, strings, congas, and sexy rhythm guitar that will keep you dancing well into the new year.
20. Drop Out Orchestra - Tunga Stenar (Monsieur Van Pratt Remix)
It's been a while since we've heard from Drop Out Orchestra, but it was certainly worth the wait! "Tunga Stenar" is deeply funky, a little jazzy, and silky smooth, a perfect jam for the summer. Monsieur Van Pratt is once again on fire with this remix, proving why he is one of the best in the business right now!
21. Hotmood - Funk Is Future
Hotmood frequently visits the disco/funk chart, and I actually had another track picked out for this chart, but he decided to slip in "Funk Is Future" right here in December! This song is funky while being completely elegant! Slapping bass and sweet brass notes have a feeling of nostalgia that takes you all the way back. You can find this track on Mango Sounds on December 18th.
22. Breakbot - Be Mine Tonight feat. Delafleur
It had been a minute since we were graced with a new Breakbot song, but "Be Mine Tonight" was certainly worth the wait! Delafleur adds a delicate grace with their sweet vocals. This song is summer in 2:50 and I can't wait to hear the rest of what is in store for us this year from Breakbot! Check it out on Ed Banger Records now!
23. Ken@Work - Wake Up Your Body
Ken@Work is another artist that has been burning up the disco charts all year and has left one of the best for last! "Wake Up Your Body" has a nice early '80s R&B groove to it, and believe me when I say we are all ready to wake up our bodies after the slumber of 2020.
24. LUXXURY - ...At Any Moment
Blake Robin aka LUXXURY is on a creative roll, and "...At Any Moment" is the latest funky stroll through the disco landscape. Coming from the upcoming EP Moody (Disco) Music, this track repeats that we need to live our best lives now because things can change at any moment, which we are all too familiar with. The song closes with "Everything's Going To Be Alright," a sentiment we can all use in the chaos of today.
25. Loréan - Recovery
Loréan's "Recovery" sounds like a deeply needed breath of fresh air. All any of us want to do is move on from 2020 and it's tracks like this that will get us there. This is the most disco-tinged track from Loréan's full-length release of the same name, but if you like this, the rest of the tracks just as enjoyable.
Make sure to check out my SoundCloud 2020 playlist:
For even more Disco & Funk, check out my Spotify playlist: