Singles of the year: #25

25. Dragostea Din Tei – O-Zone

1999: Walk Like A Panther – The All Seeing I featuring Tony Christie
1994: Superstar – Sonic Youth
1989: Whatcha Gonna Do With My Lovin’ – Inner City

Basically, I’m with Nigella Lawson on this.

When describing her tastes, the Domestic Goddess explained (and I wish I could find the precise quote, because she explained it so well) that she tended to favour music with an intense, surging, ecstatic quality to it; music whch floods the senses with an overwhelming feeling of elemental joy.

As it is with Nigella, whose Desert Island Discs choices included Sugar Sugar, Ye Ke Ye Ke, Hey Boy Hey Girl and the Hardfloor remix of Blue Monday, so it is with me and daft little Eurodisco nuggets such as Dragostea Din Tei (which even moved me to start a weblog conga line over the summer).

Because when all is said and done and dusted and dissected, and considered and compared and contrasted, and appreciated and accomodated and alphabetically filed by artist: the musical aesthetic which perhaps chimes closest to my singular little soul is precisely this aesthetic of ecstatically joyful abandon. It’s an instant hit, which frequently (if by no means always) wears off quite quickly, forcing me to trawl with a wide net.

(Which helps to explain all the accumulated yardage of DJ mix CDs from the 1990s, unplayed for years, mutely festering in the spare room.)

Yes, it’s formulaic, and thus best not picked apart too closely. And OK, its best examples may often be achieved as much by accident as design. And sure, I can see why this stuff pisses so many people off – including my long-suffering Life Partner, to whom it is an anathema. Apart from anything else, it’s just so damned intrusive; drafting you into its slipstream, robbing you of free will, insisting that you surrender to its relentless collectivism and – worst of all! – join in.

To finely tuned sensibilities, this must all be distressingly jarring. However, it’s precisely this intrusive, communal quality to which I respond. Indeed, I positively embrace it. For when tunes such as these are playing, some measure of happiness cannot help but leak in through the cracks, no matter how glum my overall state of mind might be at the time.

Even during some of the worst episodes of my Uniquely Troubled And Tortured Adolescence (oh yes) – right in the middle of some unendurable family screaming match, for example – the chance intrusion of a jolly tune on the radio would allow me, on some scarcely conscious level, to detach from my immediate reality, granting me some small but vital measure of sanctuary. Even in the eye of the storm, I could tune out the blind rage and tune into the good cheer, tapping my toes even as the tears rolled down my face.

– Why not go and give the little pansy a touch-up?

– F***ing p***ing s***ing BITCH. I want a DIVORCE.

– Oo-wah oo-wah, cool cool Kitty, tell us ’bout the boy from New York City…

With that characteristic contrariness which I hold so dear, K often asserts that while happy music makes him miserable, miserable music makes him happy. Consequently, I try to keep him shielded from tunes such as Dragostea Din Tei as much as possible. (When Eurovision is on, I have even been known to flee the country.) However, for me the equation is much simpler: happy music – even the dumb stuff, and sometimes especially the dumb stuff – makes me happy. Generally speaking, I like to think that this is evidence of a healthy, straightforward attitude to life’s pleasures.

Neverthless, I have my doubts. What if all this stuff is merely acting as an SSRI, crudely boosting my diminished stock of happy-juice? Is it dysfunctional to rely so heavily on so much transient froth and nonsense?

Well, f*** it. There are many worse ways to self-medicate. So come on everybody: on the count of three, and let’s see those hands in the air!

Ma-i-a hi, Ma-i-a hu, Ma-i-a ho, Ma-i-a ha-ha…

See also: various weird unofficial videos. (via Adrian Mc)

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