Now, I’ll start by saying that the word “dance” in this context means something to which you can shake your booty, and may not be actual dance albums, as categorized by whatever entity categorizes albums. That being said, get ready to shake said booty, because these 7 albums are out of this world. So here they are, and in no particular order, of course.
1. Robyn – Body Talk, Pt. 2
This is electronica at its best, but Robyn isn’t just a beat. Her lyrics are catchy, her vibe is genuine, and her subject matter is so diverse you never know what to expect. Following the success of Body Talk, Pt. 1, she went even more upbeat. Any one of the songs in this set could be blasted in a club at any moment. I’m just really surprised she hasn’t caught on more in the US than she has. It is time for a body talk revolution. Standout song: Include Me Out.
2. Kylie Minogue – Body Language
Two similarities with Miss Minogue and the aforementioned Robyn: They are both international stars, and they both like to use the term “body” quite liberally. Kylie has been around a long time, but she hasn’t slacked off in the beats department. Body Language finds her embracing her dance roots, and sounding a lot more like herself and a lot less like Madonna (as she did on her previous record, Fever. She does a lot more with sound and layering than most artists even have in their remixes. If you want the ultimate rump shaker, this album is for you. Standout song: Secret (Take You Home).
3. David Guetta – Nothing But the Beat 2.0
Normally, I wouldn’t pay too much attention to a DJ who likes to have guest vocalists because he doesn’t sing (see: Moby prior to 2005). And generally I wouldn’t give the time of day to a guy who samples as much music as this DJ does, but his samples are just so good, so well-placed, and so rocking. The same is true of his guest vocalists, who read like a who’s who in dance and/or pop music. With singers like Usher, Sia (next on my list), and Jessie J, and with music that accentuates their vocals while also understating them to keep true to the dance theme, this album is amazing. And unlike some others, it keeps you dancing from start to finish. Standout song: Repeat (feat. Jessie J).
4. Sia – We Are Born
I’ll admit it from the start. Sia is weird. But she’s no weirder than Robyn, and she carries a lot of punch into her third official studio album. Sia started off as typical singer-songwriter on her first record, but she quickly morphed into dance chanteuse, showing off her chops on her second album, Some People Have Real Problems, and this, her third. We Are Born takes everything you want from a dance album and gives it to you. Sia’s breathy voice works very well with her arrangements, and with the breathiness of the beats, accentuating her sonic landscape. She’s good. She’s really good. And when I want to dance, this is what I play. Standout song: You’ve Changed.
5. Moby – Last Night
Speaking of Moby, most people these days just pass him off as a one-album wonder, which isn’t true at all. In fact, that album, Play, while it was groundbreaking at the time, in the world of techno, it’s more like “what have you done to stay relevant”? The answer to that question lies in the vastly superior record, Last Night. In-between the two albums, Moby dipped into some ambient beats, and experimented with singing his own songs (somewhat disastrously at times), but he finds his niche right here in the dance clubs. Last Night was ready-made for those dance clubs, and should be played through headphones to truly hear the crazy layered beats he has going on. Standout song: Disco Lies.
6. Daft Punk – Discovery
Daft Punk is all about the music. Some of their songs don’t even have lyrics, but the ones that do have that repetitious feeling reminiscent of all good techno/dance albums. Famous for “One More Night,” this album is, however, not a one-trick pony. The group experiments with many different types of dance track, and they succeed at every single one. Plus, they play to their strengths, staying away from what David Guetta is strongest at, eliminating for the most part the guest artist. This album is an incredible tribute to techno at the height of its renaissance. Standout song: High Life.
7. C + C Music Factory – Gonna Make You Sweat
I don’t feel like I need to say anything except, “Remember the title track”? It began the single biggest dance revival in the 1990s. The song is eponymous with dance, in my opinion. Once in a while, an artist emerges with an album that is so perfect that it captures a generation. This is that album, and it has never been duplicated. So, I don’t mind going old school to include this one on my list. From start to finish, this is perfection, and it will keep you on your feet the entire time. It is truly gonna make you sweat. Listen to it again for the first time. Standout song: Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now).
A very special honorable mention goes to Britney Spears’ Circus. For someone who is commonly called a pop princess, Miss Spears has some pretty sick dance beats. If I had 8 slots, this one would come up a solid 8.
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