10 Literally Perfect Dance Records
Simply the best of the best. But not "Simply the Best."
Most music's alright. Just alright. Some of it is bad. Some of it is quite good. Some of it is pretty good. Some of it is just good. Then there's music that's really good, then the stuff that's great, then you get to the brilliant music, the amazing music, the literally perfect music.
The following records are literally perfect. Obviously taste is subjective, but this goes beyond that. These are perfect records.
The Juan Maclean - Happy House
I heard you'd heard a better piano house record than this, once. I also heard you're a complete fucking liar because there isn't a more perfect piano house record than "Happy House" and piano house is pretty much the most perfect genre of music that's ever existed. I also heard that you regularly try and imitate the "LAUNCH ME INTO SPAAAAAAAAAACE" bit in the shower, and to be honest, I can only commend you on that.
Jurgen Paape - So Wiet Wie Noch Nie
I once listened to this track approximately 112 times in a day and it didn't get boring once.Machine - There But For the Grace of God Go I
Dropped at the right time, this is a righteous tear jerker and hip shaker. Easily the best disco record ever about the parental pressure, familial relocation and identity politics. Machine's vocalist August Darnell went onto become Kid Creole and while that stuff was fun and everything, nothing he ever did touched the indignantly funky fury of the masterfully titled "There But For the Grace of God Go I". Try requesting that after six double vodka and lemonades down your local disco.
Aeroplane ft Kathy Diamond - Whispers
There's this bit in this 8 minute nu-disco epic that floors me every single time I hear it. The track's built around the positively-pregnant sounding bassline and those gorgeous, chewy, thick, gloopy synth chords that sparkle away, hovering into view 2.20 in, smothering Kathy Diamond's charmingly naff vocal like an exquisitely silky pillow. The same stab drops over and over before, at 2.30, slipping seamlessly into the most pleasureable chord sequence ever. The only possible contender for that crown is the one that runs through John Talabot's seminal rework of "Cheaters" by Teengirl Fantasy and that one basically sounds like a "Whispers" rip off. After some incredible early promise Aeroplane went on to record pretty much the worst record ever and Kathy Diamond slunk back into obscurity when everyone got bored of their Tiger & Woods 12"s and stopped caring about spangly disco records made by people called Kathy. Still, we'll always have this aching, yearning, unbelievably gorgeous slab of pure perfection.
Milky - Just the Way You Are
I will literally fight anyone who disagrees with this choice. I will come to your house or your place of work or the pub you sit in night after night nursing pints while thinking about your sad little life and I will literally batter you. This is as good as pop music has ever been. Seriously. It is genuinely perfect in every single way and if you can't grasp that then consider doing a double Van Gogh immediately.
Dinosaur - Kiss Me Again
There was a relatively dark period in my life where I would smoke single skin after single skin with this blasting out of my Argos bought speaker set, doing nothing more than listening on repeat and listlessly scrolling through Twitter. This was back before they removed the activity tab, so it wasn't as bleak as that all sounds. Dinosaur, for the uninitiated, was an Arthur Russell project, and this song is the best thing that Arthur Russell ever did. When you consider that Arthur Russell also wrote "Arm Around You", "A Little Lost", "Go Bang", "Tell You (Today)", "Is It All Over My Face" and "That's Us/Wild Combination" then that's some accolade. "Kiss Me Again" is a fucking monster, an absolutely imperious, imperial monument of a record. It goes on and on, surging towards climax after climax, and frankly, the only way it could be more perfect would be if it went on for a whole hour.
Ada - Each and Everyone (Blindhouse)
Perfection isn't always cause for celebration. You don't always lay on a spread of ham sandwiches, prawn cocktail crisps and jam tarts when you're in its presence. I don't wander into the National Gallery and whip out a party popper when I finally plonk myself in front of Saint Francis in Meditation, and in much the same way, Ada's crowing glory makes me want to weep rather than burst into song.
David Morales - Needin' U II
The original is obviously a stone cold classic, but David was wise enough to realise that the only thing that makes hands-in-the-air piano house better is the inclusion of some wailing diva vocals. Honestly, has there ever been a better vocal house record than this? I am being deadly serious when I ask that, by the way. This is the kind of record that I imagine both Scott Mills and Kerri Chandler love and that's worth celebrating in itself. Also it — and the original — is responsible for the only bit of genuinely entertaining viral content that's ever crawled onto the internet. WAIT FOR THE DROP!
Jeff Mills - The Bells
So what if this is the most obvious techno record over? Fish and chips are obvious. Coca Cola is obvious. Vans Authentics are obvious. This is techno at it's absolute finest. It's inhuman, hulking, mechanistic, a distillation of everything anyone's ever liked about techno. Play this as they lower my coffin into the ground, please.
Peter Gordon & Love of Life Orchestra - Beginning Of The Heartbreak / Don't Don't
Two for the price of one here from the best named group of all time. "Beginning of the Heartbreak" is primetime chickenscratch guitar'n'lugubrious sax disco that sounds like it's been beamed in from another, slinkier, sulturier, sexier, better world. It's the sound of two very good looking people in a very loving relationship having completely pornographic sex on a very expensive bed. "Don't Don't", which arrives very abruptly halfway through, with piston-like precision, and after jaunty "Silly Love Songs" style dip into knowingly cheesy arch-capital-D-Disco territory, unfurls into an a cappella of gregorian chant quality. This is as perfect as music gets and it's so good that the memory of seeing Tim Burgess play it during a DJ set once can't ruin it for me. There is no higher praise that I know of than that.
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