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Disco music is quarantine comfort

| Monday, April 27, 2020

Lina Domenella | The Observer

In what would have been the sequel of “hot girl summer” if not for a global pandemic, Doja Cat’s “Say So” would have definitely reigned supreme.

The music video for “Say So” is a hyper stylized ’70s wonderland of glitter, nostalgia and disco — cue the iconic jumpsuits and dancing. Amidst the ’70s grooving, Doja Cat also performs a famous TikTok dance from Haley Sharpe, who makes a cameo in the video. 

She isn’t the only one trying to make disco sexy and cool again. Harry Styles is sporting major Mick Jagger and David Bowie vibes nowadays and HBO’s “Euphoria” had everyone lining up outside Sephora (before the pandemic, of course) to buy up all the glittery eye shadow they could get their hands on, as the teens in the show revitalized the oversaturated Studio54 glam made popular in New York City’s 1970s nightclub scene. 

But why would anyone want to bring back something that was cool when our parents, and even grandparents, were young? Disco in the ’70s was a playground for freedom and expression, and during a time where we all feel so lost and confined, it makes sense to open grandma’s trunk and pull out something vibrant and, dare I say, hopeful. 

Disco was at its peak in 1979. ‘Disco’ is the shortened form of discotheque, which are the types of clubs where disco got its start. Dancing and sexuality were the crux of disco at a time when things in America were a little more than tumultuous. In infamous clubs like Studio54, all kinds of people — of any race, sexual orientation, gender or celebrity — felt safe and free enough to be themselves through the upbeat and hypnotic music being produced by musicians who seemed to find a way to marry the strife felt by so many at the time with hope. 

Musicians pushed boundaries with their lyrics, like Patti Labelle with her bilingual hit “Lady Marmalade,” and found a way to finally have a way to be heard, like openly gay singer Sylvester who bent gender expectations with fashion. Music allowed people to find hope at a particularly dark time during the AIDs epidemic — Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” would become an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community during this time. 

Right now, things look bleak, but disco has some great advice to offer in order to get us through this pandemic. 

Disco encourages us to “Turn the Beat Around” and “Take Your Time” — safety is more important than convenience. You may think your “Heart of Glass” can’t handle another couple of months inside, but just remember: “I Will Survive.” 

Just because many states are shut down until May doesn’t mean you can’t “Get Down Tonight” and “Boogie Oogie Oogie.” 

Even though you can’t go to the “Y.M.C.A” anymore doesn’t mean you can’t have “Good Times” while working out at home.

Maybe you’re tired of thinking “We Are Family,” (especially when your family starts to nag you), but don’t “Rock the Boat”! There “Ain’t Nobody” like them, and just “Move On Up” and be the bigger person. 

Feeling down? Don’t be afraid to send out an “S.O.S” to your friends.

Didn’t get to ask your crush out before the shutdown and now you have a “Love Hangover”? If they’ve turned your life “Upside Down,” and you find yourself thinking “I Want Your Love,” then message them: “Take A Chance On Me”! 

Or maybe you’re missing your significant other — remind them that you “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe.”

The country may not fully reopen until “September,” but then we’ll have a “Celebration.” 

Okay, that’s enough puns, I promise. If you need an instant mood booster, just turn on some ABBA and dance around your house, having your own silent disco. “Bad Girls” by Donna Summer is a complete and total vibe, and a great song to play at your next Zoom party with your girls.  

Disco has a bad reputation for being cheesy and artificial, but it allowed a whole new generation to find a voice and face adversity with music. Thrust into the throes of a new normal, disco can be a great comfort in reminding us that when we all come together, or, in this case, stay apart, we can come out of all this better and stronger. 

While you’re out here “Stayin’ Alive,” put on a disco playlist and party like it’s 1979 — because, you’re “Born to Be Alive.” (Okay, so I lied about the puns).

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About Gina Twardosz

Gina Twardosz is a senior English Writing and Communication Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. She's the co-editor of the Investigative Unit, a Saint Mary's social media liaison, and she occasionally writes for SMC News and Scene. Gina is a tried and true Midwesterner and yes, she does say "ope" often.

Contact Gina