It’s like the chintzy dish in the kitchen that you can’t resist using every December.
I found Christmas Disco from The Mistletoe Disco Band at Goodwill, nestled between other Christmas albums (Please note: there is always a huge selection of Christmas music at Goodwill on vinyl – year round). The album had many elements which made it perfect for Wall Of Retro; the record was 25 years or older, had cheesy graphics, and tapped into a trend that divided a nation.
Back in the day we did a lot of moaning and groaning about Disco, and how it seemed to be taking over every segment of society. I even had a t-shirt made with iron-on letters to say, “Disco: ignore it and maybe it will go away.” But as time went on Disco self-imploded, becoming engorged on its own contribution to society while pumping out gems of non-necessity – like Christmas Disco. Now, thirty three years later, it’s a retro diversion from the other seasonal music – one that was probably recorded in all seriousness but comes off as a goofy alternative to Andy Williams or Burl Ives.
The tracks are upbeat and – according to my wife – the perfect tempo for walking.
Yes, there’s lots of cymbal, walking bass, and wah wah pedal. Yes, there are some weird 70s synthesizer sounds mixed in with the backing harmonies, horns, and strings. But while I would not sit down and listen to this album note for note, it is a work that could be on while I do other stuff. Perfectly suited as background music, with the occasional toe-tapping that comes automatically with almost every track.
As I get older, I still think that Disco sucked back then; but now I realize that is wasn’t necessarily because of the music. Rather, it was the lifestyle and the elitism (around these parts anyway) surrounding Disco that ruined the genre for those of us who couldn’t dance – or afford the wardrobe and the cover charge at the club. Many Disco tracks have actually weathered the decades, and have become – dare I say “timeless?” – icons of a bygone era; I admit to enjoying songs from the Bee Gees, ABBA, Gloria Gaynor, and Donna Summer from time to time. Their work was well crafted, deftly written, and still hold the listener’s attention. Other songs from the 70s – like those from Christmas Disco – didn’t weather the years all that well; many sound like little more than excuses to get something Disco-ey in the rack at the record store, like adding fur seat covers to an AMC Gremlin. But despite their dubious place in history, these Disco remakes are still fun to pull out as a way to reminisce about how some things are better now. The chintzy dish once again graces our season with cheesiness.
Best 49 cents I spent this week…
Check out Joy To The World on MP3.