Much to the chagrin of "proper" music artists the universe over, the vast majority of the album purchases public prefer their tunes to be catchy to the point of inanity; 3 minute blasts of stoopid fun to dance to, grin to, and forget about banking crises, evil ex- partners and losing the battle to keep a trim waistline.
Songs like the Macarena, Mambo #5 and The Ketchup Song bring to mind sun-drenched beaches and fun with sultry latin lovers. Novelty acts like the Black Eyed Peas (self-styled "biggest band in the world"!) try to make you want to do things to Fergie's humps, and Aqua sexualised Barbie almost as much as my sister did when she made Action Man spend the night in the Barbie Mansion.
None of these acts expect to be taken seriously (do they?!?!), but there are also plenty of gimmick laden tracks made by artists that usually command more respect. Maybe they get inspired by an old song, a great holiday, or sometimes just the need to make some cash...
As usual, success brings initation, and so we often find ourselves inundated with near clones of the latest hit style. A few years ago, Bob Sinclar hit big with his whistling sound:
He then went on to parody himself repeatedly, but helped kick off a wave of happy-vibed house tunes in a similar style.
Next came the trend of suddenly dropping down from a banging electro house track into a big chunk of a famous hip hop song..
Once that took off, it seemed that every old hip hop song, no matter how dubious the quality, would come crashing down into the middle of a formulaic electro beat.
So far, it seems like this year's novelty sound is a bit closer to the usual summer holiday vibe, with either strong latin or swing elements. It all started off when this long-term bubbler from Serbian act Gramophonedzie took off.
I thought it sounded familiar when I first heard it...
Then we were hit (repeatedly) by this summer's inescapable feel-good song
That last one's so popular that good old Pitbull had to steal it to shout over. Hasn't he got enough money to retire yet? If not, I'll start up a collection.
Bringing more production class to the table, whilst not skimping on the fun, is prolific remixer Riva Starr (not sure if that's his real name), with his tale of a night out that many of us can relate to.
Love the video, but the baby looks scarily like my dad.
Of course, these tracks are mocked and reviled by many dance music purists, but they should try to lighten up and smile more (note to self: follow own advice). The following 2, however, show what can go horribly wrong when the novelty wears off!
So, where do you stand on this? Harmless fun or the death of dance music?
I'll leave you with the house music pioneer and all-round singing/DJing/producing legend that is Ron Carroll, showing his lighter side.