First Listen Look-Back: Dance Yrself Clean


James Murphy is a king in a musical candy store. Notes and forte pianos are for his taking. A rhythm here, a chord there, what seems to be random picks are calculated equations. He is shaping the modern notion of electronica, rock and lyricism into a tasty musical blend.
Of course, you don’t know all of this at the beginning. In the beginning, there’s just the song and how it makes you feel. And for me, what other song could it be?
When I first listened to Dance Yrself Clean, I didn’t know about the length. I didn’t know that I had 9 minutes in store for me. All I knew was that my cousin sent me a link simply saying: “Listen to this with good headphones on and at full blast.”
Woah. That sort of simplicity is daunting. Not even a “love the part when the keyboard comes in” or “the guitar solo rocks.” The song itself speaks for itself.
So I put on the headphones and began.
The song starts.
Okay. And it’s… Still starting.
More starting.
Is this it? Is this the song? I thought. I mean, it’s good but I don’t feel like it’s going anywhere. The layered vocals are nice and the minimalist percussion is cool but it’s not really much…
And then the 3:06 mark hits.
My brain and life exploded and everything in existence became that song. NOTHING else mattered.
The drop was killer and ballsy and funky and just plain cool. Murphy came back in with echoey force that never overstretched his shouting vocals.
“Don’t you want me to wake up? Then give me just a bit of your time.”
The percussion was just perfect for the keyboard bursts and melodies. His falsetto weaved through the music and the song just became this vehicle for dancing. Try not dancing to this song. I dare you.
Both the Murphy and I gained a break after his amazingly long note hold. The song winded down to the way it was for the intro, but not for long. Back in dance mode with some scat.
The song closed out in its fancy dance-y fashion and then slowed down for the last few lyrics.
“Every day’s a different warning – there’s a part of me hoping it’s true.”
By the end of the stream, I was standing, panting, mind blown. I listened to it ten more times after that.
So if you haven’t listened to this song by now, I suggest you go… dance yourself clean.


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