What is it called, this new music? The sound that’s taken over, the transatlantic collision between European dance and American hip hop and R&B that’s ruled the radio for the last what, three years at least. The David Guetta sound, the Calvin Harris sound, the Torqux sound. Does it have a name? Or are names a thing of smaller musical movements, the witch houses and dream pops of the contemporary landscape? Is this thing just too big to name?
It’s not EDM, the unlovely American name for everything that we’ve been listening over here for a quarter of a century. The tendency of the US toward Puritanism abandons the Balearic roots of what we called dance music, in all its myriad genres, for a focus on the straight-up banging shit. Nor is it just pop. It first flowered – meaning scored a big hit, because this is a commercial genre that has followed the money – with the Guetta/Kelly Rowland hit When Love Takes Over. It became apparent that this was a form of pop which worked on both sides of the Atlantic, a pan-Western genre. That rap breaks and R&B vocals fit into this anthemic, cheesy nightclub sound, and that it was catching a wave. It is, so far, the sound of this decade. But it doesn’t have a name, just like the crashing breaker of synthesisers and cocaine-brittle production values which dominated a decade was only retrospectively identified as “Eighties”.
What of Torqux? I know nothing about them, or him, or about Lady Leshurr. I saw the video and within minutes owned the song, digital distribution having returned the immediacy to pop music that it thrives on. It’s appeal, the combination of airhorn get-the-fuck-down riff and words spit rapid and measured, is a one-shot thing; if you don’t like it straight away, you don’t like it. It’s percussive from its first pulse of sound to its final exclamation just over three minutes later. Perfect pop song length. It blows in and out like someone leaning on the mixing desk, making a joke version with everything turned up to 11 and then deciding fuck it, that’s the one, let’s keep it.
The easy way, the lazy way, to sequence a compilation is to start quiet and build and build. You can do that in three songs or in five songs or, in this case because they’re all short, with six songs. From the gentle hatching of harp that we started with, through pop and rap and shouts to here, to full-on air-punching that boy racers could blast from behind their tinted windows. There’s a place for that still, surely, in all our lives. To travel to the far edge, the clubby end, of this new nameless genre which the cognoscenti will only be able to admit was a golden age once it’s gone.
Artist: Torqux feat. Lady Leshurr
Compilation: Coyote Summer