1977, Music

Saturday Night Fever Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1977)

I don’t like disco so you can imagine that when I found out this was a double album I was… unhappy.

Regardless of what I might think about disco, or the songs themselves, the Bee Gees songs here are certainly iconic. They are so much a part of our popular culture now it’s hard to imagine a world without those songs. Or the image of John Travolta dancing to those songs, even if he wasn’t actually dancing to them on set. (I still haven’t seen the movie!) I don’t like the Bee Gees and I find their disco trend-hopping to be opportunistic rather than anything to be appreciated, but they certainly knew who to write a hook and they knew how to incorporate dance music into their sound (or their sound into dance music). So, whatever I might think of them, they’re good at what they do.

But the rest of the album…jesus christ.

First of all, do we really need two different versions of “More Than a Woman”?!?!? Why?!?!

Disco is not a genre I like – I do not like dance music in general and do not like genres of music that exist solely for dancing – and Romantic music is a genre I really like, so the two discofied abortions of Romantic music (by Beethoven and Mussorgsky respectively) are so brainless. (Yes, I do understand that the creators of this would enjoy my reaction – I get that camp is supposed to lightly offend the staid. That doesn’t make me like it any more.)

Some of the other music on the record isn’t terrible and is almost up to the standard of the Bee Gees (or, occasionally, better) but the whole thing is exhausting and inconsistent. If you don’t want to dance to a disco beat, there is literally no need for this. Who needs all ten minutes of”Disco Inferno,” really? (Not me.)

It’s illustrative listening to so much funk around the time I listened to this. George Clinton was particularly opposed to disco, as he saw it as a dumbing down of funk. (I don’t know if he pointed out the whitewashing part, but he’d be right about that too.) I was always on the funk side of the fence but actually sitting down and listening to a disco record just reinforces that feeling: funk is a vital, weird beautiful thing, disco (at least the disco here) is a sterile, repetitive, campy facsimile.

4/10 in my rage at listening to this three times. Probably should really be 5/10

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