In Defense of Disco by Richard Dyer

Richard Dyer speaks about gay culture and the disco community.  He explains that there are three important characteristics of disco.  The three important characteristics of disco are eroticism, romanticism and materialism.

He makes an argument that all types of music has some form of eroticism in it.  The “whole body” eroticism is a combination of popular song and rock.  Disco songs are extremely rhythmic in ways that popular songs are not.  Disco songs tend to be more physical and raunchy than popular songs.  Like most genres of music disco was greatly influenced by black music.  Black music was known for being erotic and physical than white music.  Just like rock and roll, disco music was greatly influenced by black music.

Richard makes it clear that not all disco music is romantic.  Many disco hits are very straightforwardly sexual or broadly social.  The instrumentation and arrangements of disco music is considered romantic.  He uses the melodic violins in Gloria Gaynor’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” as an example.

Disco is considered a capitalist society.  It is a very flamboyant genre of music and the attraction of everything affiliated with it draws in many consumers and capitalism.  It is a very dazzling lifestyle and the sounds that are contributed in making up the songs are also very influential.  This lavish lifestyle of glider, gaudy clothing and discotheque fever was controversial to previous genres of music that were less materialistic.  Disco which was considered a materialistic world focused on material possessions and psychical comfort as more important than actual spiritual values.

Disco shows us that the combination of romanticism and materialism can be experienced in a different way than the everyday world assures us it is.

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One Response to In Defense of Disco by Richard Dyer

  1. Sade Smith says:

    This was a rather interesting reading and I felt that it covered a lot in terms of the components of disco as well as its stance in society. Eroticism, romanticism and materialism are three things that I thought could be found in other subcultures too but many not as ‘in-your-face’ as it is in disco. I also thought that the discussion of disco being a capitalist society meant to draw in consumers interesting as well. It made me realize that even the things that you think aren’t marketable, in fact are; you can sell anything really.

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