In Defense of Disco

In Defense of Disco

Richard Dyer, in his article “In Defense of Disco,” seeks to silence all of the critics of Disco music. He addresses all of the popular criticisms of Disco, and point-by-point explains how they are invalid. But while he successfully debunks certain myths about disco, I believe he is missing the point as to why this particular style of music culminated in ridicule. He first addresses the critique of Disco being too capitalistic. Dyers’ counterpoint can be diluted into the simple retort that all music is inherently capitalistic; any popular music is popular because there is value in the product that has been exploited. While Dyer addresses that Disco is more of a finely produced product, he fails to understand exactly why that matters. Music means many different things to many different people, but Dyer fails to acknowledge that there is an ideal at the heart of music for many. This ideal consists of the sheer artistic beauty of real people producing mellifluous sounds with actual instruments. This is conceived, as music in is purist form. I do not say this as an objective fact, but a subjective ideal held in the public conscience of generations. Music can be enhanced by technology, but the more technology is infused, the further away the music tends to be perceived as pure. The underlying theme of the article is that Disco died because it was viewed as an inauthentic capitalist product. Dyer directs his counterpoints to this assumption. He goes into great detail as to why Capitalism is no more a virus to Disco than any other form of popular music, such as rock and roll. Dyer even argues that the main tenants of Disco are inherently antithetical to socialist ideology. He explains that Disco has three main characteristics; eroticism, romanticism and materialism. These three intertwine well with gay culture, and “prove stumbling In Dyer’s defense of Disco however, I believe he misses the point as to why it died. He addresses Disco’s relation to Capitalism as though society made a collective intellectual decision that a specific form of music was inauthentic, and thus must be discarded. The reality as to why Disco died I believe is far more simplistic. Disco was a fad, and like all fads in pop culture, there is a backlash and an eventual dilution. Disco didn’t die per se; its musical influence can be heard in many popular songs being produced today. It was the culture that died off. Disco’s close ties to capitalism only served as an excuse for the publics’ insatiable desire for something new. Did grunge music die off because of any particular reason, or how about glam rock? While Dyer eruditely dispels the publics’ criticism of Disco, It seems to me an exercise is futility, because academia essentially has no place in the comings and goings of popular fads.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email