We’ve seen so many hip-hop trends walk the first three quarters of 2022 but one trend that doesn’t go unnoticed is the comeback of House Music. Although house music has never been the type to completely go out of fashion with the likes of David Guetta, Daft Punk, Bob Sinclair, Swedish House Mafia taking the front row, and various emerging electronic artists, it was relatively losing its steam.
The first half of this year has however seen some of the most popular artists bring the Chicago-originated sound back to the limelight. The Weeknd released his Dawn FM album at the beginning of the year featuring some French house experimental sounds. Beyonce’s hit single Break My Soul and Drake’s Baltimore club-obsessed Honestly, Nevermind are part of a whole that is making house music rise back to popularity.
A look back at the inception of House Music.
House music is a musical child of disco. At a time, disco went from being mainstream to being hated and banned in many places. When disco started to fade, a new reinvention which would later be known as house music began to rise to the limelight.
DJs abandoned their spinning wheels for synthesizers and drum kicks that were played in basements and clubhouses. The story of house music that a lot of people resonate with is flashlights flooding studio 54 as New York City police stormed the club in December 1978.
In reality, it started far back at the continental baths, a gay-friendly basement space on Manhattan’s upper west side, and began to spread in Chicago from DJs and music producers like Frankie Knuckles, Ron Hardy, and Jesse Saunders who began altering disco sounds to give them a more mechanical beat using four-to-the-floor drum programs, wide-panning synthesizers, and footwork-friendly BPMs with a typical tempo of 120 beats per minute.
Another genre began to evolve in Detroit to feature a minimalistic and euro-pop infusion pioneered by the Belleville Three. a group of childhood friends comprising Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson.
Techno was a sinister sister sound to Chicago’s house movement, ramping up the pace and width of compositions with increasingly sophisticated consumer hardware like the DR-55 drum machine, Korg’s MS-10 monophonic synthesizer, and Roland’s legendary, and now ubiquitous, TR-808. Since then, different segments of house music have been created globally over the last 50 years making it one of the most widely influential and celebrated types of music, inspiring some of the best musical talents we have today.
The rising popularity of house music in the present day.
Drake surprisingly released Honestly, Nevermind on June 17th. Even though it got criticisms from fans who expected a hip-hop-rooted album it was true to the dancefloor mood of house music. Track after track, different house beats were put on display with the pulsating effect of clubhouses.
— OVO Sound (@OVOSound) June 17, 2022
When Beyonce released the lead single off her Renaissance album, Break My Soul featuring the distinctive bassline of the house classic Show Me Love by Robin S, fans went euphoric. Although Beyonce’s sound has been unpredictable in recent years following her 2016 critically acclaimed Lemonade LP which featured some songs that were distinct like the country-infused Daddy Lessons it was mostly populated by the R&B and hip-hop sounds that have crowded us in past decades. However, this new single, Break My Soul brought something new and refreshing that could unmistakably be traced to ’90s house music.
Later in July, Beyonce went on to show that the jump on house music was highly intentional by releasing Break My Soul Remixes EP containing four different remakes of the hit track with Will.i.am, Honey Dijon, Terry Hunter, and Nita Avience. The EP featured different house-influenced remakes of the song showing the beauty in the synthesized sounds of house music.
— BEYONCÉ (@Beyonce) July 29, 2022
The Weeknd’s Dawn FM is one that also pays homage to house music. Known for championing electronic music and collaborating with the likes of Daft Punk, Disclosure, and others, the Canadian singer presented the most dance-forward album of his career. The album housed songs produced by some of house music bests like the Swedish House Mafia-produced cut, How Do I Make You Love Me and I heard You’re Married, produced by disco-pop extraordinaire Calvin Harris.
Although it’s still quite early to say if house music has made a full comeback, the resurgence from some of the industry game changers is giving the disco-generated tune and its founding fathers the flowers it deserves, and it’s long overdue.