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2016: The top 40 was where house music went to die

Dance music's creativity isn't being reflected in the charts – and that's really sad

  • Words: Patrick Hinton | Illustration: Alex Jenkins
  • 6 December 2016

We're looking back at the trends that defined dance music in 2016. Next up, the sorry state of commercial house

A disturbing trend has reared its ugly head throughout 2016. It’s one that has struck fear into good-hearted people, who have looked on in dismay as an increasing number of the population has been seduced by falsehoods. No, we don’t mean post-truth politics and the normalisation of fascism, but the rise of terrible sounds masquerading as house music infiltrating the charts.

You now can’t sit in any barbers or walk through any shopping centre without having your ears assaulted by flimsy productions that evoke about as much excitement as a Christmas table lecture on the ins and outs of an elderly relative’s golf swing. While the OG Chicago mould of the genre is packed with enough soul, feeling and fiery passion to shake the foundations of any club and burn down social boundaries, this new crop of tracks sound like they’ve been made on the instruction to stick it in the oven for 15 minutes at 100°.

In years previous the poppier side of house has been in fine health. The likes of Duke Dumont and MK have hit the top spot with anthemic dancefloor fillers that are undeniably infectious, the latter’s effort coming in the form of a remix of Storm Queen, one half of distinguished New York disco outfit Metro Area. Disclosure also scored a number two with ‘White Noise’, a funky pop-house fusion in the mould of beloved Toronto group Azari & III containing a skippy, metallic synth line that, if slowed down and stretched out, wouldn’t sound too dissimilar to those Romanian minimal noises that changed your life at Sunwaves last summer.

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