An ode to Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' - Comment - Mixmag

An ode to Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love'

File under timeless

  • Louis Anderson-Rich
  • 28 April 2017

Where do you start to give the most important song in dance music history its due respect? Do I start with Donna Summer’s effortlessly beautiful vocals? Do I wax lyrical about Giorgio Moroder’s unique vision? Should it be that it sounded like the future in 1977 and is still timeless in 2017?

From your conservative aunt’s wedding to a Dalston basement at 4am, ‘I Feel Love’ has never gone out of fashion. It breathes rarefied air atop the electronic dance music mountain of classic tracks, paving the way for everything from ‘Blue Monday’ to ‘Your Love’. It might not be the best-ever disco track and it probably isn’t the best track to be made up of predominantly electronic elements, but it brought the idea of music with a mechanic heart to the world’s attention. By swapping sumptuous orchestral arrangements for hard-edged, computer-programmed efficiency, Moroder and fellow producer Pete Bellotte took the futurism of Kraftwerk and made it danceable. The 4/4 thud, the repetitive building of tension to ecstatic release, the tightly sequenced bassline, the layered arrangement and multiple mixes gave dance music a new blueprint.

In 1977, disco was ramping up to its nadir of glitz, glam, cocaine and indulgence with the genre almost been fully yanked from the gay underground into the international domain. One of Moroder and Summer’s earlier collaborations ‘Love To Love You Baby’ was partly to blame/thank for this. Not to say that the track was the kind of commercially targeted drivel getting churned out post-Saturday Night Fever. The original is 17-minutes long and has 23 fake orgasms (according to Time magazine) in it after all. But, if Moroder had already proven himself a hit-maker with that song, what he did with ‘I Feel Love’ may as well have made him an alien from outer space.

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