Get ready to groove!
A few years ago, I was sat in a field surrounded by amazing people, infamously drunk and having the greatest heart-to-heart of my life. It was the last night of the 110 Above festival and I had effectively paid 100 quid to be too drunk to walk to the stage and listen to the music. But I didn’t care because some band called Patawawa were playing, and I had no idea who Patawawa were.
What a fool I was.
Patawawa are a nu-disco trio, combining old school funk with new, pop-tinged vibes. They’ve been around for the greater part of this decade, and have an incredible back catalogue of music which wound up being the soundtrack of my youth. Seriously. They were there for me in my first year of uni, every flat party, every disappointment during a gym session, every failed attempt at a driving test, and any holiday ever. And now they’re back to help us say a very welcome goodbye to 2020 and a very excited hello to 2021. 'Disco Video' is the latest single from their upcoming album Power-Up, which will be released in March 2021. And it's exactly what I needed to console my heart at the end of this disastrous year.
For about ten seconds, we are teased with their funky rhythm guitar and that signature Patawawa percussion that promises nothing but the best grooves. Invested? Check. As with any Patawawa song, us listeners are eagerly invited to turn our bedrooms into a dancefloor, but this track makes a particularly good case for such a radical home renovation. The punchy, synthesized bassline that kicks in around the 0:17 minute mark will keep you dancing through the night. Further, this band deserves special recognition for their production style; it’s always seamless, every instrument and element in their songs perfectly mixed to create the funkiest disco jams you ever did hear.
But what is this track saying? Well, I have to be honest: I often listen to Patawawa for the music, not the lyrics. Don't get me wrong, they always have the catchiest hooks and their word-choice works brilliantly to accentuate them, but I never feel the desire to over-analyse their lyrics. This song, however, is different. While joyful, energetic and upbeat, we are still hit with lyrics such as:
Try as I might, I couldn't get it right
How can I make it right?
This unexpected sadness is quite jolting. A mix of desperation and determination comes through strongly in singer Beth Garrett's fierce and powerful vocals, and reminds me what it’s like to fail at something I so desperately want to get right.
Patawawa are definitely skilled in their craft; I don't know many other bands who are putting disco back on the scene quite so successfully. And while 'Video Disco' is not my favourite Patawawa song by a long shot, it's definitely my highlight of 2020. I can’t wait to see what other bangers they have in store for us come March of next year.
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Olive Annalise is a music production student from Bristol whose interests include poetry, sound design and film. In her spare time, she indulges in wine mom humor and enjoys telling people she can speak French, although her Duolingo owl would disagree.
This article was edited by Ainhoa Santos Goicoechea (pronounced "I-know-ah"), a culturally confused Creative Writing postgraduate student from the Basque Country, Spain. She is passionate about film, music and politics, and she should probably know more than she does about all three.
Thanks for reading! Slow Motion Panic Masters is a music, arts and culture blog created and edited by Ben Wheadon, a literature student and musician based at the University of Oxford. He is also a Fleet Foxes shill.
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