I DJed at the Plough in Bristol last week and the last record of my set was the one new-ish single that I had bought especially for the occasion – Daft Punk’s recent Number One. Cue pandaemonium – people dancing on stage, mouthing the lyrics and playing air guitar. I kind of half expected that reaction, but it was still pleasant all the same. In my experience it’s very very very very rare to find a ‘new’ record that causes those kind of scenes, but as DJs all over the world have found out in the last couple of months Get Lucky is something close to a universal panacea. It’s on course to become the biggest selling single of the year, quite probably this decade. And it deserves every accolade that comes its way. It’s my favourite single of the last 5 years.
How exceptional? Well, I think the last time a new record was in the terminology that I use, a ‘banker’ (ie the sort of record you know will fill the dancefloor not matter the occasion, whatever the crowd) was Madonna’s Hung Up. And that was, what…2005? Before that? Probably Crazy In Love and Hey Ya! And they were both released in 2003.
Nothing much released in the last ten years has had anything like that kind of power. Lady Gaga? Don’t make me laugh. The only halfway useable track of hers is Born This Way and even that is tainted by the fact it aches to be a gay lib anthem so much that you just can’t love it. No funk, no groove, and it (and she generally) just tries way too hard.
Get Lucky though, like all truly great singles, sounds effortless, even though you just know that it was the product of a huge buckets of sweat by all concerned. It’s one of those rare examples of a collaboration between top line artists that truly is greater than the sum of its constituent parts. Pharrell supplies a typically cool feline vocal, Mssrs Bangalter and Homen-Christo add their trademark touches and then there is the sweet joy of hearing Nile Rodgers play guitar like that for the first time in years.
But all four know that they are there to service a great song, full of hope and self belief. “We’ve come too far to give up who we are.” Who can’t apply those words to their lives? I know I have. Released in late April (the most hopeful time of the year in the northern hemisphere) it’s obviously stirred millions of hearts. When we listen it’s impossible not to feel that whatever your situation has been over the last few years, even in a world where we’re now five years into an economic downturn, a world where (for a while at least) pop was taken over by Auto Tuned-dullards, where we all stand on the brink of ecological catastrophe, there is still time left for all of us – personally and collectively – to seize triumph from the jaws of disaster if only we can hang in there long enough and somehow, somehow get lucky.
I think it will be a long time before I get bored of it.