Wednesday, November 9, 2016

"Breakdance" by Irene Cara

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  1844
Date:  03/24/1984
Debut:  71
Peak:  8
Weeks:  19
Genre:  R&B, Dance, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  Cara's album What a Feelin' contained her #1 movie hit "Flashdance...What a Feeling" along with two other Top 40 entries, "Why Me?" (#13) and "The Dream" (#37). By this time, most albums have run their course and are headed off the chart, but Cara's label decided to push out this next single. It ended up being a good move. Although the tune took a bit to catch on, it finally found its way to #8 becoming Cara's third and final Pop Top 10 hit. It also got to #13 on the Dance chart and #23 R&B.

ReduxReview:  Although this song wasn't necessarily controversial, I remember there being some hub-bub about it in the dance community (for reasons outlined below). Not only was the terminology wrong, but I recall folks saying that the entire style of the song was wrong in regards to its subject matter and even if they wanted to dance to it, they couldn't. Setting aside terms and tempo, this is just a fun tune. Producer Giorgio Moroder pulled out all the stops and created layers of beeps and bops and synth sounds that made the song stand out on the radio. Despite being very 80s, I actually think the production of the tune still holds up quite well. If you crank it, the thing sounds pretty damn good. A few current artists who probably weren't even alive when this song came out are now utilizing some of the sounds heard on this tune. The song itself is not that great. Let's face it - no one wants to hear an acoustic version of it. But Morodor's production is what made it a hit and it remains a truly fun relic of the time.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Around the time this song was recorded, a style of streetdance called b-boying, or breaking, was making its way into the mainstream. In addition to breaking, there were other styles such as popping, locking, electric boogaloo, etc., that were on display and instead of calling out each style on their own, somewhere in the mainstream media the term breakdancing was born to cover all the styles. B-boys and others who danced in these styles didn't like the blanket term and considered it derogatory and some kind of homogeneous term coined by those who had no understanding of the art form. Regardless, it stuck and for many years those who worked as dancers struggled to correct the misnomer. While the term still exists, luckily TV shows like So You Think You Can Dance have done well in educating the public on the proper terminology regarding the different styles of dance. As for this song, it seemed to be a prime example of the mainstream getting it wrong. However, it didn't seem to matter to record buyers who pushed the into the Top 10.


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