To paraphrase Harry Styles on the press tour for Don’t Worry Darling: this summer feels like a banger. A real, like, you know, go-to-the-club-and-shake-your-arse-until-4am banger. That’s to say, summer 2023 has ushered in a diversified offering of, well, fun music. And more than we’ve had in one go for ages.
From Kylie’s sexually-charged Padam Padam to Babymorocco’s Magaluf-ready Sun Sex Party – which is best listened to with a Blue Lagoon cocktail in hand, preferably at pre-drinks for the sweatiest, sluttiest night of your life – what makes these songs so good is that they’re permeated with a layer of unabashed trashiness.
In the realm of dance music, we’ve been graced with Never Let Me Go by Berlin duo DJ Heartstring, a super-speedy, instant trance classic whose slowly crescendoing vocals recall the heyday of Eurodance. Meanwhile, kicking off the season in May, rising Atlanta producer Nikki Nair hooked up with Hudson Mohawke on Set The Roof, a crackling medley of dub and breaks featuring singer-songwriter Tayla Parks. It’s been “causing damage up and down the land for the last month or 2 [sic] and now you too (and your mother) are both invited to join in on the action”, according to HudMo’s Instagram.
Last month, DJ Fuckoff, one of the silly-named selectors at the forefront of the ending-self-seriousness-on-the-dancefloor movement, released $ugar money/dreamstate. Taken from her cosmically sexy album FUCKTOPIA, it’s a breakbeat-meets-techno slammer that promises to send listeners into the stratosphere. The only thing keeping our feet firmly on the ground are the track’s languid, horny lyrics: “Tryna shake some ass /tryna make some money”. Trashy, brash and relatable – with a cocktail umbrella in.
It would be remiss for us to not also mention Peggy Gou’s (It Goes Like) Nanana. The super-producer’s XL Records debut, dropped less than a month ago, has already amassed over 36 million Spotify streams. An earworm of epic, Balearic-house inspired proportions, (It Goes Like)… will be the soundtrack to many-a-festival sunsets, bum-bags and bucket hats swaying to its pestilentially catchy chorus.
At heart, these tracks are unpretentious, party-ready and emblematic of a wholly welcome new era where the internet is – finally! – starting to get over itself when it comes to enjoying unapologetically cheesy songs. Last April we bemoaned the disappearance of crap music – or, as FACE Features Editor Olive Pometsey affectionately called it, “euphorically crap, gloriously manufactured, sublimely silly music”. Call this the Trash Music Renaissance, if you will, filled with different flavours of always loud, sometimes silly songs that scratch a sun-soaked itch to dance.
Granted, “trashy” is a bit of a catch-all term here. These tunes exist at any and all ends of the trash spectrum, from the sublime to the ridiculous to the even more ridiculous. And they certainly aren’t constrained by genre or demographic. Rather, what they share is an ability to elicit an elated, jubilant, vaguely spiritual reaction from a crowd when played at a nightclub, house party or festivals. They suspend, if just for a few minutes, the objectively shit reality most of us are having to contend with right now. In summer ’23, give us pop trash over real-life trash – God knows there’s plenty of it – any day of the week.