Consumer Guide Album
Zetrospective: Dancing in the Face of Adversity [ZE, 1989]
Resuscitating the four standout tracks from the 1981 nouveau-disco anthology Seize the Beat and 12 others besides, this is the soundtrack to a lost era--art-scene disco according to Michael Zilkha on one side, art-scene DOR ditto on the other. It's very Manhattan, even more dilettantishly cerebral after all these years, and I prefer the disco even though the beat does get repetitive (those handclaps): only Kid Creole's "I'm a Wonderful Thing Baby," which oddly enough is the compilation's only readily available cut, has much give to it. But good work by uneven or ultimately tedious artists abounds. From Cristina's satiric "Disco Clone" to Was (Not Was)'s literal "White People Can't Dance," from Coati Mundi's bad-rapping "Que Pasa/Me No Pop I" to Lydia Lunch's sweet-talking "Lady Scarface," from Don Armando's cheesy "Deputy of Love" to Breakfast Club's cheesy "Rico Mambo," this is the first postmodern dance music--dance music with a critical spirit. And it's funny as hell.