It is kind of wonderful when a pop song can inspire enough discourse to fill a dissertation. “Sexercize” is a dubstep-influenced pop song with overtly sexual lyrics that walk the fine line between playful and sleazy. The fact that it was written by Sia Furler makes me imagine that she and Kylie were drinking wine one night and were inspired to do a raunchy 2014 version of Olivia Newton John’s “Physical” as it would be performed by Rihanna or Beyonce. Is it pop or is it porn? Listening to the lyrics and watching the second version of the video (a hard-R Cinemax lesbian version of the “Physical” video) leans it more to the porn direction. Yet, somehow it seems somewhat classy amongst its sleaze (like maybe porn made by women for women) and that might be because a 45 year-old pop artist performing this material comes off differently than a 20-something R&B singer would. Some might say that this song and video smacks of the same desperation of 2010s era Madonna, pushing sex and drug references that are neither edgy or cool but lame and out of touch, but since this is the first material of this type from Miss Minogue, she gets a pass. It would be quite interesting to see if “Sexercize” gets expanded into a full 45-minute workout a la the infamous Eric Prydz “Call On Me” workout, as it would work perfectly as a warm up for the athletic pole dancing classes that seem to be de rigeur at gyms around the country.
The lines between progressive and pop continue to erode as producers are working with singer/songwriters to add quality vocals.? Australian duo Denzal Park have straddled the line, remixing both commercial vocal artists (Kylie, Zoe Badwi, Wynter Gordon) and club-oriented producers (MYNC, EDC, and Rank 1). Listening to “Look Back,” you can hear the influences of both styles.? The straightahead progressive/stadium house track is elevated by the vocals of Eyelar (winner of the Dutch version of The Voice). It might take a few listens, but the melody will definitely grow on you.? “Look Back” is one of those songs that will sound as good on the radio as it does in the club.
While the use of ’90s samples has becoming quite prevalent recently, some make more sense than others.? British DJ/producer Mat Zo is best known for his big room progressive tracks (“Easy” with Porter Robinson, “Mozart” with Arty) and remixes (Empire of the Sun “Alive,” Kylie Minogue “Get Outta My Way”). He is also is a drum-and-basshead under the pseudonym MRSA, so digging back to seminal ’90s jump-up/drum & bass track “Rock the Funky Beat” by Natural Born Chillers doesn’t seem like too big a stretch.? For “Pyramid Scheme,” he constructed a progressive stadium house track which moves between big beats and quite a pretty midsection.? Enlisting Chuck D to come back and rerecord the vocal line (which was originally sampled from the Public Enemy track “Caught, Can We Get A Witness?”) is quite the genius move.? Though the track is strong in its current form, I have a feeling there will be another version forthcoming with an additional topline aimed at the pop market.? As for the title “Pyramid Scheme,” one can only wonder if it could be a sarcastic reference to the behind the scene mechanisms of the EDM industry.