10 Years, 100 Songs: #75. “And GO!!!…”
Posted by Andrew Unterberger on July 16, 2009
Over the final months of our fine decade, Intensities in Ten Suburbs will be sending the Naughty Oughties out in style with a series of essays devoted to the top 100 songs of the decade–the ones we will most remember as we look back fondly on this period of pop music years down the road. The archives can be found here. If you want to argue about the order, you can’t, because we’re not totally sure what the qualifications are either. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy.
Danish sunshine boys Junior Senior were probably the clearest example of Too Much of a Good Thing to emerge in the pop world in the first Naughty Oughties. They seemed to pack a lot of gimmicks into their lyrics (mainly that one was gay and one was straight, which they seemed intent on reminding you about in nearly every song), and they seemed reliant on an almost assaultively day-glo visual scheme to capture audiences’ attentions (just glancing at an album cover can give you a headache), but they really didn’t need any of it. All by its lonesome, their music was exuberant, decadent and blindingly bright enough to make any further schmaltz piled on top frustratingly redundant–and if anything, hedging their bets with such an image-conscious persona probably hurt their chances at legitimate career longevity. What really destroyed their future, though was the fact that they got it absolutely, perfectly, blissfullly right the first time out, with the unassailable sugar rush of “Move Your Feet.”
Two seconds is about all “Move Your Feet” needs to kick into its highest gear. You barely even have time to register that there are voices chanting in the background (“Don’t stop / don’t stop! / Don’t stop the beat!”) before all of a sudden one of them (if you can actually tell the difference between Junior and Senior, well, God bless), suddenly cranks up his mic and screams “…AND GO!!!!!” From there, the four-note horn riff that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who’s heard the song once (and possibly even less) kicks in, and the song’s off. And that’s it–there’s not exactly much of a mystery to the rest of “Move Your Feet.” There’s no build up, there’s no lyrical twists, there’s no tension and release, and there’s no climax (well, no real climax). There’s not really even any verses or bridges. All there is is three plus minutes of relentless, unceasing chorus.
But it is good chorus. And it’s not just one chorus–there’s about a half-dozen different choruses in the song, half of them instrumental. It’s just that no part of the song tones things down enough to be considered a verse, or shifts things enough musically to be considered a bridge. You can choose your favorite–the titular “Every-bo-dy! Move ya feet and feel u-ni-ted!” part, the “D-d-d-don’t stop the beat!!” chant that the parent album gets its name from, the chiming “We goin’ downtown” section, or any number of the hooks in between. That said, my favorite part of the song is probably the brief section where everything drops out but the disco guitar and drums–still a pretty heavy hook by most standards, but the equivalent of a minute-long pregnant pause here. .It’s all gorgeous stuff, exhilerating and undeniable, like a flawless mixture of the best parts of Chic’s “Good Times,” Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks,” Basement Jaxx’s “Red Alert” and Toni Basil’s “Mickey.” If one song this decade could actually make you feel guilty for listening to it quietly on headphones while wearing all of your clothes, it’d be “Move Your Feet.”
And though I definitely have grievances with Junior Senior’s frequently obnoxious abuse of the visual medium, there’s no belittling the charms of the “Move Your Feet” video, still one of the most creative (and unnervingly appropriate) videos of the decade. Directed by the Shynola collective (also behind the clips for decade greats like Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song” and Queens of the Stone Age’s “Go With the Flow”), the 8-bit throwback could’ve easily fallen into the traps of being indulgently nostalgic or nauseatingly cute, but manages to avoid either with some cleverly semi-dark imagery (the protagonist squirrel’s scowl after running over a streetful of zombies in his car–more for them being in his way than for them being undead–probably being my favorite part) and some not-quite-so-clever sexual puns (thankfully, scenes with hot dogs, mustard and ketchup are kept mercifully short). It was pretty, it was technically impressive, and it was so much fun.
“Move Your Feet” was too good for the public to ignore entirely, but also too completely out of place among literally anything on the radio in this country in 2003 to cross over in any significant way. Consequently, Junior Senior mostly had to settle for cult status in the United States, with album D-D-Don’t Stop the Beat reaching a respectable but not particularly impressive #94 on the charts. They had some good singles to follow–the DFA remix of “Shake Your Cocnuts” was a blast, and those that heard it can vouch for the quality of follow-up album Hey Hey My My Yo Yo‘s lead single “Itch U Can’t Skratch.” But by then most people had stopped listening, and understandably so–a little of Junior Senior went such a very long way, and you got the feeling that even if a song as good as “Move Your Feet” was but a half-minute longer, it might’ve quickly grown intolerable as well.
Nonetheless, as is, “Move Your Feet” isn’t a second longer or shorter than it should be, and for people my age who were conscientious enough of internet-approved Danish disco-pop at the time, few songs are guaranteed to get a party started quite like this one (and a good deal of the rest of them kind of suck). Every decade needs a handful of songs like this, and I envy the kids 20 years from now who can listen to this song and delude themselves that all pop music–or even any pop music–of the 00s felt and sounded like this.
The List So Far:
100. Green Day – “Jesus of Suburbia”
99. The Ying Yang Twins – “Wait (The Whisper Song)”
98. Crazytown – “Butterfly”
97. Taylor Swift – “Teardrops on My Guitar”
96. The Fray – “Over My Head (Cable Car)”
95. Fergie – “Fergalicious”
94. Lidstrom – “I Feel Space”
93. Chevelle – “Send the Pain Below”
92. T-Pain f/ Yung Joc – “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)”
91. The Arctic Monkeys – “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor”
90. Cassie – “Me & U”
89. Nelly Furtado – “Maneater”
88. Mike Jones f/ Slim Thug & Paul Wall – “Still Tippin’”
87. Bat for Lashes – “Daniel”
86. The Darkness – “I Believe in a Thing Called Love”
85. Dynamite Hack – “Boyz n the Hood”
84. DJ Khaled f/ T.I., Rick Ross, Fat Joe, Birdman, Lil’ Wayne & Akon – “We Takin’ Over”
83. Matchbox20 – “Bent”
82. The Game f/ 50 Cent – “Hate It or Love It”
81. 311 – “Amber”
80. 3 Doors Down – “Krptonite”
79. Nas – “Made You Look”
78. Royksopp – “Eple”
77. The Pussycat Dolls – “Don’t Cha”
76. DMX – “Party Up (Up in Here)”
75. Junior Senior – “Move Your Feet”