Thursday, October 21st, 2021

Shouse – Love Tonight

Not our favourite example of this sgenre..


Andrew Karpan: What if all I needed was your love tonight — a suggestion that David Guetta elevates to the center of a four year-old Australian dance record, supercharging its hollow chanting to illuminate a summer of dancing worriedly. With a kind of crass knowing, the French DJ throws out the intricate horns and whistles, the ominous atmosphere, and most of Shouse’s effort at delivering us the perplexing, self-aware “Blue Monday” that we might have deserved all those years ago. It is no doubt interesting that the duo had contemplated the track initially as an ironic send-up of “those insane 80s celebrity Bandaid/We are the World spectaculars,” an element that comes complete with a chorus of random Melbourne dance scenesters whose frozen voices now hang like big party balloons over a festival of love they could never imagine.

Oliver Maier: The inexplicable glut of remixes this thing has received vary dramatically in quality (for my money the Guetta is the most worthwhile), but it’s not hard to see why it failed to make waves on its own. A pitiful baby’s-first-drum-machine loop and sloppy little woodwind flourishes suggest Shouse heard someone else doing it and were like “write that down.” The motley crew of Melbourne musicians on vocals sound bad cosplaying house divas and worse when they blend into the chorus. There is appreciation and understanding of dance music here, but I don’t hear love.

Edward Okulicz: This song has been kicking around for a few years, but you can see how in 2021 a series of punchier remixes might fit the zeitgeist. The choir of voices over house music is an interesting trick, although it’s not especially well executed. The song should fly at the chorus, should bring the listener into a feeling of rapturous togetherness on the dancefloor, but instead it’s emotionless and flat. The verses reach for loftier emotional heights and do better as you can hear something in the solos, but everyone here is shown up by a saxophone.

Tim de Reuse: Big, feathery clouds of vocals over a winding, resonant bass loop; it ain’t much, but it knows exactly what it wants to be, and there are enough layers in those “oohs” to slip into the vibe for four minutes. Once you’ve got that core dopamine circuit, what else do you do? Prepend some sax solos off in the distance and a relay race of solo parts for a dangling little appendix of a verse? There are worse ways to frame a near-perfect four-measure hook, but the attempt at providing a pop structure underneath it all feels like it’s provided out of obligation.

Katherine St Asaph: Has that half-assed Walserian charm, then that half-assed quotidian beat.

Nortey Dowuona: I’ve heard this every day I’ve worked this year. It has been both eerie and fantastic every time. There’s a very frightening horror movie that should use this in a club scene.

Scott Mildenhall: Unlike too many of the charity ensembles from which they’ve taken inspiration, Shouse’s Melbourne collective sound thoroughly like a collective. There’s a warmth to “Love Tonight” that probably does come from its performers singing from the same hymn sheet. Indeed, their woozy chorus, paired with the woozy gloomwobble, makes for something faintly mystical. From where did this love cult spring, and where are they going? The answer: “oooooooooooo.”

Leah Isobel: The harmonies are a nice idea — the plurality of the dancefloor, literalized — and they sound pretty, but it feels like Shouse didn’t know what to do with the multiple-vocalists conceit outside of the chorus. Having individual vocalists trade off lines can work in a group that’s designed around it, but it’s clear in the verses that these singers aren’t usually put together. They’re all competing with each other to build and emote in a small space. That dynamic keeps the song from feeling too personal or vulnerable, which in turn limits its power. One of the joys of dance music is that the connection it proposes can be taken in any number of directions: sexual, romantic, platonic, religious, utopian. “Love Tonight” only really aims for the latter. It strains so hard to be universal that it reduces its scope.

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