Club Music for People Who Hate Club Music

This article was a little hard to put together.  Electronic music has spread out to so many styles and forms, that trying to give examples of something really different has become extremely difficult.  Club music has also been the worst victim of over-categorization since psychology became an officially recognized science.  Depending on the DJ, you may hear Electro, Synth-pop, Hardstyle, Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Dancehall, Euro-fill-in-the-blank, or any number of sub-sub-genres.

For this article, we’re going to simplify things, and just call it all Club music.  We won’t worry about the formulas of what makes it club, just what feels like club.  Songs that make you want to dance, or at least nod your head.


1. It’s repetitive.  Club music is intended to be played in, well, a club.  So simple beats and repetitive melodies are the name of the game, in order to give people who have never heard the song before something easy to dance to.  Because of this, even above average club songs don’t sound their best unless played in a setting where there is dancing, and the basic standard for club music is sometimes completely unlistenable in a car or home setting.

2. It doesn’t take any actual musical ability.  With modern technology, nearly anyone can put together electronic music.  It doesn’t take years of training your hand-eye coordination, and can occasionally be done successfully with no musical training whatsoever.

3. It’s made for ravers.  In other words, deeply integrated into a culture that embraces rampant use of mind-altering and oftentimes hallucinogenic drugs.  And because the songs are made for people in a compromised state of mind, it’s often difficult to enjoy listening to these songs without a chemical aid.

Let’s break some stereotypes, shall we?

1. Pendulum – Witchcraft

Pendulum has been pushing the limits of what is acceptable for club music lately.  With more and more live instruments in their setup, and a growing lack of repetitive melodies, it almost seems like they are actively trying to abandon the rave and club scene.  This song in particular, tells the story of a woman who overdoses on drugs after a night of partying.

2. Basement Jaxx – Do Your Thing

A very fun, feel-good song to get people in a dancing mood.  A good song for parties, or to kick off a road trip.  Even the lyrics tell you to just have fun with it, and don’t think too much.

3. Sub Focus – Splash

Sub Focus has a way of making something that’s repetitive, but doesn’t really feel repetitive.  Splash is a great start for a newcomer to club music.  It’s driving, but also a bit soothing in a way.  Someone could probably do some meditation to this.  EXTREME meditation.

4. Blackout Crew – Put a Donk on it

Having done my share of tinkering with making my own electronic music, I have to say that the “writing process” outlined here is way closer to the truth than DJs and fans would like to admit.  Making good club music is more complicated than this, obviously, but taking damn near any riff and then “putting a donk on it” is how the majority of club songs get started.

5. Fatboy Slim – Praise You

Another groovy, feel good song.  I know nobody really says “groovy” anymore, and I think that’s a problem.  There really isn’t any better way to describe songs like this.  Fatboy Slim’s usual method is record sampling, which means nearly every instrument heard has been sampled from another song.  This style both challenges and supports the stereotype that Club music requires no skill, because on one hand, Fatboy Slim does not play any of the instruments heard, but on the other hand, mashing so many unconnected riffs into a coherent package is not easy.

6. Neuroticfish – Darkness/Influence

Neuroticfish is kind of a throwback to older electronic music, back when some programming knowledge was required to create techno.  It’s not purely old-school stuff, but a mix of old and new electronic.  A good recommendation for fans of Information Society, Devo, or Depeche Mode.

7. Alabama 3 – Speed to the Sound of Loneliness

This is a cover of an early 90s country song, by Nanci Griffith and John Prine.

I have trouble describing Alabama 3, so I defer to the words of frontman Larry Love, who calls it: “sweet g*****n pretty motherf*****g country acid house music” (at 3:19 on the YouTube video).

8. The Qemists – Stompbox

This song contains the perfect example to explain a “drop”.  A drop in club music is similar to a crescendo in classical music.  The feel of the song becomes more and more intense, “drops” (1:07 on the YouTube video), and then levels off to start the main part of the song.  A drop is almost always at the beginning of the song.

9. Ratatat – Lex

Once again, we have a song that’s very hard to describe with words.  It’s best to simply listen.

10. The Glitch Mob – Drive It Like You Stole It

Have you ever heard a song that made you feel powerful?  Like you could do anything, as long as you had theme music?  That’s what a driving electronic mix like Drive It Like You Stole It does for me.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like this article on Rap music for people who hate Rap music.

And by all means, leave your own suggestions for non-stereotypical electronic, club, or dance music in the comments.

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4 responses to “Club Music for People Who Hate Club Music

  1. Anonymous

    Really liked ‘Witchcraft’. ‘Put a Donk on it’ was awesome hilarious. Extreme meditation is a good description of what I do with this kind of music. ‘Splash’ was great – makes me think of a really good ‘do science to it’ montage from a CSI show. ‘Stomp Box’ and ‘Lex’ were good.
    On the other hand, ‘Drive It Like You Stole It’ makes me feel sleepy, not invincible. lol.

  2. I still like my song, mister. >:3

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