Relentless Beats

B-Side Weekly: Disclosure Featuring Mary J. Blige – “F For You”

Urban Dictionary describes Handbag House / Diva House as “a type of House music. Handbag house consists of the obligatory disco diva lyrics, simple four-on-the-floor TR-909 kick drums, hi-hats on the upbeats, Basic synth stabs in a minor key, and sometimes a snare on beats two and four.” Although this description would probably only raise the eyebrows of the producers in the room, Handbag House / Diva House is a genre eerily similar to what gave us some of the best tunes from yesteryear, and the birth of modern house in the late 80s all the way to the 90s. With the simple synth patterns as well as basic backbeats, it’s almost easy to forget the genre that started in the gay community of San Francisco, the Big Apple, among other metropolises like London who witnessed the birth of this forgotten genre.

One of the reasons we tend to forget its influences, is how smoothly it meshed into the public consciousness after the “schism” of dance music in the 90s. One of the reasons why we have so many sub-genres and so many angry faces of fans when articles like to use “EDM” as a specific term, is the growth of technology during that time and also a revitalized focus in dance that gave way long ago in the 80s to hair metal and rock and roll. I have given many examples in my articles of disco permeating the mainstream after its death, but the rise of house subgenres reflected the itching for more creativity in the dance world after disco became status quo monotony.

As a gay man myself, it is easy to forget the contributions from my elders that have come in recent years, be it in culture, or music. The landscape of what has become “the gay community” has stretched beyond gay bars and secret meetings, but has permeated much of our mainstream. A friend even brought up of how colloquials like “slay,” “fierce,” and even certain artists who have made careers out of strong gay followings have made their careers into the mainstream. As we know, once a proper noun hits the mainstream, that usually signifies the death of said-trend, which could explain the integration of Handbag House / Diva House.

Disclosure – F For You ft. Mary J. Blige

This brings us to 2014, with Disclosure, an artist who still profits off of Diva House elements and makes a pretty damned good argument for it; “F For You” with the great modern soul sensation, Mary J. Blige. F For You combines all the classic elements of what made early house and Handbag House a common name within the community: featuring strong, pure, and unapologetic vocals from a modern soul singer, and while the simplicity of the song can be a turn-off to some more modern fans of “progressive” house, the video boasts a strength of simplicity that speaks louder than most complicated measures. This kind of music would find any home behind a modern soundboard at your local club, but what makes this an important contribution is Disclosure’s close following to the genre.
Finally, the inclusion of Mary J. Blige mixed with Disclosure’s modern sensibilities make the genre not only modernized, but avoids the stereotypical concept while still staying true to the brand of the product. We all know early and even modern house lyrics can have cheesy lines — lets face it, sometimes dance music isn’t always about the lyrical output, but instead the composition of the song speaks louder. Check out the 2014 release of Disclosure and Mary J. Blige’s “F For You,” and bring back the good old days!

Connect With Disclosure: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Connect With Mary J. Blige: Facebook | Official Website | Twitter | Soundcloud

Sources: Deep House Amsterdam

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