Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard and read conversations on house music and its re-emergence into the mainstream, highlighting Drake’s latest album and Beyoncé’s latest single as primary examples. And I get it, but house music is far from really breaking that mainstream barrier again like it did in the late 80s and early 90s. They are at a peak where they can make the sound trendy, and once it kicks, the singularity will continue since it’s hard to orchestrate a tangential mix like Dua Lipa’s Club Future Nostalgia. But Drake and Beyoncé are on a hierarchy, especially compared to artists who have made or featured over dynamic electronic and house productions. Drake made it work on his album, and Beyoncé delivered a powerhouse Dance-House hybrid that oozes 90s nostalgia, specifically in the percussion. And despite their status, I have doubts; doubts that it will push to exponential heights as its peak during the 80-90s transitional period. But I hope I’m wrong.
See, it’s a genre with uniquely fantastic quirks that artists of Drake’s caliber needed to bring out styles influenced by House–Jersey Club, Hip-House, and Techno–to sustain transitional fluidity within the pop-sphere and the groove. Most of the time, the tracks were fantastic that they showed Drake’s appreciation for the nuances of the genre. These hybrids or transitional sub-genres have allowed artists to create something unique and wonderful. They often get their biggest hits remixed, but this isn’t a genre that will find itself in the trenches of Hot 100 Radio, specifically with new hits monthly. It’s a tight-knit community that is more than just the production; it’s creating an atmosphere and mixing in real-time.
What’s different for Beyoncé is that she has shown that sense within her new single, “Break My Soul.” I’d love to get into the nitty-gritty, but it’s contextually deep. Albeit my doubts, maybe Beyoncé could, as we’ve seen her bridge genres prior. I just have to wait and see. Charlie Harding and Nate Sloan of Switched On Pop delivered an eloquent and thorough breakdown on their podcast, which you can listen to here: Beyoncé’s House. I’m in a different lane. I love the singularity it can take, but nothing hits like a clean mix. House isn’t singular either, as it has branched into varying subgenres and new stylistic directions, like Trance, Dubstep, Techno, and more. The unique talent of DJs is unbound, specifically due to the more real-time, time-sensitive focus to allow for smooth transitions and an ongoing vibe. Here are some of my favorite sets to check out.