Why Justin Timberlake and Sza's new song signals pop music's return to disco

Justin Timberlake, Sza (Photo: Screengrab, YouTube)
Justin Timberlake, Sza (Photo: Screengrab, YouTube)

Justin Timberlake lends his voice acting skills to the upcoming animated film, Trolls: World Tour.

The film is the sequel to the famous 2016 film Trolls and to publicise its release Justin released a new disco and R&B infused song, featuring Sza, titled The Other Side.

The track is incredibly catchy, and the lyrics speak about being happy with what you have instead of always thinking that the grass looks greener on "The Other Side" of the fence.

While the track is enjoyable and I do think it's going to get lots of radio play, I also think it's indicative of a more significant sea change in popular music where artists and musicians are looking to the golden era of disco when Donna Summer, The Bee Gees and more ruled the charts.

Especially when considering it in the context of other music that has featured heavily on streaming services, radio charts and everyday people's downloads. 

WATCH THE MUSIC VIDEO AND LISTEN TO THE SONG HERE:


Other examples of the trend sweeping the airwaves can be found in Dua Lipa's upcoming album, Future Nostalgia, which will be released in April of this year.

The lead singles Don't Start Now and Future Nostalgia have sailed into the charts and is being streamed in large numbers. The bass line and drumbeats of these songs echo what Justin and Sza have done with their single and make clear references to the time of Studio 54, bell-bottoms and funky dance moves.

LISTEN TO DON'T START NOW:


Another perfect example can be found on one of my favourite records of last year, Mark Ronson's Late Night Feelings. Mark titled the album after it's lead single which also featured Lykke Li and was released in April of last year.

The cover of the album even features a disco ball in the shape of a heart, broken down the middle.

The hit producer – who has chart-toppers like Valerie and Uptown Funk under his belt - uses similar baseline, drum beat and rhythm section references as Justin and Dua, but his lyrics are a lot less upbeat than his contemporaries.

LISTEN TO LATE NIGHT FEELINGS HERE:

Now that you have those vocals and beats and guitars buzzing in your ears, consider one of the biggest hits of the 1970s the Bee Gees iconic classic, You Should Be Dancing.

LISTEN TO YOU SHOULD BE DANCING HERE: 

Of course, there are more references, the more you go down a similar wormhole but I decided to focus on three prime examples that most people might have heard on radio.

Next, I totally expect three men with high-pitched vocals and syncopated dance moves to make a big splash in pop music.