Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Good Times" (1979)

94. Chic, "Good Times" (July 7, 1979, #1)

Perhaps nothing suits the blasted heat of the deep summer as nicely as Chic, the kind of sweltering heat that endures into the evening and well into the night, the kind that drives everyone out to find something to do. Or maybe that's just the way I remember it. Dancing and loud music at any rate are usually the right place to start, which makes this sparkling, exuberant #1 hit a fine go-to in such moments. "Good Times" may not stand as the best thing Chic ever did—it's arguably monotone, lacking certain dynamics they achieved with ease elsewhere, such as melody. But it's unmistakably Bernard Edwards on bass, Nile Rodgers on guitar, boisterous chick singers, strings and keyboards darting in and out all over the place, and a light touch (always the Chic specialty) on the normally heavy four-on-the-floor disco beat. All in themselves those qualities make it eternally lasting dance music, the apotheosis of everything that made Chic great, celebrating the simple pleasures ("clams on the half shell and roller skates, roller skates") with a relish that is positively infectious. And they were rewarded for it with their last chart hit, happily going out on a #1, shortly before embarking on the best work of their careers—the albums Risque, which spawned this, Real People, Take it Off, Tongue in Chic, and Believer are uniformly brilliant, though you would never know it from the sales figures. But do not let me digress too hastily into sidelines harrumphing. Even "Dance, Dance, Dance (Yowsah, Yowsah, Yowsah)" and "Le Freak" still have precious Chic qualities to recommend them. And even more does "Good Times," as its title and everything about it shouts right out loud.

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