Editor’s Note: Click here to read the previous installment of this feature.
20. Justice, “D.A.N.C.E.” (†, 2007)
I know people who really despise this song; that seems unnecessarily curmudgeonly to me, but abstractly I see their point. This is a song that nakedly apes Daft Punk unlike anything else on Justice’s sole official album to date, whose hooks initially seem stupidly obvious and pandering, a sell-out version of real dance music, a way of tugging at fond memories of the Jackson 5 without earning the comparison, a cross-over for people who’ll never actually cross over to investigate non-hit dance songs. All of which is true. I won’t pull some kind of nonsense about how what’s obvious is actually pure emotion breaking down your cynical barriers and making us a less hardened generation, or that it makes you want to dance despite yourself; I’m perfectly capable of standing still, thank you. But this song is infectious and overwhelming in a way that makes it clear it’s accomplishing all of its obvious goals without making you hate yourself. And why is it ranked so far above Daft Punk? Because it showed up way after my initial love affair with music; after, say, freshman year of college, it takes a lot more for something to worm itself into my life and take up permanent residence. Daft Punk certainly paved the way, but Justice got there after I despaired of ever hearing another Daft Punk album I liked as much as Discovery, let alone having someone take up their mantle (in unfettered obviousness, if not sonics). The other thing I like about this is that it’s a perfect single—one that stands out as such—from an album it really sounds nothing like but which I like almost as much in its entirety. More bands should pitch their big cross-over with this much care.