Byron (zenin4711) wrote in jr_jitterbugs,
Byron
zenin4711
jr_jitterbugs

DJs and music choices (warning: rant)

I've noticed a number of swing DJs largely play a particular sound. Fast 20's songs, typically original recordings (eg, the fidelity is often terrible), that are fairly low energy and have incredibly repetitive melodies. To me this music feels like a metronome...there's just not much there to work with, to play off of? No breaks, no real accents, nothing bent a little to do a slide to, nothing. Meh

This music is at the high end (speed wise) of what most decent dancers can lindy to...but even if you can do lindy to it lindy is to "big" at these speeds to fit the very mild melodies. It just feels wrong (huge dance, mild song). Bal and 20's charleston work ok to this stuff in that reguard...but it's still very uneventful music...like a metronome. And there's no variance...ten songs in a row will be this sound...heaven forbid we mix things up a bit. WTF?

It just seems like a very limiting type of music for dancing. Considering how huge a spectrum exists that's swingable...it boggles my mind why a number of DJs are stuck on this particular vintage "old people's music" sound. They don't even mix it up...they typically play the same exact sets every week. Strangely these DJs are typically pretty young. I've listened to some play very low fidelity live recordings complete with three minutes of the band leader introducing each member of the band over little more then a metronome drum beat. Huh? They obviously don't even watch the crowd as often it's clear with many songs that the floor empties and/or the ones left standing are struggling to dance to it and don't look like they are having a good time.

I'm tempted to buy one of those, "This Music Sucks!", t-shirts. *sigh*

There are some good DJs, but reguardless of the music genre the vast majority of DJs seem to just have bad and/or very limited tastes. I've come up with a theory that they become DJs not because they have good music taste but actually because they have bad music taste. -No one would ever play the horrid songs they requested, they got frustrated, and became a DJ in order to force their bad music to be played.


</rant>
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  • 6 comments
I wish this problem existed back when I danced.
Consider yourself lucky.

Real jazz music > neo-blues bullshit.
:P

Personally I'm a huge fan of big band...the music that so far as I'm aware was the main music which lindy grew upon. Big band I'd love dancing too...but these guys don't play it any of it. I wouldn't normally classify what they do play as "jazz"; it's 2/4 time charleston, which I guess is technically jazz...depends on how you define jazz. But jazz or not it doesn't swing, it bounces. Meh

Overall I'd like to see a broader mix and more variance. I do like bouncy 2/4 20's music now and then, but not an entire night of it. Getting stuck on one style, at one tempo, for hours isn't my idea of fun...especially when it's a style that leaves so little to play with on the dance floor. And each week it's the same song list...and requests are flatly refused.
i think it's because the trend is to dance as fast as you can, and that music lets you do it. plus dj's seem to like to try and impress people with all of the old songs they have, and want to play songs that people haven't heard before. but i agree. it's not swing. it's early jazz music. and whether or not lindy was ever originally danced to it is another (argument) matter.

if you want to have a bigger reponse, you might try discussing it on yehoodi.com or swingdjs.com
Ha, yeah I can't stand the "I will impress you with how many completely undanceable songs I have in my library"

That being said, each DJ plays to his or who own tastes, that generally why they announce which djs will be at events, cause you're either excited, or you skip it.

I thought about dj-ing, even though i know a lot of the in-people in the seattle scene wouldn't dig what I like to play. I like the Sinatra, the slowy type of music.

but fear of clearing the dance floor freask me out.
"I like the Sinatra, the slowy type of music."

The slowy type of music I like a lot as well. The SF scene seems to have a lot more blues influance and plays slower stuff at lot.

But Sinatra... I do like listening to Sinatra, but I have a hard time dancing to a lot of his stuff. I've come to the conclusion that it's his bass lines...they don't have the thump, thump heartbeat of swing, they are more complex like a lot of modern rock has. So it feels like there's no foundation to dance to. 99.9% of swing has a solid thumping heartbeat baseline for a foundation, which lets them do all kinds of wild syncopation in the melody and countermelody and still be very easy to dance to.

Sinatra's melodies aren't quite as complex, but his basslines are...so it feels like there's nothing solid gound one's dancing to. With the heartbeat bassline of most swing after we've done whatever wild move we just natrually sync back up with the music because of that heartbeat w/o thinking about it...but with syncopated basslines of Sinatra I find I have to stop and think about the music to sync back up with it...it really throws me off when dancing. :-P

Not all Sinatra mind you...just the stuff that has complex basslines (which is a lot of it).
Just because its "real jazz music" - doesn't mean its DANCEABLE jazz music, or even GOOD jazz music. Big difference. DJs often mistake OLD for being GOOD, and that isnt always necessarily the case.

But I'm with you. I dont like this trend in music or dance, and others are getting tired of it too. I dont actually mind this music, as long as its not all evening long, because you're right - the sound becomes monotonous and downright boring. I slept through the main and late nights of the Seattle 2005 exchange because that's all they would play, and it literally put me to sleep. If they'd mix it up a little, we could all have something to dance to, and all have a good time.