I’m sure I’m not the only one to recognize that Le Freak is the only disco song you’ll ever need to round out your music collection. It is the perfect example of the genre.
Does it have disembodied clapping? Yes.
Gratuitous references to Studio 54? Yup
What about absurdly simplistic orchestration and an exaggerated bass solo? Oh yes.
Utterly mindless and self absorbed lyrics extolling the benefits of a fictitious activity, one that exists in name only? Yeah man!
But there’s so much more. The name alone captures much of the despondent cheapness that characterized the mediocre age. It incorporates French which was considered at the time to be “classy” – a word, by the way, which cancels out its own meaning.
But it also includes a word devoid of meaning altogether. “Freak” takes the lazy way out, it means whatever you want it to mean. Everything is valid and absolutely nothing is authentic anymore. It says, “we give up.”
The simple title of the song expresses deeply the exhaustion and shame of the 1970s that drove popular culture to celebrate all that was base and ignoble. “Le Freak, c’est chic” says it all without actually saying anything.
Before the dismal Seventies is totally whitewashed by benign nostalgia I feel it is my duty to remind you of the profound half-assedness of what passed for creativity in a craptacular world of stagnation and moral decay.
I give you . . . Xanadu!
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