One of the divisive things about disco was the apparent will to discofy anything and everything: no style, era, film theme or rock classic was safe. To haters it was proof of disco’s stultifying lack of creativity – why make something new when you could slap strings and a beat under the old? But there’s something a little utopian about it too – a sense that disco was the philosopher’s stone of pop, the perfect unifying sound that could turn anything into dancefloor gold.
Something of that survived in commercial dance music. While club music continued mutating and innovating at bewildering pace, its leaps forward took it into the charts less often. The gap was often filled by novelties – raved-up TV themes, videogame music, cover versions, and finally stand-ins for whole genres with a 4/4 thump grafted on. Hence “Doop”, some Europeans building their money-making vehicle from a xerox of a memory of a decade that had happened somewhere else, souping its engines up and letting it loose.
Of course it’s a very good record. I’m writing this on the 60th anniversary of the charts – how could I let it go without an entry? – and novelty is something they’ve always smiled on. If the Internet has damaged pop in Britain then some of it is that the web is simply a more efficient delivery system for the transient grin or thrill of annoyance.
Nobody buying “Doop” expected to be playing it in one year, never mind 18. A month would have been a shock. But it fully commits to its one idea, owns it and crafts it. While it’s never anything more than “the Charleston with a donk on it”, it’s also far more generous with its hooks and energy than one-line descriptions suggest. It does enough with its squealing horns and showy, tumbling drum samples that the entry of the scoo-be-doo vocals feels like a delightful bonus.
And when the 1990s grafts take hold fully the track is harder than you’d expect: by choosing the rapid, aggressive kick and pump of hardcore over softer, more inclusive house beats “Doop” stays as true as a cash-in can to its source material. The 20s, after all – the 20s we had handed down to us – were a giddy, dangerous decade and Doop treats that image with more respect than you might remember.