Night and Day

Hot Chip – Shake a Fist and Ready For The Floor from Made In The Dark

Wanted to talk about two super tracks from the beginning of Hot Chip’s 2008 release.  The tracks sit next to each other, but they have very different vibes, which is probably accentuated by their proximity.

Shake Your Fist starts off innocently enough with some synths and bleeps that sound very Hot Chip.  15 seconds in though, the mood gets darker.  Booming bass and harried percussion enter the mix and dominate Alexis Taylor’s vocals, which seem to be trying to peek out over the bombast.  In the chorus his voice gains power, but so does the music with more pulsating squelch.

And then, out of nowhere, we get Todd Rundgren instructing us he’s got a game to play and we need to put on our headphones.  And then things get really loud and dance-y.  It reminds me of something Missy Elliot would have slayed over in the 90s.  Some probably think that ruins the song, I think it’s a great breakdown section.  And instead of returning to the tame by comparison beginning of the song, when they return to the lyrics and chorus for a second go-around, they don’t let the music settle down.  The bass modulates in waves and snare hits propel the song to its end.  Made in the dark, indeed.

And then there is light.  Ready For the Floor is bright and bouncy.  It throws you a bit of a curve at the beginning, with the reverberating beats and synths settling into a groove that mimics some of the menace of Shake A Fist (it has a Depeche Mode vibe to me).  However, all the sudden the synths take an uplifting turn and Taylor’s vocals soar rather than shrink in the face of the beats and all the moodiness of the last track is washed.  It’s synth-pop at it’s finest; it invades your body, puts a smile on your face and makes you want to get out your seat and dance.  I’m not surprised it got nominated for a Grammy in the Dance category in 2008.  I also think of the two songs it’s more representative of their sound; if you love Shake A Fist, you might get a let-down from some of their other material but I would still recommend this entire album as it has some other really good tracks.

Both songs below (video for Ready for the Floor seems very 80s to me):


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