Bee Gees – Stayin’ Alive

First Hit #1: February 4, 1978

Possibly the gold standard of disco, Stayin’ Alive is one of those songs that improves the soundtrack of your life. It’s partly that very distinct beat, something that you will be humming for the rest of your life. Partly it’s that first line, about the way he uses his walk proving that he’s a ladies man. It’s a pretty great line, and has this absurd amount of self confidence that kind of goes with that beat. It just makes you seem completely badass even if you’re doing the dishes or walking to work.

Which is interesting, because it’s a song about projection, and the absurd amount of self confidence in the verses and projected by the beat itself is undercut by some whispered lines indicating something of an internal monologue, something which simmers underneath that glorious swagger. “Life going nowhere, somebody help me, somebody help me yeah”. It adds a bit of depth to the material, and it actually provides a counterpoint to the utterly glorious self-confidence that the rest of the song engenders. Then there’s the chorus, which is perched somewhere in between, suggesting that projecting this confidence is a method for staying alive, a way to overcome the lack of self-confidence internally. It’s genius to make a song about projecting confidence within a song that makes you feel like you’ve got a bit more swagger than normal.

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