First Hit #1: May 31, 1980
Who said disco was dead? Funkytown is definitely of a piece with disco hits of the year before, with its big catchy chorus and funk-inspired sounds. Yet, it’s also something else, since we begin with lots of processed vocals – which are ahead of their time in a way – and the line “Got to move on” repeated to the point where it’s almost a comment on the genre itself.
I can’t help but hear a bit of the influence of Pop Muzik in there, Funkytown has this same odd relationship with reality and obvious construction that the previous hit did. Now, Funkytown is a bit different, since the vocals are more soul diva than David Byrne, but it too is incredibly proud of its artificiality, calling attention to its synthesizers and processing before breaking out into the more organic chorus. Disco is a genre at a crossroads, and Lipps Inc. met the challenge by making a song that experiments to try to stay relevant. The balls out, try everything approach makes it thrilling.