The pandemic took many things from 2020. Chief among them are formative experiences, including music and the context in which it's heard. "WAP" just doesn't hit the same coming from shoddy laptop speakers when you're missing the thrills of a night out at the club. In lieu of collective body heat and close brushes against others, now alien in the time of perpetual social distancing, you're met with the echo of your room. With that in mind, Street reminisces about the time when we could let it all out on the floor. Here are the top songs we would want to hear once doors open up again.

Peyton Toups, Deputy Music Editor


"Save A Kiss" — Jessie Ware


Everybody will come back to the dance floor for different reasons: community, romance, or just a place to move our bodies in rhythm. Personally, I’m on the hunt for some of all three. Hence: Jessie Ware’s “Save A Kiss,” an outlier on her 2020 album What’s Your Pleasure? because it’s more indebted to Robyn’s emotive floor–fillers than classic disco. Ostensibly, the song is a plea for a lover to “save a little bit of your love,” but that’s not what it’s really about. The track's true meaning is in the way every instrument mimics the beat of an anxious heart, like the “high anticipation” of walking into a room that’s been empty and is suddenly full of living, breathing, sweating people. The meaning is in those rapturous backing vocals, sung in unison when audio delays make it impossible to harmonize together. The best dance pop released this past year conjured club scenes that were only fantasy. But “Save A Kiss” can bring a little bit of that fantasy into reality.

 — Walden Green, Music Beat


"claws" — Charli XCX


At the beginning of the COVID–19 pandemic, Charli XCX released her fourth studio album how i'm feeling now as a way to grapple with the depressive isolation of quarantine. Despite its relatively quick production process—the entire album was created in a few weeks—it contains some of Charli's most abrasive, exciting, and ebullient bangers yet. "claws," featuring production from 100 gecs' Dylan Brady, is a clear standout from the record. It's propelled along by Brady's clanging snares, explosions of synths, and Charli's infectiously simple hook: "I like, I like, I like / everything about you." Honestly? It's a bit rude that Charli dropped a track that goes so hard when we aren't able to let loose in the limitless space of a sweaty club.

Kyle Whiting, Music Editor


"Experience" — Victoria Monét (With Khalid & SG Lewis)


There was a surge of '80s–inspired music released in 2020, but no other song captures the carefree and laid–back attitudes of the time as well as Victoria Monét’s disco–pop single “Experience.” Dancing to the beat is almost irresistible given the groovy combination of synths and trumpets, as well as Monét and Khalid’s silky vocal chemistry. Referencing an ex–lover in the chorus, Monét hopes that “experience can get you to change,” not afraid of being unapologetic and confident. I can imagine “Experience” being played just as the party’s starting with its contagious liveliness sure to energize the dance floor, making the track the perfect song to begin a night of vibrant fun.

Evan Qiang, Music Beat


"Immaterial" — SOPHIE 


As someone who rarely frequents clubs to begin with, the pandemic has given me even more reason to avoid those crowded spaces. Only a song of immense magnitude can pull me onto the floor. And that song is the late producer and transgender innovator SOPHIE’s rapturous “Immaterial,” taken from the monumental debut album OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN–INSIDES. Infectious, bubblegum–sweet, and impossible to resist, the track channels (gender) euphoria into a potent shot of pink elixir. Stretching to both extremes of her voice on the unforgettable bridge, singer Cecile Believe gives the song an earth–quaking physicality and surprisingly universal appeal few pop songs in recent memory can claim. Under neon lights and writhing among other queer bodies, one finds liberation from the oppressive structures of the patriarchy, chanting along “Im–ma–ma–material.” 

- Peyton Toups, Deputy Music Editor


"disco tits" — Tove Lo


Fittingly, the last concert I attended before a night out meant dancing around my bedroom was Tove Lo at the Fillmore. It was also the last time I felt that electric kind of lightness, when going out on a Tuesday night was sexy and fun and not a moral quandary. “disco tits” has always been intoxicating. From the future pop baseline to the irreverent mentions of hard nipples, this Tove Lo track is a mix of subtle camp and polished production. Yes, “disco tits” is admittedly three minutes and 44 seconds of meaningless pre–game background music. But after a year and then some that’s been overflowing with complicated meaning, haven’t we earned something mindless to get fucked up to?

Bea Forman, 34th Street Editor–In–Chief


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