SPIN-DEEP-HOUSE

Keep on Deepin' On: The 40 Best Deep House Tracks of All Time

Blood (and Tears) on the Dance Floor
by SPIN Staff

Way back in the mid-1980s, when the disco gods appeared over the Chicago skyline and proclaimed, "Let there be house," his acolytes responded, "And let it be deep." And it was good.

Slower, moodier, and more sensual than most other club-music forms — heir to disco at its most mirrorball-blissful — deep house has survived for nearly three decades, staying mostly out of the spotlight, consigned to warm-up sets and after-hours reveries. But lately, it has bubbled back to the surface.

This month, the soulful sound scored a No. 1 hit on the U.K. pop charts with Storm Queen's "Look Right Through," a '90s-flavored song by Metro Area's Morgan Geist and busker extraordinaire Damon C. Scott that was first released on Geist's Environ label in 2010. It was a more recent remix from '90s deep-house mainstay MK (Marc Kinchen), and a summer's worth of heavy club play, that finally pushed it to the top slot, on the back of MK's recent success with remixes for Lana Del Rey, Sky Ferreira, and Disclosure.

"Look Right Through" wasn't a fluke. Duke Dumont's "Need U (100%)," another U.K. No. 1, has logged more than 17 million plays on YouTube; its plunging bass line and sub-aquatic keyboard stabs are direct descendants of Kerri Chandler's deep-diving take on New Jersey garage. Disclosure, the year's biggest dance-pop crossover success story, draw heavily from the deep-house playbook in their lanky grooves and woozy atmospheres. Behind them, there's a veritable groundswell of deep-house revivalists: Jamie Jones, Maya Jane Coles, Breach, Dixon and the Innervisions crew, Axel Boman, Hot Since 82 — even Bloc Party's Kele Okereke has plunged into the full-fathom sound.

In fact, 21 of Beatport's current Top 100 tracks are tagged as deep house. That doesn't make it the most popular genre on the site, but after big-room electro house, it's tied for second place with progressive house, and boasts a stronger chart presence than tech house (14 tracks), house (12), indie dance (four), and techno and trance (two apiece). Remember dubstep? That particular wub-genre doesn't have a single song in the Top 100.

A few years ago, that would have been unthinkable; deep house's moody pulses were drowned out in a cacophony of lasers and jackhammers and drops. But deep house's deliberately low profile is beginning to bear out the old meek-will-inherit-the-earth maxim.

Why now? In part, it's a reaction to the ubiquity of EDM at its most garish and bottle-serviced. Warm, moody, sometimes hesitant, and often melancholic, deep house is the antithesis of mainstream EDM's harder/faster/stronger ethos, that capitalist ego-topia fueled by cheap presets and dodgy Molly, hell-bent on success. Deep house is contradictory, wracked with doubt, so full of blue notes it bleeds indigo. It's pro-sadness on the dance floor; pro-pathos in the mix.

Ironically, the success of deep house as an alternative to big-tent EDM has helped it creep towards the mainstream. Pete Tong's "Essential New Tune" selections increasingly lean toward deep house breakout stars like Jamie Jones and Richy Ahmet, while the rest of his show favors crossover cornballs like Afrojack and Avicii; even trance grandmaster Tiësto now has a weekly deep house radio show on Sirius XM.

We'll be the first to admit that some of the attention has been misplaced. A lot of what gets flogged as deep house right now isn't really worthy of the name; it's mid-tempo, pop-dance fare with a 2-step twist, or it's snoozy, monotone background music tailor-made for SEO plays on YouTube channels emblazoned with soft-lit hipster cheesecake. In fact, "deep house" itself is a retrospective term; in their heyday, many of the first songs in the canon were simply considered "house," full stop. It was only later that a style assembled itself around the template those originators had set.

So what classifies as deep house today? Some basic guidelines: The four-to-the-floor pulse is imbued with a suggestive bit of shuffle and swing, with accents on the two and four. The grooves are more restrained than techno's, leaning back rather than barreling forward. The tempo generally runs between 118 and 125 beats per minute, although there are many outliers. More than anything, deep house is rich in harmony and atmosphere, buoyant as a jellyfish, bursting with lush textures and phosphorescent tones. Taking the definition of deep house at its most elastic, we've selected 40 songs that trace its evolution across 27 years, one inky chord at a time. PHILIP SHERBURNE

HEAD TO SPIN TO CONTINUE READING THE LIST

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'Queen Sono' Will Be The First African Original Series To Stream On Netflix

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Titled Queen Sono, actress Pearl Thusi (pictured above at the 2019 Global Citizens festival) will star in the dramedy which finds Thusi portraying a spy motivated to help the lives of her South Africans, while dealing with highs and lows of a personal relationship.

Netflix's Vice President of International Originals Kelly Luegenbiehl who's in charge of content in Europe and Africa expressed excitement over Queen Sono.

"We love the team behind the show, [and] we're passionate about coming in and doing something that feels fresh and different. It's really exciting for us," she said. "Their point of view and creating a strong female character was really something that also really drew us to it.

Erik Barmack, also with Netflix, said Queen Sono is just the first of many to depict life in Africa.

"Over time our roots will get deeper in Africa and South Africa, and we're moving pretty quickly to that now, and plan to invest more in local content," he said.

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Fans Shut Down Beyonce Cultural Appropriation Allegations

Beyonce is the latest celebrity to be accused of cultural appropriation after she was spotted at an Indian wedding on Sunday (Dec. 9). Despite some assertions, the BeyHive is swooping in to set the record straight about their queen.

According to reports, Beyonce performed at an early wedding celebration in India's western Rajasthan state. She was celebrating the nuptials of Isha Ambani – the 27-year old daughter of Reliance Industries head Mukesh Ambani – and Anand Piramal, the 33-year old son of another Indian billionaire.

 

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A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Dec 9, 2018 at 11:47am PST

The early festivities, which is custom for Indian marriages, welcomed a handful of celebrity guests including Hillary Clinton, Bollywood stars, businessman, and more.

The controversy surrounding Beyonce sparked after the singer shared an image of herself wearing an extravagant, pink and gold dress with seemingly traditional, Indian accessories, including a headpiece and bracelets. Some critics immediately assumed Bey was culturally appropriating Indian or Hindi culture, but suggested it would go unnoticed due to her social status.

Fans however, shut the allegations down, noting that she was actually paying homage to the culture. They also stated that she was invited to perform at the party by a prominent Indian family and therefore, should be dressed appropriately.

This wouldn't be the first time Beyonce has been accused of cultural appropriation of Indian culture. She was hit with similar allegations following the release of the music video for "Hymn for the Weekend" with Coldplay.

Join the discussion and check out the debate below.

Screaming!!!!! pic.twitter.com/nTLSWeRhGJ

— lah-juh (@fabuLaja) December 10, 2018

why are fake wokes on twitter accusing beyonce for doing cultural appropriation ? IT'S APPRECIATION YOU MFs !! y'all don't know shit about indian culture !! literally sit tf down, even indians aren't mad why are you dumbasses shoving it down our throats as if yall know better

— anupama (@taysmoonchiId) December 9, 2018

Beyonce wearing Indian clothes to an Indian Cultural Event is not cultural appropriation. She was invited by an Indian family and everyone there is wearing Indian clothes. So. https://t.co/mTvsa911i4

— Ivan (@taexty) December 10, 2018

As someone who is half-Indian and half-Pakistani (aka fully South Asian for those who are not geographically inclined), I do not want to see ANYONE shouting nonsense about Beyoncé and cultural appropriation unless you are South Asian too. Thanks for coming to my TED Talk x

— Shehnaz Khan (@shehnazkhan) December 10, 2018

Ppl commenting on @Beyonce’s IG Indian outfit post, saying it was cultural appropriation, need to have a seat. Embracing another’s culture and shedding positivity on it is not cultural appropriation, it is cultural appreciation. Damn keyboard warriors

— Ramon Salas (@ramonssalas) December 10, 2018

Beyoncé was invited to an indian wedding, to perform there, she's appreciating the culture and the people that invited her There's no cultural appropriation here

— 🅚 (@chainedfenty) December 10, 2018

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Tyrese, Usher And Others Reacts To Jacquees' Claim That He's The King Of R&B

Jacquees has made a bold statement that's ruffled a few feathers.

The Cash Money artist took to social media over the weekend to assert that he's the king of R&B, and from what we can gather, the 23 singer wasn't talking about ribs and barbeque. "I just want to let everybody know that I'm the king of R&B right now, for this generation. I understand who done came and who done did that and that, but now it's my turn. Jacquees, the king." he said.

Some of the Internet raised its digital eyebrow at the boast, while others paid it no attention. Tyrese, however, didn't take kindly to the assertation.

"Ima keep it stack with you," the Transformers star posted. "The young kings of this generation that's been running sh*t since day one are Chris Brown and Trey Songz."

The soul singer continued and accused the Decatur, GA native of employing Tekashi 6ix 9ine tactics. "You got this out of the Tekashi 6ix9ine playbook. Stop trolling, my ni**a. Get back in the booth."

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How Sway..? How.??......... The way we ALL reacted.......... Let me put you up on what’s really movin bruh.. This ain’t Hip Hop my nigha.. You can’t come in this game get hot for a year then try an #T69 nighas and throw that there word #KING around..... Imma keep it a stack with you... The young kings of your generation that’s #been runnin shit is 1 @chrisbrownofficial and 2 @treysongz .... BIG facts! FYI the last real R&B album through and through that has the integrity and blueprint of the culture that was made with NO skips was #ThreeKings you got this out of the T69 play book stop trolling my nigha get back in the booth.....

A post shared by TYRESE (@tyrese) on Dec 9, 2018 at 11:25pm PST

Tank, having gotten wind of Jacquees' statements, refuted his "king" claim. "First, R.Kelly is the king of R&B. The accusations don't disqualify what he's accomplished. Second, if you can't go in the studio by yourself and make a hit record, you're not my king. If you can't sing it better live, you're not my king. I appreciate all the talent out there, but we are using the word "king" too loosely."

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Every artist is supposed to believe they can fly but only one man made it happen. @rkelly body of work is still bible. I love ALL of the artist out now and some are having amazing success but to be the King you have to beat the King and his stats still stand. Imagine if “I Believe I Can Fly” had streaming when it dropped..geesh!!! I’ll let you guys focus on kings and queens.. I’ll stay focused on being around for another 20yrs! #Elevation #RnBMoney #TheGeneral

A post shared by Tank (@therealtank) on Dec 9, 2018 at 9:56pm PST

J. Holiday noted that Michael Jackson sold 20 million after the release of Off The Wall, and said R.Kelly owns the second spot. Eric Bellinger, while in the studio with Usher, simply panned his camera phone to Usher, who sat quietly in a corner.

Are Tyrese and Tank overreacting? Or should Jacquees not make such bold assertions? Sound off in the comments below.

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