For today’s Song of the Day, I decided to take a trip down memory lane. And this, of course, consisted of reviewing my top songs of 2018 and 2017 on Spotify. After some browsing and hemming and hawing, I finally settled on one of my favorites by The New Pornographers.
“Dancehall Domine” comes off of The New Pornographers’ sixth studio album, “Brill Bruisers”, released in 2014. I still remember when this album first came out. My roommate at the time ordered the vinyl, and let me download the digital version included. Then a few months later we saw them live in Chicago. Let me tell you, if you’re looking for a fun time, go see The New Pornographers live.
“Dancehall Domine” is the tenth out of the thirteen songs on “Brill Bruisers”. And it’s one of my favorites because it’s 1) a fun, catchy song, and, b) pokes fun at all the other indie bands that have written songs about dancing, which I find amusing. Also, I thought for the longest time that the solo was a weirdly-distorted guitar, and became obsessed with it, because it sounds so cool. When I saw them live, however, I found out that it’s actually a synth. Go figure.
The song describes the ‘dancehall domine” (or, ‘dance master’), and is more or less pretty straight-forward. Although, for The New Pornographers, straight-forward can still be pretty cryptic. Take these two verses, for example.
“They love you with the lights on / Turn them on or don’t bother / Never been so loved but you’re handling it well, lover / Just like every idea was to be like no other”
“They love you with the lights on / Defeated, delighted / Never say the right thing / So keep it excited / You don’t have to brave the line / No, they’re letting you right in”.
And the chorus is almost equally cryptic. But I guess the important thing is that they call the dancehall domine.
“What we call the dancehall domine / Embedded, indebted, don’t let it / No never let it be said / We call the dancehall domine / You’re covered in credits, don’t let it / No never let it be said”.
In an interview with Songs For Whoever, songwriter and vocalist Carl Newman breaks down “Dancehall Domine”. “The ‘dancehall domine’ is somebody who controls the dance floor. It’s sort of ironic, I was just thinking of how indie bands were singing about dancing. I thought it was funny to just continue that theme of white indie rock guys singing about being the best dancer.”