The big single from Genesis’ second-worst album was “I Can’t Dance”. It’s not a song that I’m going to defend; I guess it’s kind of catchy but it’s a gimmick that didn’t really suit the respectable smart-pop niche the band had carved out for themselves after the departure of Peter Gabriel. But it did draw one universal truth from the zeitgeist – white boys can’t dance.
I count myself among the “can’t dance” fraternity. I can live with that secret shame. At least I have the quiet dignity to not display my dance suckitude to others in public places. My dance moves make Elaine Benes look like Jennifer Lopez. So I can’t in good faith list a song that I can dance to. Lots of songs make me want to dance (“War” by Edwin Starr, “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, even something newer like “Out There on the Ice” by Cut Copy). But the wires in my cerebral cortex connecting the ‘music’ region to the ‘dancing’ region have apparently atrophied beyond all repair.
Although I can’t dance, I have found over the years that certain songs do make me walk faster out on the trails. A lot faster. I have vivid memories of listening to LCD Soundsystem’s “Get Innocuous!” on one of the river valley trails last summer. I was flying. Rubber pounded pavement, and I was blowing by people left & right. Despite going up a 5% grade, at one point I think I passed a guy on a bike.
There’s something about the beat and metronomic rhythms of certain songs that do seem to be wired to my walking motor functions. “Get Innocuous!” is the first track on the 2007 record Sound of Silver. The whole album is brilliant; it’s like Kraftwerk for the 21st century, infused with a tongue-in-cheek alt-rock manifesto.
Pretty much the entire LCD Soundsystem canon is great for walking. When it isn’t pee-inducingly ironic and funny, it’s often crushingly heartfelt and human.
Epilogue: the worst Genesis album, by a mile, is Calling All Stations. To this day, I still want Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks to give me my fifteen bucks back.