While Kaiser Chiefs have proved time and times again that they can write the perfect party anthem, the frankly monotonous chorus is what ultimately lets 'How 2 Dance' down.
While the mid-00s indie kings’ recent forays into pop have largely been successful, How 2 Dance sees the Kaiser Chiefs make a disappointingly dull misfire.
Whatever your opinion on them, the Ricky Wilson-led band have undoubtedly created some of the best-known songs of the past two decades on such era-defining albums as 2005’s Employment and 2006’s Yours Truly, Angry Mob. Unfortunately, their new single How 2 Dance is unlikely to become one of them.
Their previous two albums Stay Together and 2019’s Duck have seen the band make a successful transition into more pop-based music. Songs such as Hole in My Soul and Golden Oldies combined a more contemporary sound still mixed with Wilson’s trademark witty lyricism. However this, and all other traces of personality, seem to be completely devoid of this new single.
The verses are by far the song’s strength. A simple tale of leaving anxiety aside to live life to its fullest, it builds and builds to something special. Melodically resembling shades of Taio Cruz’s underappreciated nostalgic bop Dynamite in the best way possible, it almost has all the elements to become a modern party anthem. Unfortunately, the song’s chorus makes it feel like a wasted build-up each time.
Catchy pop songs certainly don’t always need to be reinventing the wheel; sometimes simple is best. However, there really is just nothing that stands out about How 2 Dance whatsoever. It fails to have any sort of real hook too. The chorus’ repetition of ‘tonight I’m gonna teach you how to dance, dance, dance’ feels more like a threat than anything, and becomes needlessly grating upon repeated listens. Ultimately, it lacks any memorable elements for it to protrude amongst the crowd of millions of pop-rock wannabe ‘anthems’ that are released every year.
Released with the intention to be heard at “weddings, on the radio, and in the last remaining indie discos across the land” it is difficult to not hear an almost robotic sense of it being engineered to appeal to as many people as possible, yet at the same time losing any of the cheeky-yet-lovable personality that has been prevalent across the band’s career. The instrumentation is disappointingly bland for the Kaisers too, with disco-esque guitars dominating the soundscape that could have been stripped directly from a multitude of generic chart hits over the last ten years.
Perhaps this is no surprise as the song comes directly with a co-producing credit from disco legend Nile Rodgers, who has lent his hand to many of the UK’s biggest hits across the last decade with the likes of Sigala, Daft Punk, and Pitbull. While his style in the UK charts was a breath of fresh air in the early 2010s with his live-instrumentation-focused production style contrasting with the EDM-heavy landscape, it has never really changed much and gives How 2 Dance a slightly dated feel right upon its release.
While this may be a misfire for the Kaiser Chiefs, they have been one of the most consistent bands around up to this point, so I certainly wouldn’t write their upcoming eighth album off just yet…
How 2 Dance is out now through their self-named independent label, check it out here: