Top 10 Sacred Songs of Chicago House Music
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Some of our best memories include the electronic sounds from this genre of music, whether it is the untz played in festivals or the rapid hi-hats heard in clubs. Chicago House Music was born from the music of disco, homemade beats, European synth, 1970s soul, and it was created by DJs on drum machines and synthesizers.
However, the late DJ and producer, Frankie Knuckles, brought this genre into worldwide recognition, so in honor of this artist and the many others who brought attention to this genre, we would like to spotlight their songs and explain what each of them provided to this acid trip that is Chicago House music:
Marshall Jefferson “MOVE YOUR BODY” (1986)
If there was ever a Chicago House anthem, this would be it. Starting out on the rapid hits of a drum set, this song will immediately get your blood pumping and have you in the mood to groove. Its meta lyrics, “Lost in house music where I wanna be/It’s gonna set you free,” echo the listener’s own heady experience and will have you feeling more immersed in a song than you’ve ever been.
Sleezy D “I’VE LOST CONTROL” (1986)
This song is anything but sane – with its thunderous vocals that are quickly followed by the bellows of a mysterious man’s laughter – but that’s what you’ll love about it. Uncanny, dark, and experimental, “I’ve Lost Control” is praised for its utter dissonance.
Unfortunately, Sleezy D never gave us another song to throw our souls into, since he preferred anonymity and slipped away from the spotlight.
Ron Trent “ALTERED STATES” (1992)
“Altered States” is an absolute banger. Its frenetic atmosphere brings you to a whole nother realm and has you floating above consciousness. Whether Ron Trent was under the influence of drugs or his own artistry while making this piece, this song shows us what Chicago House Music is meant to be.
And for all those type A’s, it may make your day (or maybe set you on a wicked work binge) to know that Ron Trent first recorded this song while still in high school.
Green Velvet “Preacher Man” (1999)
Preacher Man is an acid attack, riot house; its singer comes at you with surprising evangelical punchlines spouting about “babies making babies!” and “we’re still playing catch a girl, kiss a girl but the rules have changed…. You don’t have to just kiss the girl. A kiss AIN’T ENOUGH!” Talk about intense, this sample of Aretha Franklin’s father, Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, overlaid on tweaking acid sounds may have you wondering why you’re jiving to a sermon and seeing the holy light at the end of the night.
Rhythm Is Rhythm “Strings of Life” (1987)
It is thanks to the Detroit DJ Rhythm is Rhythm (i.e Derrick May) that we have what is now known as techno. His early music was mainly instrumental but intentionally made to sound machine-made, and, in this way, “Strings of Life,” compares: its hi-hats and untz are as cold and industrial as the machinery it mimics.
Jamie Principle “Your Love” (1986)
Unlike many of the songs on this list with their quaking, frenzied beats, Principle’s recording of “Your Love” is richer in sound and falls on the ears like a lover’s kiss. In a way, the song seems to be built upon everything that Chicago House music isn’t: a more conventional, smooth tune that likens itself to what the Europeans were making back in the day.
Frankie Knuckles feat. Jamie Principle “Baby Wants to Ride” (1987)
It’s difficult to put to words and pin down what this song is other than masterful, but if I had to try, I would say that a piece like this doesn’t come around too often. “Baby Wants to Ride” is an unexpected and overwhelmingly beautiful work of art that pieces together seemingly disparate themes of Christianity and S&M transcendence. In other words, Frankie Knuckles and Jamie Principle came to conquer with this piece. And conquer they did, while plunging us into this wild ride of a song
A Guy Called Gerald “Voodoo Ray” (1988)
If you’re looking for a song to rise above the dregs and to transcend this life to be welcomed into the next, you found yourself in the right place with A Guy Called Gerald’s (aka Gerald Rydel Simpson) “Voodoo Ray.”
The dreamy winding vocals and spunky acid unite to form a euphoric track that dominates many and will leave you wanting to roam and get lost in the raves, during the witching hour.
Larry Heard Presents Mr. White “The Sun Can’t Compare” (2006)
Quixotic and surprisingly endearing, “The Sun Can’t Compare” gets you bobbing your head to its pulsing beats and has you wanting a lover to profess his passion and profound ideas of you in various metaphors involving wonders of the universe.
The song has also made quite an impression amongst DJs since everyone from Ellen Allien to Julio Bashmore has played it in their tracks.
Model 500 “No UFO’s” (1985)
Similar to “Strings of Life,” Techno Pro Model 500 made this spacey prototype with a decidedly different sound in mind than that of the usual Chicago House tracks of the 80s. Think A.I.s attempting their own tunes, while backed by a gravely, robotic voice. While a bit unnerving at first, this song grows on you and has you popping, locking, and dancing like no one’s watching.
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