The pandemic disco
Trauma and hope during the COVID-19 crisis
Keywords:COVID-19, Queer, Disco, AIDS, Archive
The COVID-19 crisis has brought unprecedented disruption to the social and economic status quo and has redefined music culture. The sudden shift from a collective to an exclusively private music experience has undoubtedly changed both the market and listening practices. Live shows and club culture have been suspended. However, while disco clubs remain closed, private apartments become the only possible dancefloor. Surprisingly, nostalgic disco albums have been very popular among listeners during the past coronavirus year. Artists like Dua Lipa, Jessie Ware, Róisín Murphy and Kylie Minogue have presented disco utopias that have carried the listeners into a world before pandemic. Although disco albums are full of joyful synthesizer sounds, they also resonate with trauma from the past. At their core we can find traces of another epidemic that never came to an end: the HIV/AIDS epidemic. My goal is to show continuity between musical responses to different pandemics and to interpret the side effects of the (pre) COVID disco nostalgia, which, while giving hope, reminds us that HIV/AIDS is not yet a closed case.
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