Top 100 Artists of the Decade: #76 The Rapture
The Top 100 Artists of the Decade list will be posted over the course of 100 days. On September 23rd, we will post one artist and continue every day until December 31st, when we will unveil our #1 artist of the decade!
Please read our introduction to learn about our nominating and ordering process.
#76 The Rapture
I never had the proverbial cool older brother to show me what music to listen to, but I had Ryan, this kid who was a year older than me and in the same PE class. One day, he came to school wearing a bright green shirt that had “Get yourself together shake shake shake shake shake” written on it and thrust a burned copy of Out of the Races and Onto the Tracks into my hands. The phrase “dance-punk” was not as pervasive a term yet, but it was as good a description as any of The Rapture’s music: mangled, jerky guitars, sped-up disco bass lines and hi-hat rhythms, with a singer whose caterwauling could be likened to the cracked-out love child of Tom Verlaine and Jack White. God, it was great.
For better or worse, The Rapture became the posterboys of dance-punk when they came out with the 12 inch "House of Jealous Lovers,” which became the song of the summer and gave us all hope that this dance-punk thing could become something more substantial than a bunch of recycled Gang of Four riffs. Then Echoes finally came out, delivering on the enormous amount of hype that “House of Jealous Lovers” generated. The DFA handled production duties, and cleaned up the band’s scratchy brand of post-punk and tempered their erratic qualities with slick dance beats and fluid bass lines. Echoes did what every great album does - establish a standard for which future albums of the same ilk be judged by. Consequently, rock venues started filling up with people dancing again and enjoying themselves, while label rosters started filling up with countless imitators.
Of course, dance-punk never went anywhere, and the backlash was swift and brutal. As the most recognizable band of the “genre,” The Rapture never really got to establish themselves as mainstays, and took three years to deliver their follow-up, Pieces of the People We Love. Refining their sound, they came back to us as less of a dance-punk band and more a muscular dance band. Despite the album’s more streamlined and polished approach, the band’s energy and exuberance was apparent enough to let them brush the dirt off their collective shoulder and forge ahead. The Rapture may always be categorized with the other dance-punk or disco-punk or electro-punk or indie-dance bands, but if that’s the case, they will at least go down as the best one, or the one that could actually make us dance.