High Variance

A Third Wave of Awesome

I went to college in the late 1980’s, and my school was just close enough to NYC for the radio stations to play a lot of what was “hot” in the “hot” clubs in the city. And that was a Latin-infused pop dance music called freestyle. It was awesome:

I even used my fake ID to see Sweet Sensation perform live in Albany. After graduation, I moved to DC where (Indie Rock was king) and only heard freestyle driving through NYC on my way to and from Boston. The genre died out in NYC just a few years later.1

Amazing dance music came into my life again in 2003 when 103.1 FM in Los Angeles started calling itself KDL and playing “Dance Hits.” Instead of building on a Latin groove, they injected what seemed to me to be pure European pop trance directly into unsuspecting American ears.

I was obsessed and then devastated when KDL went off the air after less than a year. And I wasn’t the only one–there’s a “KDL Resurrected” YouTube playlist containing 133 videos that now has 1,607 views! That number would likely be hundreds bigger if almost all the videos had not been removed due to copyright violations.

And so we come to today. I like Pink, and Maroon 5 and Katy Perry as much as anybody, but I’m ready for some fresh pop blood. In just the last two days I’ve heard these three super catchy and extremely danceable songs on the radio:

Lets all cross our fingers that this is just the beginning.


  1. Genres never actually die–they just leave popular consciousness. This year Stevie B rerecorded Spring Love with Pit Bull, and I’m not sure anyone noticed.