The sultry vocals of Amy Winehouse are instantly recognizable and the melodies of her smash hit Dance, feat. Samba, are instantly infectious. This high energy pop/dance number from the album Dance, Vol. 2 is sure to top the charts once again, proving once again, just why this song is so popular with audiences around the world. With a fast paced instrumental and some of Samba’s finest vocal notes to date, “Dance” is set to take the top spot once again on the UK singles chart. It’s a surefire top three hit on all major UK music charts, but is it the year’s best?
While Dance, Vol. 2 doesn’t hold a candle to the first single, it does continue to evolve and take the tune to new levels. This is easily due to its viral hit status. A video released in January called “Take Me Away” featuring Remy, Dot Da Genius and Lil Wayne was one of the most viral videos to ever hit the web. The video features each band members performing a choreographed routine in the middle of an extremely packed studio. In less than a minute, it went viral setting the bar for what would become one of the biggest break dance singles of all time.
As the song begins, we can hear Remy’s voice over the megaphone as he sings, “My name is Cashmere, born in Kyoto, Japan” then doing a twirl of his wand in the air as he sings, “I’m a monkey with no wings / I’m dancing through the rain like a monkeys.” It’s easy to see the similarities to Samba’s infamous “ravishing high” dance move from “Loverazil” from the soundtrack to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. But where the original touches on pop culture and dance moves, Dance, Vol. 2 takes things to a much more athletic level. The first started when Remy and his friends did a routine in the park as children before their move to Tokyo, this second installment takes it to a new level.
The real name of the song is “Dancing With The Monkey,” which was the name of the real dancer who originated the dance. His real name is Byron Bay and he was a local entertainer who performed with a troupe called the Monkey Corps. Bay made several appearances on television in both Japan and the United States as a children’s entertainer. In fact, one of his memorable TV shows was a children’s musical called “The Boy Who Played With The Muppets” as well as a series of video shorts that debuted on Nickelodeon in the United States. Though his real name is not mentioned on the cover of this Vol. 2 songs, the fans who recognize him as Byron Bay knows him better as Dance Monkey.
As for the music in this version of the dance, it seems like it could be a huge leap from the smooth jazz style rhythms of most of Bay’s previous songs, most notably “Reckless and Wild.” This version does sound a little bit like “Reckless and Wild” in that it’s fast paced and contains a strong beat. The difference is that the tempo is much faster and the music flows together better in this song. The female artist, on the other hand, provides the perfect backup vocals to help the dance between the male and female artists go smoothly.
While this isn’t my favorite of Bay’s songs (that honor goes to the equally popular “Reckless and Wild” from the second album) I can say that I’ve personally found this to be a very enjoyable song. The energy between the lead vocalist and the lead guitar is great and the rhythms of the song just aren’t typical. I’m also quite confident in saying that listening to this song has given me some confidence in myself as well as my abilities as a dancer. In short, while it may not have the popularity of past Dance Monkey songs, it is still a strong contender for my personal favorite dance with the band.