2020 Was The Year Of Dancing By Ourselves As dance floors stood empty, a wide spectrum of dance music transformed bedrooms into clubs, kitchens into discotheques and backyards into glow-stick raves.

2020 Was The Year Of Dancing By Ourselves

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Without clubs, concerts and nights out for most of this year, how did people dance in 2020? NPR Music's Lars Gotrich says...

LARS GOTRICH, BYLINE: I spent a lot of my year dancing in my kitchen and in my living room with my 2-year-old trying to glean some kind of glee out of this time.

SIMON: He felt other people were probably coping in a similar fashion, so Lars put together a list from NPR Music contributors and called it 2020 Was The Year Of Dancing By Ourselves. He included his own favorite song, of course.

GOTRICH: So I personally chose a song called "Tanoshii Kenobi" by Chara and YUKI.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TANOSHII KENOBI")

CHARA AND YUKI: (Singing in Japanese).

GOTRICH: It's very effervescent and bubbly and makes you want to think of summer sunshine and silly drinks.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TANOSHII KENOBI")

CHARA AND YUKI: (Singing in Japanese).

GOTRICH: My favorite thing to do is to string up some really cheap lights and just pretend like I'm in a disco for a night. And, you know, for just, like, three minutes, I can just share that fantasy with my family.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TANOSHII KENOBI")

CHARA AND YUKI: (Singing in Japanese).

MARISSA LORUSSO, BYLINE: My name is Marissa Lorusso, and I am an editor for NPR Music. The song that I chose for the list is "This Is What They Say" by Carly Rae Jepsen.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS WHAT THEY SAY")

CARLY RAE JEPSEN: (Singing) This is what they say.

LORUSSO: And I chose this song because I think it is, like, pure, perfect Carly Rae. It's got that heartache element. It's got that danceable element. It's, like, just the tiniest bit corny but in the way that people really truly are when they are, like, falling in love.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS WHAT THEY SAY")

JEPSEN: (Singing) Feels like - never gonna be the same.

LORUSSO: And it's a very good solo dance party soundtrack.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS IS WHAT THEY SAY")

JEPSEN: (Singing) This is what they say.

LORUSSO: I also think you could be dancing by yourself, like, going for a run in the park and listening to a pump-up song and just, like, thinking about how good that feels. Or you're, like, waiting in line to check out at the grocery store and everyone's wearing masks and it's really crowded in there, but you have headphones in, and you're listening to something that makes you feel really good.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TELEPATHY")

BTS: (Singing in Korean).

CYRENA TOUROS, BYLINE: These are songs to get you out of your head, to put you back in your body.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TELEPATHY")

BTS: (Singing in Korean).

TOUROS: Hi, I'm Cyrena Touros. I'm an NPR music contributor, and I picked BTS's "Telepathy."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TELEPATHY")

BTS: (Singing in Korean).

TOUROS: A lot of good pop music this year applied a low-pass filter, which is what makes a song sound like it's coming from another room or sounds like you're hearing it from underwater. You know, it simulates that feeling of, like, climbing underground to get to a club, and you hear the bass shaking the walls. It elicits that excitement of getting ready for a night out for me.

SIMON: Music critic Ann Powers found herself cooking a lot this year.

ANN POWERS, BYLINE: So you need a little beat to keep you going as you chop the 10,000th onion of your year. And that's where dancing happened for me - completely in the kitchen.

SIMON: She picked a song by Rina Sawayama and Bree Runway.

POWERS: What she's combined in her sound is super-attractive to me as someone who came up with rock 'n' roll and particularly '90s rock because she loves her some grunge, you know? We hear those guitars in her songs, and we hear it in this song which is called "XS."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "XS (BREE RUNWAY REMIX)")

RINA SAWAYAMA: (Singing) And I'm worth it. Gimme just a little bit...

BREE RUNWAY: (Singing) More...

SAWAYAMA: (Singing) ...Little bit of...

RUNWAY: (Singing) Excess.

SAWAYAMA: (Singing) Oh, me. Oh, my.

POWERS: And then Bree's rap adds in a whole element of women's autonomy when she says...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "XS (FEAT. BREE RUNWAY REMIX)")

RUNWAY: (Rapping) It's a ring on my finger. Of course, I said yes. I ain't married to no man. I'm married to success.

POWERS: And I love that.

SIMON: Contributor Elie Levine says this theme of independence is strong in her pick, a song by the Puerto Rican artist Bad Bunny.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YO PERREO SOLA")

NESI: (Singing in Spanish).

ELIE LEVINE, BYLINE: It's about a woman who is totally secure in being single. She attracts plenty of attention, but she doesn't want it, and she definitely doesn't need the attention.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YO PERREO SOLA")

BAD BUNNY: (Singing in Spanish).

SIMON: Endless contributor Star McCown says she understands that.

STAR MCCOWN, BYLINE: Dancing by myself is basically just turning up music in my room and moving around like nobody's watching because no one is watching.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LEVITATING")

DUA LIPA: (Singing) You want me. I want you, baby. My sugarboo, I'm levitating.

MCCOWN: For the list, I picked Dua Lipa's "Levitating."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LEVITATING")

LIPA: (Singing) Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I got you.

SIMON: Which makes her feel...

MCCOWN: Liberation (laughing) - like literally levitating, feeling like you're free.

SIMON: Lars Gotrich agrees.

GOTRICH: It just goes to show you that dance music is extremely personal not only in music but way of movement and being.

SIMON: Kind of like the way I dance along to our theme music written by BJ Leiderman.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LEVITATING")

LIPA: (Singing) I see us written in the stars. We can go wherever, so let's do it now or never. Baby, nothing's ever, ever too far.

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