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In serious music circles “pop” can be a four-letter word, but pop is simply music that doesn’t pretend to be about anything more than happiness, and so it’s no coincidence that so many of our happiest memories are inescapably intertwined with pop music. The song that was playing at that 8th grade dance when you finally worked up the courage to hold her hand? It was pop. The song that you danced to with all your high school buddies at your best friend’s wedding? It was pop. The song that seemed to be playing out of every car during that amazing summer vacation in L.A.? You guessed it, pop music.
It’s no accident then that WALK THE MOON’s first big hit song was titled “Shut Up & Dance.” A four-man band from Ohio, WALK THE MOON formed in 2008 and first popped up on the national radar with 2011’s energetically nostalgic “Anna Sun,” a song that would end up on many critics Best of the Year lists. “Anna Sun” also set the blueprint for WALK THE MOON’s sound and look, straight-ahead dance rock that wasn’t afraid of using synthesizers, neon colors and, perhaps most importantly, a huge cast of family and friends willing to dance their hearts out in their music videos.
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The success of “Anna Sun” landed WALK THE MOON a major label deal with RCA and a chance to really define their mission and hone their skills, releasing a self-titled album and perhaps most importantly playing an avalanche of festivals and live shows. Those live shows, where they got to see crowd reactions in real time, got to test and measure out which bass lines and hooks got people moving, were invaluable experiences that they poured into their 2014 album, Talking is Hard. This is the album that contained the single “Shut Up & Dance,” a song that currently has a staggering 145 million views.
And so while it’s easy to listen to “Shut Up & Dance” and think a song like that was easy to make, a longer and closer look at WALK THE MOON reveals that it often takes years of work and dedication before a band figures out how to craft that perfect pop hit. In many ways creating a sprawling, adventurous magnum opus is easier than crafting the perfect five-word hook that can fit a melody exactly, that can unite thousands if not millions of people in feeling the desire to sing along and get on their feet.
So by all means, feel free to enjoy WALK THE MOON without thinking of any of this. After all, it’s the feeling in their music that makes that music so powerful. But hopefully after reading this even the serious music connoisseur can feel comfortable just shutting up and dancing, and when they are in the mood to get their dance on, they can find WALK THE MOON’s video-on-demand show on go90.
Go on, enjoy. After all, what more could we ask from music than to make us feel happy?
[Image via Instagram.]