“A Music Critic Unpacks the Deeper Meaning of ‘Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)’ by C+C Music Factory,” by Luke Roloff

Feb 10th, 2021 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Picture a factory. No, not like that. Like a mega metronome fueled by space and time. Billowing smokestacks ascend into the ethers, releasing sonorous aphorisms born of byzantine soothsayers. Turning cogs crank such a hyper neo sea change that your atmosphere reverts to primordial Babylon. There, can you see it now? This is the C+C Music Factory. And from it emerges a cultural watershed of postmodern lovelorn concinnity, filled with the ossified institution of our human condition. Or in other words, I’m a very smart person who’s now going to explain music to you.

The vanguard title track “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” is dripping in contra ambiguity, forcing us to excogitate: is this song about sweating, or, is this about dancing? And it’s only by digging deeper, much deeper, deeper than your plebeian little brain is capable of, like I did, does one unearth that this binary anthem is about sweating AND dancing. Try and keep up.

Everybody dance now! / Everybody dance now! / Give me the music / Give me the music / Everybody dance now! / Give me the music / Everybody dance now! / Everybody dance now! / Yeah! / Yeah! / Everybody dance now! / Yeah! / Yeah! / Yeah! / Everybody

Here we see this zeitgeist odyssey is de facto a nonpareil panacea of docollopango (A word I invented just now). C+C Music Factory songwriters Williams and Clivellés demonstratively unspool a hexing verisimilitude (That one has six syllables) in this rococo obbligato. Though laced with vivid innuendo and social undercurrents, you can’t help but wonder, just who exactly is this “everybody?” What the hell? See, not so easy to understand music.

Guys grab a girl, don’t wait, make her twirl / It’s your world and I’m just a squirrel / Tryin’ to get a nut to move your butt

In the transient autumn of 1963, American novelist Bernard Malamud poignantly wrote, “We have two lives…the one we learn with and the life we live after that.” Prose that couldn’t be more apropos here. The verse “Tryin’ to get a nut to move your butt” is the assimilation of nuanced dharma and black arts doctrine, strained through a colander of modern judo society. Duh. You look in the mirror, mollify your besotted simulacrum, and pretend to dance with the girl you have a crush on, but they don’t even know you exist. I got a lit degree from Harvard.

Everybody dance now / Everybody dance now! / Everybody dance now!

This thwarting vox populi is more than poetry, it’s a peyote retreat to South America that leaves you broke and alone, thinking back to your junior high dance, to the moment when this song first hit the airwaves and everybody hit the dancefloor. An out of body experience; as if I was watching myself from afar; because I was; sitting on the side; nervous sweating; imagining myself dancing with Isabella Puckerton. Listen, I’m trying to explain this to you in a way that you’ll understand. Have you ever used five semicolons in a row? That’s what I thought.

It’s gonna make you sweat ’til you bleed / Is that dope enough, indeed

Just as the Romans built the pantheon, CCMF too wrestle with legacy and cosmic disarm, idiot. A subtext of rank and consequence between four brothers who are far more successful, and good looking, and better at basketball. Basically, a euphemism for if you don’t make the team, it doesn’t mean you aren’t special. In fact, it means you can learn the trumpet, and get all sweaty playing it at the basketball games. And Isabella’s the cheerleader.

Get on the floor and get raw / Then come back and upside down

The center point of art and science is a rhomboid that has no axis, only a baby’s rattle and laser’s heat. With this verse CCMF lobotomize the upside-down world where sin ruled for millennia. Ergo, if Aristotle laid the groundwork, CCMF built the night club where you have to stand in line forever and never get inside. Though Isabella’s inside, probably grinding on someone from the football team.

Everybody dance now! / Everybody dance now! / Everybody dance now! / Everybody dance now!

What does it mean to “dance?” Is this anthropologic ritual truly for “everybody”? Were entire Mesopotamian villages fanning their asses, halcyon day after halcyon day? Isabella, if you’re reading this, where do you live? I’ll come to you. Like a Nordic crow piercing the vermilion sky. Then it’ll be time for dancing. Okay?

Concordantly, if one uses their imagination and is able to blow things out of proportion, like I have, you may come to truly understand the most misunderstood hit of all time. But I doubt it.

6.2 STARS OUT OF 10. 

PS: Isabella, can you leave your number in the comments section?


Luke Roloff is currently one of the people in LA. Also, he has written things on the Internet before. For money, he helps make advertisements so that you know what to buy. Pray for Luke.

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.