Getting on the good foot got a little harder last week with the deaths of three important dance-music stars: disco queen Donna Summer, go-go godfather Chuck Brown and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees. Each leaves behind a legacy of exuberance, even as their passing demands a moment of reflection. In that spirit, here are five heavy-hearted dance tunes.
Junior Boys, "Birthday"
"You've gone and then you missed my birthday," Jeremy Greenspan mumbles in this typically forlorn (but icily beautiful) number by his Canadian electro-pop duo. For Junior Boys, the dance floor is just one more place to be alone.
Robyn, "Dancing on My Own"
That sentiment reaches full miserable flower here, with Robyn eyeing her crush across the room as he cuts the rug with another. "I'm right over here," she implores over an increasingly desperate groove, "Why can't you see me?"
ABBA, "The Winner Takes It All"
The Swedish popmeisters' early-'80s tear-jerker starts out small, narrating the demise of a relationship. By the end, though, Agnetha Fältskog is lamenting injustice on a grand scale: "The judges will decide / The likes of me abide."
Michael Jackson, "She's Out of My Life"
This ballad from Jackson's disco-era "Off the Wall" contains what might be the most vulnerable vocal performance in his catalog. Beware the voice crack in the outro -- it's a killer.
Pet Shop Boys, "Beautiful People"
Given a lush orchestral sweep by the brilliant U.K. production team Xenomania, the Pet Shop Boys' 2009 single sounds like a dream. But its lyric -- about the lie of consumer-culture perfection -- turns the music melancholy.
-- Mikael Wood
Photos: Robin Gibb, Chuck Brown and Donna Summer. (Credits: Gibb - Patrick Kovarik / AFP/Getty Images; Brown - Jason Moore / Zuma Press/MCT; Summer - Jeff Christensen / Reuters)