When they write the story of my life, and get to the chapter “When Joe Stopped Going to Clubs”: That chapter will be about when the clubs switched from house (which I already didn’t like) to techno (which I despise). That’s when Joe stopped going to clubs.

Techno AllMusic page

Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys are so ridiculously over the top, they are in their own category of awesome. Their music is the fluffiest kind of dance-pop, their singer can’t sing … but their lyrics are so sad, and angry, and true. “She’s made you/Some kind of laughingstock/Because you dance to disco/And you don’t like rock” pretty much sums up my life ages 11-14.

Pet Shop Boys AllMusic page


Jungle is also known as drum ‘n bass, which a) is a very unimaginative name for a musical style, and b) must be ironic, given that the music is based 100% on synthesizers—not a drum or a bass to be found anywhere. Of course, synthesizers aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a jungle, either. Those wacky Brits.

Jungle AllMusic page

Joy Division/New Order

When my cool coworker Lori made me a “new wave” mixtape in the early 80s, my favorite song on it by far was “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” I guess it makes sense that years later I was rocking out in the clubs to “Bizarre Love Triangle.” (OK, gay boys don’t rock out … but you get the idea.)

Joy Division AllMusic page

New Order AllMusic page


Here’s where I really lost my gay membership card. When my friends and I used to go out regularly (roughly a million years ago), the clubs all played hip-hop and funk. Loved it. After a couple of years, they all switched to house. Hated it. Which is a bit ironic, given my teen love of disco and how closely the two styles are related. On the other hand, I never said I was consistent.

House AllMusic page


You know what’s fun? Sitting on the green at college with your friends singing along to “Birthday” (“singing” = humming during the verses and then screaming out the chorus, which is basically screaming). Also: swan dress. Go Bjork.

Bjork AllMusic page

Sugarcubes AllMusic page