10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The first Chic album in 26 years kicks off with “Till the World Falls,” featuring the line, “The world has gone mad/We might be safer on the dance floor.” “If this were a film—and that’s how I look at albums—you get plot points,” Nile Rodgers tells Apple Music. “Plot point one is that, right now, the world is not the loving, wonderful place I thought it would be by the year 2018, so the lyrics are semi-apocalyptic.” But don’t panic: Despite battling cancer for much of the past decade, the high priest of dance music hasn't gone maudlin on us; tough times are all the more reason to be jubilant. “Fun is always at the heart of everything I do,” he says. “And we had nothing but fun making this record. Nothing has been a drag.”

This agile fusion of funk, disco, and R&B owes its cross-Atlantic cast list to its author’s fondness for a certain iconic studio. “It started out with Anderson .Paak calling me, and he didn’t know that I had Abbey Road sort of on lockdown,” he says. .Paak was promptly sequestered to West London, with Bruno Mars soon joining them. “Then I started thinking, ‘Well, I’m in the UK—why not work with British artists?'"

And so, here you find a regal Lady Gaga turn (“I Want Your Love”) nestled up against East London funk/soul up-and-comer NAO accessing her inner disco queen on “Boogie All Night.” “I love NAO’s voice,” Rodgers says. “It’s so unique and so special. I would start singing notes at her and she’d look at me like I’m crazy. Any riff or any idea I would throw at her, she wound up being down.” As a whole, the album is an unashamed, totally irresistible example of what he has built his storied career on: celebration. “If I wasn’t learning and having a good time, I wouldn’t do it,” he says. “My history is already written. I do this, really, because I love it.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

The first Chic album in 26 years kicks off with “Till the World Falls,” featuring the line, “The world has gone mad/We might be safer on the dance floor.” “If this were a film—and that’s how I look at albums—you get plot points,” Nile Rodgers tells Apple Music. “Plot point one is that, right now, the world is not the loving, wonderful place I thought it would be by the year 2018, so the lyrics are semi-apocalyptic.” But don’t panic: Despite battling cancer for much of the past decade, the high priest of dance music hasn't gone maudlin on us; tough times are all the more reason to be jubilant. “Fun is always at the heart of everything I do,” he says. “And we had nothing but fun making this record. Nothing has been a drag.”

This agile fusion of funk, disco, and R&B owes its cross-Atlantic cast list to its author’s fondness for a certain iconic studio. “It started out with Anderson .Paak calling me, and he didn’t know that I had Abbey Road sort of on lockdown,” he says. .Paak was promptly sequestered to West London, with Bruno Mars soon joining them. “Then I started thinking, ‘Well, I’m in the UK—why not work with British artists?'"

And so, here you find a regal Lady Gaga turn (“I Want Your Love”) nestled up against East London funk/soul up-and-comer NAO accessing her inner disco queen on “Boogie All Night.” “I love NAO’s voice,” Rodgers says. “It’s so unique and so special. I would start singing notes at her and she’d look at me like I’m crazy. Any riff or any idea I would throw at her, she wound up being down.” As a whole, the album is an unashamed, totally irresistible example of what he has built his storied career on: celebration. “If I wasn’t learning and having a good time, I wouldn’t do it,” he says. “My history is already written. I do this, really, because I love it.”

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About Nile Rodgers & Chic

Though he rarely takes center stage, Chic cofounder Nile Rodgers has had a deeper impact on popular music than most of its marquee stars. Born in The Bronx in 1952, he got his start as a session guitarist while still a teenager, touring with the road show for Sesame Street, then joined the house band at Harlem’s legendary Apollo Theater, where he backed the likes of Aretha Franklin and Parliament-Funkadelic. During his session gigs, he met his future musical partner, bassist Bernard Edwards, and, inspired by British art-rock pioneers Roxy Music, they formed Chic—a band with an image as dialed-in as its sleek grooves would suggest. While Chic's biggest songs—“Le Freak,” “Good Times,” “I Want Your Love”—would define disco in the late ’70s, and continue to shape dance music for decades to follow, Rodgers concurrently established himself as a heavyweight songwriter and producer, collaborating with Edwards on huge hits for other artists, including Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” and Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.” Equally influential was Rodgers' guitar playing: He eschewed solos and leads for a thin, pointillistic sound that recast the instrument as an agent of rhythm rather than melody. You can also hear this in his production work on David Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Madonna’s Like a Virgin—two of the 1980s' biggest albums—which helped to fold contemporary black music into mainstream pop.

Rodgers remained an in-demand producer and session musician throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but he surged back into the mainstream in 2013 when he cowrote and played on three songs from Daft Punk's Random Access Memories, giving smash hit “Get Lucky” its shimmering guitar line. Speaking to Apple Music before the release of 2018’s It’s About Time—Chic's first album since 1992, four years prior to Edwards' death—Rodgers said, “If I wasn’t learning and having a good time, I wouldn’t do it. My history is already written. I do this, really, because I love it.”

HOMETOWN
New York, NY
GENRE
Dance
BORN
September 19, 1952

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