When taking a look at the new instrumental cut of Ronnue’s single “Dance Tonight,” it’s easy to understand why the respected Seattle indie artist decided to release it alongside the original, acapella and dance renditions of the track this spring. While this version isn’t guided by the rich vocals of Ronnue and his collaborator Lisa G. Allen, it’s arguably a little more nimble and light on its feet because of this very reason.
We’re able to examine the bones of the track without anything to come between us and the heat of the natural harmonies in the music, none of which have been augmented by a digitalized hand behind the mixing board. This is organic musicality that is derived straight from a soul/funk crossover model not frequently exploited in these modern times. That model’s still got a lot of miles left on it, and if there’s anyone who knows how to get the most out of them, it’s this man right here. “Dance Tonight” is everything I’ve come to love about his work compressed into a furiously beat-oriented performance, and no matter the mix you’re listening to, I think you’re going to get something special out of its effortless grooves.
In the acapella version of this song, it becomes rather impossible for even the most discriminating of critics to claim Ronnue or Lisa G. Allen lack the talents to transition from the underground to the mainstream seamlessly, and I would even say that the only reason neither of them has at this point is because of the increasing insularity of their local Seattle music scene. The chemistry they share is off the hook, and better yet, it doesn’t sound as though it’s been phoned in over Zoom as so many other collaborative pop performances have in the past year. The remixes of “Dance Tonight” highlight the different dimensions that have always existed within Ronnue’s sonic profile, and debatably allude to an ability to find the right producer to develop his sound every time he hits the recording studio. This is a man who has it together in his career and his creative direction, and if that wasn’t the narrative before this song’s debut, I think it will be in 2021.
Those who didn’t quite understand why Ronnue has become one of the most critically acclaimed players in his scene need to take a moment to spend with “Dance Tonight” this spring, mostly to appreciate just how many aesthetical points he can juggle within the same mix without sounding cluttered or all over the place in his play. His talent is a crusher, and though I’m not entirely convinced that he’s got as much out of it as he could, there’s something about his presence in this song verifying his right to be in the headlines this May. I hope we all have the chance to hear Ronnue and Allen in the studio together once more, but if I have my way, the next time we hear either of them will be on the stage – where both of them inarguably belong.
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