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Live Review: Holiday Sidewinder's disco is liberated and in control on 'Leo'

11 July 2018 | 9:04 am | Kyle Fensom

Holiday Sidewinder owns disco's history of liberation and female agency on 'Leo', a revamped millennial ode to sexuality in the Tinder-age

Disco music has always been about liberation and female agency, from DONNA SUMMER’S ‘I Feel Love’ to LOOSE JOINTS’ ‘Is It All Over My Face?’ and MADONNA’S ‘Vogue’. On her latest single, ‘Leo’, HOLIDAY SIDEWINDER owns that history, revamping it for the millennial Tinder-age in a buoyant call for sexual liberation.

The most recent in a string of glammed-up singles that also includes the previous ‘Tra$h Can Luv’ and ‘Casino’, ‘Leo’ is the latest track to be lifted from her forthcoming debut album, Forever or Whatever, which is due out this September.

‘Leo’ moves at sensual pace, using a feverish, Italo-flavoured instrumental section of plucky vintage synths, punchy drum machines and a taut, buoyant bass line to carry you away with all the sensations of seduction, from the restless tension to the elated release, from the heated, passionate build-up to the cooling down, from sunset to sunrise, and so on. “I’ll give you tonight, but I won’t call you tomorrow / And when the sun is rising up / I get my things and go / And if I wrote my number wrong / Life goes on, just move on”, she sings on the track’s chorus, a soaring celebration of no-strings-attached sexual conquest.

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But at its heart ‘Leo’ is a pop song, its sassy attitude and Holiday Sidewinder’s vocals inviting undeniable comparisons to Madonna (“I don’t remember his name, but I got the keys to his house...I don’t remember his face but I remember when I came”). So while she’s singing about liberation, the music doesn’t necessarily share that sense of freedom, resisting the indulgent run-times and expansive structures of other disco music. Instead, in adhering to a conventional pop structure and clocking in at three-and-a-half minutes, ‘Leo’ sounds focused and in control, reflecting the agency which Holiday Sidewinder sings about; she’s liberated, but this liberation means being in control of her own body and sexuality.

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