Ronnue (feat. Lisa G. Allen) “Dance Tonight”

It isn’t present in the acapella mix of “Dance Tonight,” but in the other three versions of the new single from Ronnue and Lisa G. Allen, the percussion is the heartbeat driving this neo-funk tune home. Ronnue’s music has always had a nice balance between vocal charisma and instrumental wonderment, but “Dance Tonight” sees him following the same path as fellow underground pop players Rob Alexander and Will Jordan in turning towards sonic depth as a main avenue for expression. This is more virtuosic on the production end than anything else he’s done so far, but even with that being the case, you’re not going to find any of the filler a lot of his Seattle peers have been using as a buffer for their own inadequacies in the studio. 

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Ronnue’s vocal tends to steal the show in any song he’s playing, but the instrumental mix of “Dance Tonight” proves once and for all that he doesn’t get indulgence in his verses as a means of covering for compositional weaknesses. On the contrary, this is the kind of arrangement that makes it difficult for us to step away from the music without having been affected by the enormity of the rhythm, the beauty of the tone, and the luxurious feel of the sprawling grooves. This is more than a vocal-based pop song; it’s an exhibition of talents and techniques that could help to win this guy some fans in tougher markets outside of the Pacific Northwest underground he’s done so well in. 

Lisa G. Allen adds an interesting dynamic to the dance mix and the radio edit, but I feel like there’s more experimenting to be done between herself and Ronnue before we can confidently say they’re getting as much out of their chemistry as possible. The placement of her harmony behind the bassline seems a little odd at first, but if it was a setup to create atmospheric tension in the music, it’s certainly an element one could regard as more cerebral than the status quo calls for. There’s potential to do something more with their professional relationship, and that’s as obvious to me as it would be the causal passerby who may not have heard either of these artists before the release of “Dance Tonight.” 

Once again Ronnue is sounding as hot as the game itself, and though this is far from a perfect outing, it’s a heck of a lot stronger than some of the aesthetically muddled nightmares I’ve heard out of the underground in the past year. Ronnue is a lot more focused than the average player in his pocket of the pop world, and even if he goes about getting to success in an entirely different fashion than any of his contemporaries would, it can be agreed upon that he’s found plenty of good luck doing what he’s done so far – and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. “Dance Tonight” is an affirmation, a victory lap for a man with nothing left to prove, and it’s going to get a lot of people dancing before the spring season has concluded. 

Michael Rand

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