Disclosure's 15 Best Songs: Critics' Picks

Simon Emmett
Disclosure

Do you think Howard and Guy Lawrence's parents birthed them in a UK garage warehouse party? How else could two kids born in '94 and '91 respectively understand to such depths the feelings and vibrations of an era they can't possibly remember? It's mind boggling, but there's no denying Disclosure is one of the absolutely pulse setters of a nostalgic generation of dance producers.

When Disclosure hit, people were literally walking up to DJ booths asking “hey, can you play more stuff that sounds like Disclosure?” It was almost it's own genre, and it is a retro-influenced sound that went on to define the next three years of the greater genre. Even future house is in some very arguable way a response to the basic tenants Disclosure set in place. This is the band that killed “EDM” as a concept. This is the band that helped introduce thousands to the real roots of “house.” This is a band worth celebrating, and this is a list of the 10 best Disclosure songs so far.

15. Disclosure - "Grab Her!"

This song is kind of strange. That stair-walking robot synth, those twinkling keys, that forceful sample. It's actually a clip of J Dilla, one of the duo's biggest influences, and he's not really saying “grab her,” but it sounds like it does, hence the song name. It's a whole lot of freaky, funky fun. Guy Lawrence said of the song, “I made that after being on a pretty serious weekend out with my friends listening to a lot of DJs, and that is just the remains of the resonant tinnitus in my ears that came out musically the next day.”

14. Disclosure - "Good Intentions" with Miguel

This sultry little number has me imagining dark rooms and scented candles and satin sheets. Maybe that's the fault of Miguel's sensual vocal work, or maybe it's the Lawrence brothers' deep, rolling synth work. Something about this Disclosure song just promises naughty things, and everyone knows naughty is nice.

13. Disclosure - "Confess To Me" with Jessie Ware

I just can't resist this wonky bassline. Ware was added in the 11th hour, replacing Howard's original vocals. An old friend of the brothers, Ware came in and added verses to the track, stamping “Confess to Me” and the game-changing Settle with her mark forever more.

12. Disclosure - "Omen" with Sam Smith

Sam Smith and Disclosure blew up together thanks to their mega-hit “Latch,” so you know they had to get back in the studio for Caracal. “Omen” is a bit more late-night than “Latch,“ and people loved the vibe. “Omen” charted in 24 countries, further proving the perfection of Smith's smooth croon when cascaded across Disclosure's bedroom beats.

11. Disclosure - "Magnets with Lorde

No, you shouldn't sleep with other girl's boyfriends, but Lorde makes it sound like an exotic adventure one just has to give a go. Side pieces, rejoice! Lorde is one of your kind. The bridge here is perhaps the best part of the song. Lorde's smoky voice in tandem with the syncopated percussion lures you into the hook, just as she leads you to make all kinds of bad decisions behind closed doors.

10. Disclosure - "Help Me Lose My Mind"

Here we explore the softer side of Disclosure. In fact, in the duo's track-by-track analysis of Settle on Spotify, the brothers explain how they built “Help Me Lose My Mind” to match singer Hannah Reid's softer spoken demeanor. Disclosure still give us the beating bass and persistent snare, but it all melts into the background under the ghostly synths and Reid's alluringly rich vocals.

9. Disclosure - "Nocturnal" with The Weeknd

Disclosure's second album Caracal is a strong step into the world of pop music, a message to fans telling what kind of band Disclosure sees itself being at its core. Settle earned them the right to work with whatever vocalist they wanted, and opening your LP with vocals from The Weeknd is surely a dream come true. This track has all the subtle darkness of its singer's classic catalog mixed with the shining dance floor romance of its producers. It's also a strong thematic predecessor to The Weeknd's own recent disco-inspired release Starboy.

8. Disclosure - "Superego" with Nao

How you gonna write a song about an egotistical maniac and then go and make it so bouncy, the listener walks around struttin' like the song's protagonist? This is one of those songs you fall in love with immediately upon listening. Some fans wanted to critique Caracal for being less than earth-shattering following Settle's paradigm shifting greatness, but I say this song is right up there with anything Settle had to offer.

7. Disclosure - "Holding On" with Gregory Porter

Watch your step as you descend from the time machine. Take this flannel and tie it around your waist, ad be sure to grasp this bottle of water firmly in your right hand as you shake it for dear life to the beat. There you go, you're ready for the '90s dance floor. Alright, so “Holding On” is still decidedly modern, but it This song is damn near the perfect groove. Now, get out there and shake it, shake shake it.

6. Disclosure - "You & Me" with Eliza Doolittle

Flume's remix of this Disclosure song is hugely popular, and it's often the first version that comes to mind when I read the title, but this upbeat rhythm is nothing to be overlooked. This is glorious girl's-night-out stuff, the perfect track for those moments on the dance floor when you get lost in thought then find yourself suddenly ripped back into the middle of the action. It's the sound love makes just before you fall into it face first, when you're still feeling pretty independent and wanna act like your crush is no big deal, but you know you're lying.

5. Disclosure - "Voices" with Sasha Keable

Sasha Keable has such a perfect voice for this track, fittingly titled “Voices,” strangely enough. She is powerful and strong, even if the lyrics imply a willingness to give in to temptations too great to resist. It's an easy siren's call to answer on top of this delicious garage-inspired beat. This was the sixth single from Settle, but it was no less popular in DJ sets around the world.

4. Disclosure - "F For You" with Howard Lawrence

This is a Disclosure song so dope, Mary J. Blige had to jump on a remix, still, I want to throw it up to the original version, which says a lot about how much I really love me some Howard Lawrence vocals. For a track about playing a fool, it's quite the cocky rhythm. Even Howard's vocals drip with a certain slickness. I'm also going to nominate “I've been infected with restless whispers and cheats / That manifested in words and the lies that you speak” as two of the best lyrical lines ever written.

3. Disclosure - "When a Fire Starts to Burn"

I'm gonna Settle something once and for all. That sample? It's from a monologue by Eric Thomas, a Chicago-based motivational speaker, author, and minister, the self-proclaimed “hip hop preacher.” He's got a series of videos called T.G.I.M., and this is from episode 30, and this is quite clearly one of the greatest uses of sampling in the history of ever. Be honest, you didn't catch every word in that last part, but you're on the dance floor screaming it in your friend's faces through a sloppy drunk grin anyway. Dr. Thomas isn't even saying this shit to a backbeat, he just has the funky spirit running through him. Disclosure uses his encouraging message to elevate an already holy groove, and your feet on damn sure on fire by the time this track is over.

2. Disclosure - "White Noise" with AlunaGeorge

The first time I heard this song, it was nothing short of a revelation. It was early 2013, I was sitting on my then-boyfriend's couch, and I'm pretty sure I stood up with a very serious look on my face all “Hey, hey, who is this?” I haven't looked back sense. Disclosure is close to godliness, and so is AlunaGeorge, for that matter – which is two people, by the way. The singer is Aluna, and she is absolutely divine on this subtle anthem. It's not an in your face tune, but it is arresting.

1. Disclosure - "Latch" with Sam Smith

In 2013, my buddy told me he used Settle as his finishing move whenever he wanted to get a girl in bed. He said that by the time “Latch” came on, it was sex city. I believe him, I mean, can you fight the raw silky smoothness of Sam Smith's falsetto? Didn't think so, and neither can the rest of the world who made “Latch” the biggest hit of Disclosure career to date. It helped launch Sam Smith into an absolutely star, as well as the Disclosure boys and this whole UK house revival sound. It helped change the direction of dance music. No small feat, to be sure, and it's still one of best, most infectious, organically soulful tunes this decade has seen. 

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