When electronic dance music last dipped a toe into the United States in the mid-1990s, it came with the instantly dated tag of "electronica." The frenzied mix of rock attitude, grab-bag samples, danceable beats, and strong pop instincts burned brightly in acts like The Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, and Moby, but quickly fizzled out by the end of the decade; from there, dance music in the States generally laid low until the mainstream EDM resurgence of the late 2000s. One exception was trance music, whose steady European pulse marched onward through all those years. Long before dubstep invented "the drop," trance DJs perfected the kind of rise-and-fall rhythms and shimmering synths that sound just as fresh and euphoric today.
Los Angeles producer Jason Ross's recent single, “Me Tonight,” is an excellent twist on the now-familiar trance genre. The song quickly finds itself in a cool, Day-Glo valley before the release of the second half, when the drum-kicks sync to the synths until any reasonable listener's hands will be flying in pure ecstasy. The restrained opening highlights vocalist Lauren Ray’s words: “Who have you been hiding from? / It’s only me tonight,” she sings, offering an invitation to embrace whatever the night may hold. That lack of pretension in sentiment and feeling is part of what continues to make trance such an endearing genre. The nostalgic trance mixes that bubbled up from more underground scenes last year often overlooked the joy that makes the genre worthwhile. But real trance never went away, and “Me Tonight” suggests that where other dance genres ebb and flow (remember moombahton?), the simple pleasures of trance will last forever.