Love was the message in many early anthems that we now refer to as classic house. There are few tracks that really stand out as those that defined a genre, but one such track is “Promised Land“ by Joe Smooth.
A self-taught musician who began making his own tunes at the age of 12, Smooth came up in Chicago’s house music scene and quickly became in-demand as a DJ and remixer. In addition to his own productions, Smooth has provided remixes for a wide variety of artists including Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, Pet Shop Boys, Janet Jackson and many others. Smooth continues to be an important part of the house music scene and in 2015 he launched his own label Indie Art Music with releases topping the Traxsource and Beatport charts.
“Promised Land” retains the signature sounds of classic house combining synth strings, piano chords and, of course, a song which speaks about fostering a sense of peace, unity and love, all hallmarks of the classic house sound. Lyrically, the song is designed to tug at your heartstrings and when played, the are few tracks that really invoke a sense of community on the dancefloor. “When the angels from above fall down and spread their wings like doves….” is one of the most poignant lyrics I’ve ever heard in a house record and it is not uncommon to see tears trickle from the eyes of a true house music devotee when this one is played. Perfect for a late-night set, I’ve seen this record change the vibe of a night for over 2 decades and when looking at the best house music that exists, this classic anthem has to remain near or at the top of any list of true classic house anthems.