In 2022 it was Stranger Things and Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” – now it seems another vintage hit is enjoying an unlikely revival thanks to small screen exposure and the viral proclivities of Generation Z.
According to data from global music video network Vevo, Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s disco-swirler “Murder on the Dancefloor”, first released a little over 22 years ago, has seen a 541% surge in views in the UK since December 12. The track also topped the U.S. Spotify charts on January 4 and is widely predicted to re-enter the official British singles charts this weekend.
The reason for Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s sudden resurgence? Controversial thriller Saltburn. The film was released in cinemas in November 2023, but since premiering on Amazon Prime on December 22, “Murder on the Dancefloor” has become a viral sensation.
The sexually-charged movie stars Barry Keoghan, Jacob Elordi, Rosamund Pike and Richard E. Grant, and follows an apparently working-class Oxford University student, played by Keoghan, who becomes dangerously obsessed with an aristocratic fellow student, played by Elordi. In the final scene, “Murder on the Dancefloor” plays as Keoghan’s character dances around a mansion completely naked.
Saltburn’s stylish direction and explicit scenes have made it an instant hit with Gen Zers and led to a rash of viral posts on social media – many of which have been based around Ellis-Bextor’s 2001 song. At the time of writing, the hashtag #MurderOnTheDancefloor currently has over 40 million views on TikTok.
Sophie herself hasn’t been slow to capitalize on her newfound popularity. In an Instagram post she revealed that the original video for the single, which last peaked at No. 2 in December 2001, has been remastered in 4K, and described it as “the story of a dance competition where evil triumphs over good”.
She also told the BBC that the song’s sudden revival has been “beautiful” and “extraordinary.”
"It actually feels really magical,” she said. “And if I'm honest, I don't think I've completely processed it really. It's extraordinary. It's a song I've been singing for over 20 years, I still love singing it. I love the way people react when I do it live.
"But for new people to be discovering it, for it to be making new memories with people, is kind of beautiful."
"One of the things I never prepared for is the fact that when you release anything into the world, any new music, it goes off and has its own journey," she continued. "And you're along for the ride a bit, it also goes places you're not expecting to go. So what's happened with the song and how it's got new people who weren't even alive the first time it came out listening to it, it's just spectacular."
“Murder on the Dancefloor” is not the only vintage single to benefit from the Golden Globe-nominated film. MGMT’s 2008 track “Time to Pretend” (which, let’s face it, is perhaps even more disturbing than Saltburn itself) has also seen a spike in popularity after its inclusion in the movie. That track has seen a 231% lift in UK views, almost 3.5 times the average daily views.