The first Chic album in 26 years kicks off with “Till the World Falls,” featuring the line, “The world has gone mad/We might be safer on the dance floor.” “If this were a film—and that’s how I look at albums—you get plot points,” Nile Rodgers tells Apple Music. “Plot point one is that, right now, the world is not the loving, wonderful place I thought it would be by the year 2018, so the lyrics are semi-apocalyptic.” But don’t panic: Despite battling cancer for much of the past decade, the high priest of dance music hasn't gone maudlin on us; tough times are all the more reason to be jubilant. “Fun is always at the heart of everything I do,” he says. “And we had nothing but fun making this record. Nothing has been a drag.”
This agile fusion of funk, disco, and R&B owes its cross-Atlantic cast list to its author’s fondness for a certain iconic studio. “It started out with Anderson .Paak calling me, and he didn’t know that I had Abbey Road sort of on lockdown,” he says. .Paak was promptly sequestered to West London, with Bruno Mars soon joining them. “Then I started thinking, ‘Well, I’m in the UK—why not work with British artists?'"
And so, here you find a regal Lady Gaga turn (“I Want Your Love”) nestled up against East London funk/soul up-and-comer NAO accessing her inner disco queen on “Boogie All Night.” “I love NAO’s voice,” Rodgers says. “It’s so unique and so special. I would start singing notes at her and she’d look at me like I’m crazy. Any riff or any idea I would throw at her, she wound up being down.” As a whole, the album is an unashamed, totally irresistible example of what he has built his storied career on: celebration. “If I wasn’t learning and having a good time, I wouldn’t do it,” he says. “My history is already written. I do this, really, because I love it.”