Chart Peak: 1 (2 weeks)
Bit of a change of mood here, although this is the start of Side Four on the vinyl and cassette versions. It seems to set something of a tone: after the very lightweight pop of Side Three, Side Four wants to go clubbing. Of course, at the age I was then, I naturally thought there had to be an actual film called S-Express, but there isn't. Oh well, at least I didn't think it was about a local newspaper in Basildon or anything. I do also have this idea that in some places the title was spelt S-Xpress to avoid embodying the word "sex", which I was old enough to recognise if not to understand. Incidentally, I have also seen it written as S'Express, but for the purposes of this post I've used the spelling as it appears on Now 12 itself (and on the original single sleeve, which again appears in place of a photo of any of the band).
For a long time, I'd got used to thinking of this as a sort of poor relation to 'Pump Up The Volume', to which it is in some respects it is a successor as a big overground hit with a lot of samples, although in this case it seems to have been built on the samples, rather than them being a later addition: since writing that post last year, I have obtained a copy of the original, unremixed 12" of 'Pump Up The Volume' and 'Anitina' and it's different, but it still works as a record in its own right. It's impossible to imagine 'Theme From S-Express' without at least the very prominent elements of 'Is It Love You're After?' by Rose Royce onto which everything else is overlaid:
it's probably worth linking to the Wikipedia entry here for a thorough listing of samples used. It's probably also worth noting that the writing credit on the track was to producers Mark Moore and Pascal Gabriel alone, unlike the lengthy credit on the Timelords single, but nobody seems to have sued. One knock-on effect for those of us familiar with both this and the Rose Royce track is that neither one now seems to be at quite the right speed.
Actually, whatever its origins, this is a good dance record with enough distinctive about it to make it worth the time of us non-clubbers. But it's not one that impresses me all-out like M|A|R|R|S.
Also appearing on: Now 14
Available on: Fantastic 80's! Greatest Hits
Charting 1997: 27th December
4 years ago