Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Steps 'Deeper Shade Of Blue'

Chart Peak: 4


Before the guys and gals of Steps teamed up in 1997, they were already in training for a life of stardom; Faye was the star of a cabaret band, Lisa was touring as a singer/dancer, Claire was singing in her first band TSD, Lee was working in the theatre and "H" was entertaining kids at a holiday camp... 'Deeper Shade Of Blue' gave Steps their 7th Top Five hit in April 2000.
Apologies to anyone who was hoping to see this post yesterday but even I have better things to do on Christmas Day than to write blog posts about Steps. This also means that I'm writing this as the news arrives of Gerry Anderson's demise, which is a bit of a coincidence given the vaguely Thunderbirds-esque look in parts of the video, although the blue uniforms also slightly resemble the costumes Scooch wore for their Eurovision appearance seven years later (maybe not a total coincidence). Meanwhile, in the fantasy sequences Faye and Claire appear to be inventing Lady Gaga almost a decade too soon whilst Lisa is auditioning for Avatar.

It's the second dose of Steps on this album, of course, a rare event for such an established act, but at this point in their brief career they were flinging out hits at such a rate that it was becoming hard to keep track of them - obviously more easily done by a non-songwriting act and apparently this particular tune was originally recorded by Tina Cousins. Unlike their other contribution, 'Deeper Shade Of Blue' was a song that actually attracted my attention at the time and it's probably as close as I ever came to buying a Steps single, although I could never be bothered with all the remixes so I never did it. Although it doesn't sound to me especially similar to any Abba record, it does perhaps come close to their combination of the euphoric and melancholic, blending a big dancey chorus with the more downbeat verses; whilst those two elements should in theory undermine each other they actually dovetail pretty well, maybe because there's no attempt at gravitas. We're comfortably in dance-to-forget-your-troubles territory and even if I've rarely been able to do that successfully I like the idea. Plus this is appealing enough melodically not to demand much thought. Though it's inevitably dated a little over the last 12 years it's still one of their best singles, despite having the shortest chart run of any of their first run hits. It's a decent end to the album, although it does fade a bit weakly so maybe it should have been reshuffled a bit.

Also appearing on: Now 39, 40, 41, 42, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51
Available on: The Ultimate Collection

Monday, 24 December 2012

Atomic Kitten 'I Want Your Love'

Chart Peak: 10


'I Want Your Love' is the 3rd single release from cheeky threesome Atomic Kitten... The girls are busy building a huge following in the Far East there there is phenomenal demand for anything "Kitten" - they are heavily involved with MTV Asia's latest campagin, reaching an incredible audience of 675 million!

Speaking of reality TV, I wonder how many people nowadays can actually remember why Kerry Katona was initially famous. And should anyone think I was exaggerating about the risk of Scooch being dropped after a Number 29 single, legend has it that the Kittens were almost dropped in 2001 without ever having missed the Top 20; their founder Andy McCluskey (of OMD fame) begged the label to give them one last shot with a single called 'Whole Again', and the rest is of course history. If like most people you only know of the group's work after that breakthrough, you'll be used to them as purveyors of limp balladry, cover versions and weak Corrs pastiches, so it might come as some surprise to be confronted with a track like this, which actually sounds the way a band with a name like Atomic Kitten should.

Over a sample of the score from the film The Big Country (familiar even to those of us who haven't seen the movie, not least since it was also sampled on 'The Only Rhyme That Bites' by 808 State and MC Tunes) and credited elements of the KLF's 'Justified And Ancient' (Drummond and Cauty even get writing credits, perhaps ironically) this isn't the best song ever but it's much more outlandish and therefore more fun than what they became known for in the majority of their career. It speaks volumes that when their debut album was re-issued to include their chart-topping hits and new member Jenny Frost, this track was exiled to the very end of the album, they didn't even bother to replace the departed Katona's vocal.

One more Scooch/Kittens connection: Heidi Range auditioned for both groups. She was considered too young for the former act but got as far as recording demos with Atomic Kitten before departing. She of course went on to get further experience of line-up changes as a member of Sugababes.

Also appearing on: Now 45, 48, 49, 52, 53, 54, 56, 57 [with Kool And The Gang], 58, 60
Available on: Right Now

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Scooch 'For Sure'

Chart Peak: 15


Catchy new tune from Scooch, 'For Sure' is scheduled to hit the shops in late July 2000... The video for the new track sees the band carry-out a week-long romance complete with fun office scenes in an Ally McBeal style, packed dance-floor scenarios and a visit from a passing break-dancer!
Taken from the album For Sure.

Actually, the album was called Four Sure. See what they did there? Though not the most successful group of this era, I remember Scooch fairly clearly, not least because they were so transparently Mike Stock and Matt Aitken's attempt at a knock-off of their friend-turned-enemy Pete Waterman's success with Steps. The band members even looked similar (at least after the attentions of a stylist) although the fact that there were only four of them did rather seem to heighten the appearance of a cheapo own-brand substitute. It's presumably through Stock and Aitken's determination that they weren't dropped after the first single only scraped the Top 30, particularly in the knowledge that Steps' first hit was their smallest. But whilst they scored a Top 5 hit with the hopefully-titled 'The Best Is Yet To Come' they didn't make the Top 10 again until they entered Eurovision in 2007. 'For Sure' proved to be the last hit of their original career and was probably their strongest recording - certainly their catchiest number although a bit heavy on the Autotune for my taste.

The track's notable for the use of Latin-style beats that were really fashionable a year or two earlier, which might be another reason why they weren't more successful; they seemed a bit behind the times. Obviously 1999 is a bit late to show up with a pseudo-Steps, and whilst Ally McBeal was apparently still in production until 2002 it seemed to peak in pop-culture recognition. Personally I never saw an entire episode of the show (I have some vague memory of there being a unisex toilet involved?) but I'd like to think their set design was a bit more convincing, and I'd hope that they didn't suffer from that effect you see in the close-up dancefloor shots where it looks like a widescreen picture compressed into traditional aspect ratio. Even Jamelia's office scenes were more convincing. Also the other three members are so peripheral that if you didn't know otherwise you could be forgiven for thinking that Scooch was the name of the blonde woman (who actually seems to have been called Caroline Barnes) rather than a group; in the event it was the other woman Natalie Powers who had the solo career, though not to the extent of actually charting. Thanks to YouTube I can confirm the claim on Wikipedia that Russ Spencer (the blond man) did indeed take part in Boys Will Be Girls, a "reality" TV show in which former boy band "stars" pretended to be a girl group. I think the bit about them playing a gig with the Mission and Fields Of The Nephilim might not be true though.

Available on: Four Sure

Friday, 21 December 2012

Fe-m@il 'Flee Fly Flo'

Chart Peak: 46

Fe-m@il, whose ages range from 15 to 19, are "on a mission to get the nation dancing"... Oyana is easy-going but hates cats, Ans is lazy - but a perfectionist, Nicci is a smiley violinist, Lauz (aka Laura) is a party animal and and Sally (Lauz's sister) enjoys fiddling with her belly-button because it freaks her big sister out!
If you've watched that video, I'd just like to reassure you that the world hasn't ended, you're not having a feverish dream, that song really does exist. There are some records that have a timeless quality, that are so individual that they can't be pigeonholed with anything else or be tied to a specific era; it's fair to say that 'Flee Fly Flo' isn't one of them. The very name of the act, with the pun and the use of the @ symbol (which always looks to me like it should be pronounced "fematil", surely the name of a hygiene product) is an instant throwback to the days when references to this newfangled Internet thing were trendy whether or not they made any sense. Even four years after 'Wannabe', people still thought there was some mileage in the concept of a feisty girl-group and especially one who could be promoted to a very young audience. To this end, the track is apparently based on a traditional song commonly sung at scout camps and similar, so it would be all the more familiar to schoolgirls. Even before release this track was included on a free video cassette with TV Hits magazine (another very of its time reference), but the kids didn't bite and as far as I know this was their only release, in the days when one flop was the end. I don't know whether a second single was recorded and abandoned, and neither do I know what happened to the ex-members of the band. Presumably they've all had to get proper jobs now but I wonder if they ever tell their colleagues about this.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Vangaboys 'Uncle John From Jamaica'

Chart Peak: 6

Originally, "The Vengaboys" was the working title of DJs Danski and Delmundo, who toured Spain in a schoolbus for five years, holding illegal beach parties... Forward to the year 2000 and the band are riding high on chart success with a combined single sales total of over two million on the UK alone!
I said the other day that it was slightly odd to be listening to some of these songs in December, as it's a summer album. But as the end of the album nears, we start to hit the sort of novelty that seems to fit into the pre-Christmas week quite neatly. Though this was far from the last Vengaboys hit, it does find them well past beyond their peak. Though never a serious act, they were once on the same sort of level as pop-dance acts like Alice Deejay, making records you could imagine hearing in clubs; this is much more obviously pitched at kids too young for clubs and MTV viewers: the making of feature about the video indicates that it was actually filmed in Jamaica, although entirely in a hotel so it might as well have been Spain or the Netherlands.

The best thing about this song is that it's not as cod-reggae as the title threatens and nobody actually attempts a Jamaican accent at any point. The remainder of the song is silly but not in an especially outlandish or memorable way, apart from the costumes in the video. Amazingly, it's not even their worst song.

Also appearing on: Now 41, 42, 43, 44, 45

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Jamelia 'Call Me'

Chart Peak: 11

Birmingham-born Jamelia is currently been hailed {sic} as the hottest new talent on the UK RnB scene, claims which were supported by her 2000 Brit nomination for Best Newcomer... The video for new single 'Call Me' is based in an office - an ordinary atmosphere in comparison to the powdered-wig wearing, costume-drama-style video made for her previous single 'Money'.
I don't think it's an entirely accurate representation of an office, I have to admit. 'Call Me' is not a version of the Blondie or Go West songs, but an original composition: Wikipedia credits it to Jamelia alone, although two co-writers are named here. Either way, it was the third of four singles from her debut album, and possibly best described as a functional RnB track that does what you'd expect but little more, and the pastiche of turn-of-century US production styles unfortunately leaves it sounding very dated now, full of acoustic guitars, harps and clicking beats. Songs like 'Try Again' on this album are strong enough to grow into the production but there just isn't quite enough to this one. Generally I like Jamelia but this is just ho-hum. She didn't have another hit for three years.

Also appearing on: Now 45, 56, 57, 58, 59, 65, 66
Available on: Jamelia - The Collection

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Tru Faith and Dub Conspiracy 'Freak Like Me'

Chart Peak: 12

Tru Faith and Dub Conspiracy's debut garage offering started its journey to the dance floor as a bootleg cover of Adina Howard's US No1, also entitled 'Freak Like Me'... Due for commercial release this summer, the track is already an underground anthem following months of extensive airplay on pirate UK radio stations.
Possibly the most obscure act on this album, neither Tru Faith nor Dub Conspiracy merits a Wikipedia entry, and the article about the song makes no mention of this version either. In fact, pretty much the only thing I know about this particular version is that the uncredited singer is Imaani, previously heard on Now 40 as the 1998 Eurovision contestant. She didn't win.

Adina Howard's original was only a minor UK chart hit, but a big favourite on the RnB scene and much rotated on The Box channel. It's credited, if that's the word, with pioneering the "hypersexual" style among female singers in the genre, although it's something I find impossible to take at all seriously. The language barrier about the word "freak" doesn't entirely help here either, it always makes me think of a man with three arms or something. It was obviously familiar enough to clubbers to justify this bootleg (I wonder if they mean it was originally a remix with the original vocal?) in a style which faintly resembles Shanks & Bigfoot's chart-topper 'Sweet Like Chocolate' from the previous year with added garage beats. But there's not a lot to interest the casual listener and I only dimly recall this. There was of course another bootleg of this song a year later which became rather better known, but that's a few albums further down the line...

Available on: Freak Like Me

Monday, 17 December 2012

DJ Luck and MC Neat featuring JJ 'Masterblaster 2000'

Chart Peak: 5

Following the success of their debut single, 'A Little Bit Of Luck', DJ Luck and MC Neat returned to the UK Top 10 in May with 'Masterblaster 2000'. It's twenty years since Stevie Wonder first took lifting reggae classic 'Masterblaster (Jammin'), (written as a tribute to Bob Marley) to No. 2 in the UK chart. 
I suppose they mean that Stevie Wonder's original song was "uplifting", unless it's a typo for "lilting", which wouldn't make much sense. Either way, it's certainly not "hotter than July" as I write this in the middle of December, but the original remains brilliant at any time, proving Stevie's credentials as one of the few pop songwriters able to convey a genuine joy.

 As to this version, though, it's rather thin, as if they were taken by surprise by the slow-burning success of 'A Little Bit Of Luck' and rushed to create follow-up. There are some newly-written lyrics, mainly to replace the now-dated references to Zimbabwe and focus on the party aspect of the song, although they're pretty back-of-an-envelope stuff; nobody gets a credit for writing them, or maybe they just wouldn't admit it. Everything seems half-baked as if it's a dull day in the office and nobody's really trying, and to compound it their next single was a cover version of 'Ain't No Stopping Us Now'. Though they're stylistically different from MJ Cole, and this particular single is a world away from the subtle charm of 'Crazy Love', they did fall prey to the same problem: by the time they got an album out the market had moved on.
Also appearing on: Now 45
Available on: Garage Classics Volume II Summer Edition

Thursday, 13 December 2012

MJ Cole 'Crazy Love'

Chart Peak: 13

MJ Cole is a classically-trained musician - but he perfected his DJ skills out in the UK club-scene... Featuring the sultry vocals of Elizabeth Troy, 'Crazy Love' hit the UK chart in the spring of 2000 and Matt has been described by a prestigious UK magazine as "British garage's biggest hope".
Often when you read that somebody in pop is a classically-trained musician it doesn't seem to amount to much - but Matthew Coleman seems to be the real deal, a conservatoire student in piano and oboe. Moreover, he seems to have carried some of this expertise into this track, which is almost entirely devoid of electronics and built instead on a bed of pizzicatto strings, with a piano part well down in the mix (you can hear it in the left channel on headphones). Recently, Elizabeth Troy was able to perform a pretty similar arrangement live, not something you'd expect Rank 1 to be able to do.

The song, co-written by Troy and Cole(man) is one of the best compositions in dance music of this era. Strongly melodic, but with the same sort of uncertain lyric as 'Groovejet'. It's slightly less of a pop song because the lack of an obvious bass line makes it feel slightly empty: highly effective in terms of the message they're trying to convey but less radio-friendly. The single was still a significant hit, but not a massive one, possibly not ideal for the supposed great hope of garage; especially the man whom the industry was obviously counting on to break the sound into the lucrative album market. He wasn't wholly unsuccessful on that score, becoming the first garage act to get nominated for the Mercury Prize. However he was also the first, and as yet only, act to be announced as a nominee before the album was even in the shops, due to the label's panicked decision to push back the release date for further promotion. It didn't exactly flop but it couldn't match up to expectations and little was heard from him in the mainstream thereafter. It's only from Wikipedia I even know he made a second album.

Available on: Sincere

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Lonyo → Comme Ci Comme Ca 'Summer Of Love'

Chart Peak: 8

Lonyo is already a well-known name in the party resort Agia Napa, where he enjoyed a season as the vocalist behind the big underground record 'Destiny' by Dem2... Influenced by soul greats such as Stevie Wonder, Donna Summer and Kool & The Gang, Lonyo took his debut single 'Summer Of Love' into the UK Top 10 in July 2000.
Once Craig David had become the first big pop star of garage, a style initially associated with unseen producers and DJs, it was inevitable that others would emerge, marketed more obviously at a female audience. Lonyo → Comme Ci Comme Ca, possibly the only Top 10 act with a rightward arrow in his name, was an early candidate, blending smoothie soulish vocals with pop-dance tracks. Whilst the beat on 'Summer Of Love' is recognisably two-step, it's much less prominent in the mix and the pace of the rest of the music is much less twitchy and urgent than on the B15 track, for example. Because it's the summer of 2000, there's also a dollop of Latin, courtesy of a sample from the impressively-moustachioed Oscar D'Leon.

It's music for open car windows, rather than dark clubs, and effective enough, but unfortunately for Lonyo it wasn't the start a big career for him: second single 'Garage Girls' only just made the Top 40 and he hasn't charted solo since.

Available on: Big Tunes Destination Dance

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

The B15 Project featuring Crissy D and Lady G 'Girls Like Us'

Chart Peak: 7

The principal members of the B15 project are Angus Campbell and Ian Wallman, whose name is inspired by the postcode of the Edgbaston studio in which they first started working together... Ian used to be Choice FM DJ while Angus - cousin of UB40's Ali Campbell - started out as a bass player.
Back into the world of memorable tracks with singing, although I never did work out why it was called 'Girls Like Us' when the lyric is clearly "girls like this" (and is even subtitled as such in the video, I've just discovered). Possibly there were some sample clearance issues at some point, although I think the truth may just be that the vocal isn't treated that reverently in the track as a whole, being chopped up, sped up and otherwise used as a texture; that makes the live vocal on TotP an odd decision but it's something I can heartily approve of. It feels a bit like a throwback to the speed garage sound that produced a flurry of hits in 1997 but then seemed to tail off until the tail of the century. On the other hand, the arrival of Lady G's lascivious, Jamaican-accented rap partway through makes this sound a bit like the blueprint for Mis-Teeq's hits over the next couple of years. I don't know whether there's any connection between that and the lack of further success for the B15 Project; maybe the name didn't suggest an act in it for the long run. Still, this is a song I've found hard to forget over the years, harder than many a more feted release of the era.

Available on: XX Twenty Years, Vol. 2 - Ministry of Sound

Monday, 10 December 2012

Rank 1 'Airwave'

Chart Peak: 10


Rank 1's huge trance tune 'Airwave' has been championed by DJs from all over Europe, including Judge Jules, ATB, Ferry Corsten and DJ Taucher... Piet Bervoets and Benno De Goeij (aka Rank 1) hooked up at a friend's party 3 years ago and are both respected remixers/producers, having worked with System F, Cygnus X and DJ Jean.
Their biography at Last.FM claims that "they’ve continued to pack out the CD wallets of world’s A-list spinners with speaker-spankers..." but surely big-name DJs don't play CDs? Anyway, they have a decent track record of club hits but their first record as a duo remains their only mainstream hit. Apparently it's rated  as a classic by fans of the genre for reasons frankly beyond my ken (and I mean that as a self-criticism, rather than one of the record itself). At least the radio edit is tactfully brief, and doesn't have too much of the obligatory breathy female vocal.

Presumably they weren't aware of the slang meaning of the word "rank" in some parts of the UK.

Available on: Airwave

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Angelic 'It's My Turn'

Chart Peak: 11

Angelic are hot dance duo Amanda O'Riordan (aka Mrs Judge Jules!) and Darren Tate - Amanda previously trained as a graphic designer before friends persuaded her to take her soaring vocals into the studio, while Darren is a classically trained musician... UK smash 'It's My Turn' has been chosen as the lead track for the new youth-culture movie Brothers. 
No, I didn't either, but I looked it up on IMDB and apparently Brothers is a film about a pair of siblings who go on holiday to Greece and get drunk, based on the real-life experiences of the director and his brother. Starring: nobody I've ever heard of but apparently crediting 63 "associate producers", which I presume was an early form of crowdfunding.

Anyway, the song is somewhat less forgotten than than the flick, although I thought I remembered Judge Jules himself being part of the act. Maybe he was and wasn't credited for contractual reasons but either way this sounds like the sort of thing he'd have appreciated and played even without any personal connection to it, a sort-of-uplifting house track that doesn't seem brave enough to be camp. Mrs O'Riordan isn't that great a singer to be honest, and if YouTube commenters are to be believed she gained a lot from studio technology, but she's good enough for the song.

Available on: Ibiza [Explicit] [+digital booklet]

Friday, 7 December 2012

Alice Deejay 'Will I Ever'

Chart Peak: 7


Alice Deejay, winner of the "Best Chart Act" gong at the Dancestar 2000 awards, release their latest single 'Will I Ever' on July 3rd... The band first pounded the UK charts with their infectious trance sound in 1999, with huge debut 'Better Off Alone' and collossal follow-up 'Back In My Life'.
I'm tempted to make a joke at this juncture suggesting that Alice Deejay's singer Judy Pronk should hook up with the actor Ken Stott, but I'm not sure anyone would get it.

Anyway, this was the third of the act's five Top 40 (indeed, Top 20) hits, but finds them with the typical pop-dance problem of diminishing returns, each single peaking lower than the one before. It is at least a form of dance that's easier to appreciate outside a club environment: indeed I don't know whether any cool DJ would have touched it with a bargepole, but at least there's a song there that schoolkids could sing along to. Not the peak of even their career but passable.

Also appearing on: Now 43, 44
Available on: Who Need Guitars Anyway?

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Southside Spinners 'Luvstruck'

Chart Peak: 9


Marco V and Benjamin are DJ/producers based in the Netherlands, who have been an influential force in the Dutch dance scene for over two years... 'Luvstruck' is their debut single release as the Southside Spinners, for which they teamed up with vocalist Janny.
The song seems already to have been a couple of years old at this point, but was revived after featuring prominently in the film Kevin And Perry Go Large. Janny is rightly credited here as a vocalist, rather than a singer, since her contribution is entirely spoken and groaned in a way that's presumably supposed to sound sexy. In fact it's more creepy, especially in the context of the video, though that probably wasn't the intention.

The music possibly is best described as functional, but not really enjoyable out of its intended context. Maybe it would have sounded better if we'd never heard 'French Kiss', where the heavy breathing at least fits in.

Available on: Trance - The Early Years (1997-2002)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Different Gear vs The Police 'When The World Is Running Down (You Can't Go Wrong)'

Chart Peak: 28


London-based producers Quinn Whalley and Gino Scaletti joined forces over seven years ago and 'When The World...' is their first commercial release... The track is based on the 1979 Police recording 'When The World Is Running Down (You Make The Best Of What's Still Around)' which appeared on their Zenyatta Mondatta LP.
That attribution to the original Police album (actually from 1980, which fits neatly with the previous three tracks) appears in the credits page as well. Perhaps this was part of the deal for getting permission to include this track - the only representation of the entire group on a Now! album, though Sting has shown up a couple of times. Perhaps if they'd known how minor a hit this would end up, they wouldn't have bothered: I'd guess this was an example of a club hit that took so long to get a commercial release that the moment had passed.

I'm no expert on The Police, but apparently Zenyatta Mondatta was the album with 'Don't Stand So Close To Me', 'De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da' and the Grammy-winning instrumental 'Behind My Camel'; in other words, the point where they started to disappear up Sting's backside. Their original version is a late example of what the Onion once called the "I used to be kind of cool once years" - although I can cope without Sting droning on about a post-apocalyptic dystopia the actual musicianship is rather enjoyable. (And I quite like that the YouTube URL for that video ends "OyOghZum-Io" which sounds a bit like a Police album title itself). Unsurprisingly, there's not much Stewart Copeland in the Different Gear version, although Andy Summers' guitar part is heavily sampled. Playing against a house bassline it's actually quite catchy if not entirely my scene. I sort of wish they'd just sampled the guitar and left out the vocals.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Frankie Goes To Hollywood 'The Power Of Love (Rob Searle Club Mix)'

Chart Peak: 6 [original version: 1 in 1984, 10 in 1993]

'The Power Of Love' was Frankie Goes To Hollywood's third consecutive No. 1 track in December 1984... Remixed by Rob Searle for the year 2000,the track is back in the chart with a club-flavour and a legion of new fans of this classic track.
Once in a while, an entry on this inherently retro blog becomes coincidentally topical, and here's one such case. It happens that the original mix of the song was Number One 28 years ago this week, but moreover it's become an example of the modern phenomenon that is the recurrent Christmas song - it's in the second string of the established small group of songs people seem determined to buy every November and December and this week a cover version is a serious contender for the top position as well. What makes this an unusual entry into that canon is that the song itself never sounded very Christmassy. The lyrics aren't at all festive (if anything they'd suit Halloween better) and the production lacks sleigh bells or other obvious signifiers. The recognition of this as a Christmas song seems to derive entirely from the video to the original release, which is probably also why the 1993 re-issue (promoting the same best-of album that brought 'Relax' onto Now 26) was at the same time of year. Holly Johnson even released a solo cover version of the song for Christmas 1999, though without troubling the Top 50.

As somebody unconvinced that this was ever a Christmas song at all, I sometimes feel like reminding people that this third chart run for the song was at the height of summer, with a new video and a remix aimed at promoting the group's second hits compilation. It's rather a neat moment in Now! history as this song was the only Frankie chart-topper not to appear in the series first (or second) time around, although I can't share the same enthusiasm for the remix itself, which is at best samey.

Also appearing on: Now 2, 3, 26
Available on: Maximum Joy

Monday, 3 December 2012

Marc Et Claude 'I Need Your Lovin' (Like The Sunshine)'

Chart Peak: 12


Marc Et Claude are Marc Romboy and Klaus Derichs and in addition to their premium trance single releases they also run one of Europe's most successful trance labels "Alphabet City"... 'I Need Your Lovin...' is inspired by the Korgis' 1980 hit 'Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime', which was also reactivated for the dance floor in 1995 by Baby D.

It's a pretty well-travelled tune this; as well as the successful Baby D version there was also a 1992 cover in a more hardcore style by NRG. It's possible that one or other of those inspired this rendition by the duo who I didn't realise had had as many as four hit singles (though only this one made it as far as the Top 20). Certainly it seems like one of those dance tracks that's based on the premise of plugging a familiar chorus into an instrumental track, rather than a real interpretation of the song. I don't really think I knew the Korgis song in 2000 beyond being aware of its existence, but now that I do I reckon its strongest point is the slightly halting quality which is totally absent from all the dance covers; this one isn't musically interesting enough for me to look past that.

Available on: 100% Workout