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

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