I’m making mellow this week. In 2000, Toi Sojer-Sacchi (aka Gram’ma Funk) pledged her allegience to the funk a year after making a name for herself as the vocalist on Groove Armada’s ‘I See You Baby’. This time, she was collaborating with Lennart Krarup and Italian DJs Arian Beheshti and Giuseppe Nuzzo. Together they were Oversoul and their track ‘Universal Unfolding’ made it waves on the Ibiza beaches. Have a great week.
St Germain is the stage name of Ludovic Navarre, one of the leading purveyors of the “French Touch”, the wave of French filter house of the late 1990s. His style has a mixed up deep house, jazz and lounge. With its understated Marlena Shaw sample, ‘Rose Rouge’ is the opening track off his 2000 album Tourist. “I want you to get together/put your hands together one time.” Have a great weekend.
Released in February 2000, the ‘The 6th Sense’ was the lead single off Like Water for Chocolate, Common’s hugely successful, fourth studio album. It was produced by DJ Premier and laden with his trademark scratched samples. In this case, it’s ‘Memories Are Here to Stay’ by The Intruders, ‘Allustrious’ by Mobb Deep and ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ by Gil-Scott Heron.
A year or so after their hugely successful album Moon Safari, Air wrote the score for Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides. The opening track ‘Playground Love’ is the only one with vocals, which emanate from neither Jean-Benoît Dunckel nor Nicolas Godin (nor Beth Hirsch). They bring in Phoenix’s singer Thomas Mars to deliver the low key “I’m a highschool lover/And you’re my favorite flavour”.
Inspired by Ryan Adams’ break-up with industry publicist Amy Lombardi, ‘AMY’ is the self-evidently one of the emotional outpourings that underpin his debut solo album ‘Heartbreaker. Released in September 5, the entire album was was told over fourteen days in a studio in Nashville. Pitchfork have called it “a drinker’s album” and “an ode to sadness”. No regrets Ryan, no regrets.
Here’s an oddball finish to the week. People Under The Stairs’ ‘Pulp Fiction’ is a hip hop adventure into the surreal. MURS, Double K, and Thes One find themselves stranded on a desert island where a pink gorilla steals their cigarettes. They come up with a plan to ambush it, but then find their friend and a boat which takes them to Boston Market. Yes, have a great weekend.
For a while there in the late 1990s, Marah were the heirs apparent to Bruce Springsteen. Formed by singer-guitarist brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko, the band developed a reputation for their Boss-like live shows. The release of their second album, Kids in Philly, cemented this reputation, and no more so than in their delivery of ‘Round Eye Blues’.
A compilation for the weekend. My favourite songs of 2000 in no particular order:
Honourable mentions also go to: Grandaddy for ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s The Pilot‘; Erykah Badu for ‘Didn’t Cha Know‘; Daft Punk for ‘One More Time‘; Augie March for ‘The Hole In Your Roof‘; Missy Elliott for ‘Get Ur Freak On‘; D’Angelo for ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel)‘; and Edu K for his remix of Otto’s ‘Bob‘.
And then on 2 October 2000, wiping more than their own slate clean, Radiohead released Kid A. Seven tracks in, there’s a break in the mysterious ‘In Limbo’ with all seemingly lost at sea, and out of the mist blasts ‘Idioteque’. Its sound is a wave of intelligent electronica pulsing against the rocks, while Thom Yorke delivers a haunting siren to suit. “Women and children first, And children first, And children.” This song mattered.
What happened at the turn of the millennium that sucked the creativity out of the pop musicologists? I have a theory that it was too much Britney Spears that did it. I have to admit there were some bangers in 2000, but you can near enough count them on the fingers of one hand. The Avalanches, Outkast and Daft Punk have already featured here, so that leaves Missy Elliot and the irrepressible ‘Get Ur Freak On’. The song featured on Miss E…So Addictive, an album full of confidence and Timbaland’s production wizardry. Have a great week.
Augie March formed in Victoria, Australia, in 1996 when English major Glenn Richards got together with a group of fellow students, and between them they cooked up the Saul Bellow moniker. In 2000, Rob Dawson joined the band as a pianist and the band recorded their debut album, Sunset Studies. The Radiohead-influenced album was lauded by critics, but not so much by the record-buying public. ‘The Hole In Your Roof’ was the opening tack off the album. In January 2001, as the band were looking to work on a follow up, Dawson was killed in car crash.
Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons was produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto. Therefore, one would expect something much more brash than the sound that Blonde Redhead were creating in 2000. The NYC three-piece even manage to go so far as to discard post-punk in favour of a piano ballad – ‘For The Damaged’. The song transcends and features the keyboards of Toby Christensen from The Black Heart Procession.
At some points when writing these blogs, I fear a block in inspiration. To overcome such concerns, I listen to a lot of music and think of ways to chart a course through the near-infinite source material. One simple way to do this is by chronology. Treating 2000 as a ground zero (which it certainly was not), I intend to stroll through recent years over the next couple of weeks or so. Year 2000 featured Daft Punk in full pomp as they produced and released their second studio album Discovery. Romanthony’s autotuned vocals “One More Time” on the album’s lead single would joyfully fill every club, gym and radio station for months. Have a great week.