This song could have been nothing. Its original, limited release in Ghana went completely under the radar. Yet, by chance, the song was picked up by Brian Shimkovitz – who covered it as the first song on his now legendary Awesome Tapes From Africa.
Let’s not sugar coat the vocals. They range from ‘passionate’ to fairly dire. But it’s not enough to dent that amazing, old school lo-fi house groove.
The song was forward looking, blending African pop sounds with the music Ata Kak was exposed to in Toronto. It’s a mash up of hip hop and house, using simple, Nintendo style chords. Somehow, it just works!
Released originally in 1994, the track has since become a cult favourite.
Released in 1995, this Jungle classic foreshadowed a later development in Drum & Bass – the rise of rollers.
Many people argue that rollers is a style rather than a separate sub-genre. What links the songs is ‘the roll’, using sharp breakbeats and dark, paranoid basslines to take the listener smoothly through to the end of the song.
The mid-90s was when Jungle, of which this song is very much a part, started the transition into modern Drum & Bass. You can hear the shift here, with less manic drums, rumbling and distorted bass instead of 808s.
The song was re-released in 2017, with remixes from Heist and Bladerunner. And it still sounds fresh!
A lot of pop-punk is fairly vacuous stuff. The Vandals, mostly, don’t buck the trend.
Still, I prefer them to wishy washy 00s stuff for their harder, faster, more edgy presentation. It’s more punk than pop, rooted in the ‘melodic hardcore’ of the 80s – but still catchy as a Blink-182 or Green Day hit.
Lyrically, “An Idea For A Movie” is sort of nonsense, but good harmless stuff. They do their job well, giving the song a sing-along quality. It’s knowingly cynical, but in a vaguely feel good way.
The guitar is a different story. It hits powerfully and sharply from the get-go, blazing a technicolour trail throughout the track’s two minute runtime.
Released on Hitler Bad, Vandals Good in 1996 and blasted out of suburban Californian teenagers bedrooms ever since…
When Geffen Records released Just Say Noel in 1996, they probably didn’t have the Christmas number one in mind. Not with a track like this on, at any rate!
Based on a more palatable but still cynical song by Martin Mull from 1972, Sonic Youth take us on a tense, messy 3 minute Christmas romp. It’s like if Santa’s Grotto was on fire and full of used needles.
I’m not actually sure if this is a pro- or anti- drugs message, to be honest.
Many people will find the track below to be disgusting noise – but if you’re sick of hearing “Last Christmas”, it might be the poisonous antidote you need!
Rappers these days just don’t seem to revel in words and rhythms like the old school guys did. Everybody on this track just flows!
The beat is cracking too, blending a rolling drum beat sampled from Jimi Hendrix’ 1967 “Little Miss Lover” with an ominous organ/bass combo snatched from “Oblighetto” by Brother Jack McDuff, released 1970.
My favourite verse is Phife Dawg’s, the first one. But Busta Rhymes closes the track out brilliantly. He was at the beginning of his career here, and you can tell he was on a path to greatness!
The song came out in 1991 on The Low End Theory, and was released as a single in 1992.
I’m not sure I’d characterise this music as hip hop, as such. It’s more like breakbeat with a bit of rapping. It’s all gloriously early 90s, though!
There’s a hint of Fatboy Slim to the easygoing, energetic sound. It’s that same method of creating a brilliant pastiche from disconnected elements of a variety of songs.
The song does sample Donovan’s eclectic 1967 original for the chorus, and although I respect Donovan immensely as a songwriter, I think his vocals on that track work better here, with all the extra weirdness stripped out!
“Wear Your Love Like Heaven” was released in 1991.