Saturday Flashback: Special D. – Here I Am

Quite what sort of thought process led to this I can only imagine

Tim: So then, Tom. What do you say to a good old fashioned Cold War political song reimagined as a mid-2000s dance tune? Check this, from 2005.

Tom: That is, indeed, quite special.

Tim: Isn’t it just? I was going to suggest Come With Me, but then I remembered this, which is (a) less well-known and (b) far, far, far more worthy of discussion. Quite what sort of thought process led to this reworking of Nena’s 99 Luftballons I can only imagine, but the tune is only half of it. The lyric “Here I am, my brand new track, I made it ’cause you want me back” suggests someone inundated with fan mail, rather than somebody who had a big hit two years previously and who since then had released a steady flow of mediocre and slightly appreciated tracks.

Tom: What gets me is that’s the main lyric. It’s not the intro bit, which would be just-about-acceptable, although perilously close to doing a Flo Rida. That’s the whole song. It’s a meta-track, a track that’s entirely about itself. I hate meta-tracks. It’s like Tamperer’s appalling If You Buy This Record – take a well-known song, add a louder beat and some different vocal samples, and churn out another track.

Tim: Then, given that everybody’s heard Operation Blade (even if they don’t know it), what comes out of his mouth at 2:25 is just brilliant.

Tom: “I haven’t heard that,” I thought. And then I realised that, yes, I had heard it.

Tim: The video of five hot girls in a car race is, well, just plain odd.

Tom: Not when you think about who the target market is. They know their demographics.

Tim: Oh, I’ve got no problem with that – as bland and usual an idea as any other dance video. It’s the details, though – their names, for example, start off vaguely logical, but then drop it completely. We have ‘Speederella’ being a bit like Cinderella, ‘Gasolina’ continuing a princess pattern, being a bit like (albeit considerably less pleasant than) Thumbelina, and then ‘Velocity’ is a bit like, um, a science lesson. Right. And the ‘Oh, you’re so funny, putting the turntable on the wrong setting’ exchange comes out of absolutely nowhere.

Tom: That just seems normal for me, and here’s why: I’m used to listening to long-form mixes, like Deep Dance – there’s an obscure Wikipedia article for me – where those get dropped in all the time.

Tim: Having said all that: I love it.

Tom: Annoyingly, I’ve got to agree.

Saturday Flashback: DJ Daz – The Woah Song

Enthusiastic but nevertheless slightly creepy.

Tom: You will recognise Daz Sampson. We could write an entire tribute article to his career, and his never-say-die attitude – that’s not sarcasm, the man’s been in more line-ups than a serial mugger. He turns up in the strangest places: on Eurovision, on Dance Dance Revolution games, and in songs with the most bizarre shoutouts I’ve ever heard. (“Jamie – shine the magic torch!“). And throughout all of it, he keeps the same voice and persona: that of the enthusiastic but nevertheless slightly creepy uncle at a wedding disco.

Tom: All that said, I’m not quite sure what he was thinking with this.

Tim: No. Umm…

Tom: Tarzan Boy by Baltimora? Twenty women in lingerie? A blue tracksuit? The shoutout to himself, “the old kung-fu star” – which is followed with a sampled ‘whoo-ha’, just in case you didn’t get it?

Tim: It’s…well, I mean, it’s a bit…sort of…maybe…right, I’ll admit – I have absolutely no idea. I am, however, grateful that it’s only 2 minutes and 44 seconds long.

Tom: Oh, and there’s a brief, horrible moment when he appears to be spanking himself. If you didn’t notice it, don’t go back and look. Just be thankful.

Tim: Believe me, I won’t go back.

Hang on. I’ve just listened to that ‘shine the magic torch‘ track, and it suddenly got me in a fit of giggles. Why didn’t you suggest that one? Not only is there that shout-out, but there’s also the line ‘I’m the UK’s number 4 MC.’ It reminds me of the (sadly long now disbanded) Scooter tribute act Moped, although I doubt either of them would appreciate the comparison.

Tom: Isn’t that the best shout-out ever? The extended version, sadly not on YouTube, also gives shoutouts to non-existent people (followed up with a quiet ‘Who?’ in the background), and includes the enthusiastic line “Ben O’Brien – if you book your taxi, it will come“.

History does not record who Ben O’Brien actually is, or whether he failed to book his taxi.

Duck Sauce – Barbra Streisand

It’s catchy, and it’ll get people moving.

Tom: You’ll remember Duck Sauce – the code name for a collaboration between top DJs Armand van Helden and A-Trak – from last year’s aNYway, or at least from its glorious video. Here’s their new one.

Tom: I hated this on first listen, but I keep hearing it and it grows on me every time. First things first: this isn’t a track for the masses to download. This a track that’ll get people in dancing in clubs, that’ll get mashed up with everything under the sun, that DJs good and bad will chuck into their megamixes. I’ve already heard one mashup that throws in samples of Beat It and adds a ‘Michael Jackson’ voiceover in place of the titular Barbra.

Tim: I can imagine it going down well in a club – I thought the ‘ee-oo-ee-oo-blah-blah’ bit was a bit rubbish until it came back in at 2:50, when I realised the point of it, getting people oo-ing along.

Tom: And yet, somehow even the original is pretty listenable, before other stuff gets added in.

Tim: I disagree – I can’t really imagine ever listening to just this. Like you said, mixed in with something, maybe, or as a backing for something else, but on it’s own there’s not a lot to it. It’s catchy, I’ll grant them that, but for me not in an ‘Ooh, I’m glad this is in my head’ sense.

Tom: Well, it’s still catchy, and it’ll get people moving. And that’s all you can ask for from something like this, I reckon. There is an official video, but it agrees with you: it’s less of an official video and more of a travelogue with a consistent backing track and a massive rolling shutter problem.

Paul Harris vs. Eurythmics – I Want U

There are so, so many things wrong with this.

Tom: There are so, so many things wrong with this.

First of all: if you’re going to remix a synth-heavy Eurythmics song anyway, perhaps you could get a sample that people will enjoy listening to? Annie Lennox’s voice is amazing, but it’s out of place here. When that sample finally kicks in, it seems completely discordant with everything else that’s going on.

Tim: Do you know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such a dull tune. Regarding her voice, however, it’s not as out of place here as it was on that cover of Shining Light she did, which was just plain atrocious.

Tom: Secondly: surround it with something decent, not just whatever you happen to have kicked out of FL Studio that morning.

Tim: Yes, and try to blend it in just a slight bit. We have three and a half minutes of sound, split cleanly into three separate parts. The first and last of those sound exactly alike, and the middle bit sounds more or less like the sound you’d get if you put the original song on one of those A-B repeat things you got in MiniDisc players. I think here there’s about twenty seconds of sound clips played again and again for ten times that amount. This is absolutely pointless.

Tom: Thirdly: the video. Actually, Tim, you should comment on the video. It’s difficult for me to maintain the right level of anger when I’m being distracted by what appears to be a preview for Babestation.

Tim: To me it seems less of an advert for BabeStation than for a Minority Report era HMV. Just…what is it?

To sum up: I don’t think I can ever forgive you for the past couple of days. Thanks to you, I have heard two of the worst pieces of music, if either of them can justifiably be called that, of the year so far in far too short a space of time. I am now going to cheer myself up, by listening to one of the best pieces of music of the year so far all time.

Riva Starr feat. Noze – I Was Drunk

“I found myself utterly terrified 22 seconds in.”

Tom: A truck just pulled up outside my building, delivering something to the hotel opposite. The strains of an accordion, loud from the truck’s radio, wafted in through my window, and for a minute I thought the UK was finally starting to get the hang of Balkan turbofolk.

But no, it’s this somewhat bizarre number, set for release on the 26th September. What is it with the British charts lately and sampling strange instruments? This is getting major airplay, and it includes a damn squeezebox.

It’s dancable, I’ll give it that, but it’s lacking something – it’s a perfect middle-of-the-set track for DJs, designed to keep the energy on the dancefloor going.

Tim: Hmm. The video is considerably more interesting than the song. I found myself utterly terrified 22 seconds in, and spent a good thirty seconds trying to work out just how he managed to get so much milk on his moustache when he was drinking from a baby’s bottle. When I listened to it without the video, not a lot happened and I found it difficult to concentrate on. Definitely dance-floor fodder.

Tom: Basically, remember that time ████ snogged someone on the dance floor for about half an hour and, when they came up for air, found a big group of us dancing a conga in a circle around them? Yeah. It’s the perfect song for that.