“If this had been on the first album, would we be looking back on it with nostalgia?”
Tom: You have my attention.
Tim: Good. Because Xillions, a British/American production duo, put out Somebody Like Me a couple of years back, and Scooter have now done, well, what they do best.
Tom: Well, that’s more like their old stuff, isn’t it? That could happily sit on one of their earlier albums. And Scooter have always been inspired by the KLF; it’s nice that they’re still referencing that in their videos.
Tim: It is a lot more like the old stuff, isn’t it? Take another track and stick a load of RAVE on it, and it’s all the better for it.
Tom: That “sixth chapter” reference is pointing out that there’s been another change of lineup: you’ll be glad to hear that Wikipedia has a handy diagram.
Tim: As ever. So, every now and again I forget that the actual title of Scooter’s biggest hit was actually Ramp! (The Logical Song), and now with this title that makes a lot of sense – make a load of rave stuff and give it a name, and then plonk it on top of a track that roughly fits. Wouldn’t work for everything, of course – I can’t exactly imagine Back In The U.K. (The Miss Marple Theme) gaining much traction – but it does work. As for whether this track works: yeah. Yeah, I think it does.
Tom: It’s never going to be a classic, but maybe that’s more a sign of the times: if this had been on the first album, would we be looking back on it with nostalgia?
Tim: You know, I think that’s quite possible. It’s a decent enough track to start from, Scooter’s gonna Scoot, and together they work nicely. It’s good.
Tim: Tom, I’ve a confession to make. Thing is, much as I love Scooter, and everything H.P. Baxxter stands for, I’ve been pretty poor at keeping up with their latest releases. As such, when I saw them on their COMPLETELY AMAZING 25th anniversary tour a couple of weeks ago, there were a few tracks I didn’t recognise.
Tom: But that could you still RAVE to?
Tim: Well, duh. Of all of them, though, this one kind of stuck in my head.
Tom: Oh. Oh dear. That’s… well, yes, that is textbook Scooter, isn’t it? I mean, much as I like them, that’s basically pushing all the way into self-parody.
Tim: So when I’d finished laughing, I kept on RAVING and then at the end of the gig I realised I shouldn’t have been that surprised at all. We’ve had a Supertramp song, a song from a musical for kids, even a film series theme being reworked – why not a song that, at least according to Google, is a lovely gentle Boyzone romantic number that was covered by Sutherland Brothers and Quiver twenty years earlier?
Tom: …you know, I’ve never replied with a GIF before here, but
Tim: The rest of it, of course, is absolutely classic Scooter – lengthy drum build with H.P. shouting over the top.
Tom: And shouting even more nonsense than usual!
Tim: Amazing, isn’t it? The first bit alone we’re talking about cherries not being important, and in the shouting verses proper we’ve a particular highlight of “Got no lamb, but that’s okay, I’m into chicken anyway”. Then we RAVE again before the return of that beautiful romantic chorus. Regardless of (in fact, partially because of) lyrical stupidity, this is brilliant.
Tim: The other week Scooter released their nineteenth (NINETEENTH) studio album; here’s one of the first tracks from it, which comes with a couple of rude words (and Jebroer’s a Dutch producer, by the way).
Tom: Please tell me Scooter have actually gone gabber. Please.
Tom: Oh wow they actually have for the… chorus? One of the choruses? One of the… look, I don’t know what this is, I just know I haven’t heard distorted bass like that in a long while and it’s amazing.
Tim: Yeahhhh…thing is, it’s hard to judge Scooter’s songs by any normal standard, really, because most of them aren’t really comparable in any way at all – not because of quality, more just in the way they exist.
Tom: In the words of HP Baxxter: YES.
Tim: But we can compare them against each other – God knows there are enough. The best ones typically have a decent hook (either original, or standard covers, or theme tunes from a 1960s series of murder mystery films), maybe a guest vocal and plenty of shouting. Here, I think we’ve got all three, and while it loses its way for twenty seconds towards the end, it picks it up again, and finishes nicely. I’m in.
Tom: Let’s be honest: the hook’s really not all that great — and given that it’s an English translation of the original, it also feels a bit low-effort for a first album track. Have Scooter actually supplied anything other than some shouting here? I’m not sure.
Tim: Huh – see, I though it might be a cover but couldn’t see an original. You’re right, there – although the first track off the album was actually Bora! Bora! Bora!, which didn’t seem to be much more than trying for an updated version of the Maria (I Like It Loud) chant.
Tom: And to be fair, there’s a reason that the world never saw many gabber tracks in the Top 40. But I can’t fault them for still going, still trying, and still SHOUTING LOUDLY.
Tom: Here is an Austrian folk-music band covering a song that probably should never have been covered by an Austrian folk-music band.
Tim: Hahahahahahaa oh that’s WONDERFUL.
Tom: So it turns out there’s an entire album devoted to covers of Scooter songs. This is perhaps the highlight.
Tim: Oh, what a highlight.
Tom: The main thing this shows is just how repetitive the original track actually is. With the trappings of trance music removed, it starts being just a bit of a dull song — and perhaps it gives us an insight into how those who don’t like trance feel about Scooter.
Tim: Thing is, Friends isn’t the best Scooter track by a long way, in terms of actual music. It is repetitive, yes and the lyrics are, well, not exactly thesis length. It is, however, one of the tracks that’s guaranteed to put a smile on my face, because of its simplicity, its happy melody and just general, I don’t know, friendliness, I suppose. And this? I reckon this has it just as much, and I almost prefer “Blieben Freunde” to “We’ll all be friends” rhythmically. This is GREAT.
Tom: Klostertaler started in 1976. The year after releasing this, they broke up. I don’t know if the two events were connected.
You’re probably thinking, “Hang on, I’ve heard this a lot.”
Tim: Their newest one, Army of Hardcore, is a bit crap, so we won’t talk about it. This previous one’s still only two months old, though, so let’s have a listen. (Couple of gratuitous F-words up ahead, if you care.)
Tim: Let’s get the small things out of the way. First: his yelling. Heard it all before, standard fare, but to be honest it’s a bit distracting.
Tom: The yelling is part and parcel of Scooter – you couldn’t have them without HP Baxxter BRINGING THE NOISE.
Tim: Second: female vocalist. Not sure we’ve had one before (at least not on a single release), but I like it – works well.
Tom: Not without it being extensively reprocessed, certainly. But then, Scooter went jumpstyle for a while, and they seem to change direction every now and then: having actual vocals is fine by me.
Tim: Now let’s talk about the big thing. The massive thing. Which that you’re probably thinking, “Hang on, I’ve heard this a lot. How is a new Scooter track so big in 2012?” Well, sorry to disappoint you, but it isn’t. The lovely Million Voices by Otto Knows, though, is. Was. Whatever. The point is, theft.
Tom: Well, let’s not be so hasty. Scooter has always sampled or re-made tracks: I’m Raving was Walking in Memphis, Rebel Yell was Rebel Yell, and Ramp! was The Logical Song.
Tim: Sort of, but those were all direct covers (although I’m Raving has a slightly convoluted legal history – they covered “Raving I’m Raving” by Shut Up And Dance, although not before that track had been banned and proceeds been directed to charity following intervention by Marc Cohn’s people).
Here, though, it’s different – they’ve just tweaked it enough not to get sued, and now I’ve got a dilemma. We’ve established before that I’m happy to take the ‘probably a coincidence’ view, but this is such a blatant rip-off that anyone with an ounce of moral conviction can’t help but feel a little queasy.
Tom: I’d find it difficult to believe that there hasn’t been some kind of agreement about sampling or remixing here.
Tim: Well, this tweet from Otto Knows would suggest otherwise.
Tom: Ouch. It’s up to the lawyers, then.
Tim: But yet. BUT YET. Much as I love it, I always felt that Million Voices could do with a bit more – three minutes of “ey ey ey ey ey, ah ah ah ah ah” is fine, but after a few plays it gets a bit, well, samey, and I’ve occasionally wondered what an added vocal layer would sound like. And dammit, it turns out it sounds great. So, I shouldn’t like this because it’s evil stealing and all that, but I do like it because it sounds really good. Oh, God.
Tom: It’s an improvement. That’s not even an ironic statement, which is saying something for Scooter. But you’re right: it’s a ripoff.
Tim: It’s not been long sine we last covered them, but here’s their first track of 2012.
Tom: OH DEAR.
Tim: Indeed. It’s really not the best song they’ve done – in fact, I’d say it’s a considerable dip below the average, with a few things I’m not so keen on.
Tom: All the component parts of Scooter are there, but somehow they just don’t work together this time. It’s not happy enough. It’s not mad enough. It’s not high-pitched enough.
Tim: In a nut-shell, yes. There’s the auto-tune, say. I can sort of understand them auto-tuning the chorus (although I’d have preferred it if they’d record original vocals), but why stick auto-tune on the main man himself? It doesn’t seem right.
Tom: It sounds like a track “featuring Scooter”. The emphasis isn’t on them – it’s on that lead vocal.
Tim: Yes, that’s just it, actually. Also, it’s just struck me that the best Scooter tracks have started out higher-pitched – that is, started with singing, or with some of the upbeat tuney bits. This, though, starts out heavy with HP giving it all he’s got, and it doesn’t really give you much time to duck out or get a bit warmed up. Is that a valid criticism? It seems a bit silly, but I think I’d prefer this if we went straight to the chorus at the start.
They know what to deliver, and they deliver it in spades.
Tim: Somehow, we’ve never featured Scooter doing a proper track, only a mash-up. Let’s change that, with a new(ish) song that starts out like something your grandparents might enjoy. That doesn’t last for long, though.
Tom: That is exactly what I expect, and want, from Scooter. I can’t fault it. They know what to deliver, and they deliver it in spades.
Tim: The best Scooter tunes have always combined some sort of singing with H. P. Baxxter’s (I promise you, I did not know that off-hand) yelling, and I think this isn’t much of an exception.
Tom: Incidentally, I did know that offhand.
Tim: What’s she singing about? Some sort of rubbish about love, it seems, but H. P. whatsisface soon interrupts which the far more appropriate ‘Turn it up! Yes!’.
The Logical Song was absolutely superb, and vastly better than the original (of whose existence I was entirely ignorant until eighteen months ago).
Tom: Wait, what? Really? I’m astonished by that – the original was a classic. Mind you, we’ve found in the past that we both have unexpected gaps in our music knowledge.
Tim: There’s Friends, a ridiculously over-enthusiastic song that would immediately end all wars if played to the world. There’s Endless Summer, which will get anyone up for partying, whatever their thoughts may have been thirty seconds previously.
I hereby declare that Scooter make fantastic tracks, perfect for any occasion. I’m just gutted that their tribute act, Moped, aren’t still going. Well, I say tribute, but I think it’s meant to be more of a parody; parody implies a greater level of absurdity, though, and here we have lyrics like ‘Boom boom, bang bang, slippy like banana man’ that remove all possibility of that.
Oh, a classic. I bought this when it came out. Is that something to be ashamed of?
Tim: Oh, a classic. I bought this when it came out. Is that something to be ashamed of?
Tom: I think you were probably just stunned by it all. I mean, this is Status Quo. Okay, I can see them allowing the sampling – but also turning up for the video, which is basically “Walk This Way” only featuring people without a septum?
Also, Scooter have been going for decades now. How on earth does their lead sing… er, lead talking guy… look like he’s still in his twenties?
Tim: This is Scooter – it’s only now you’re asking about some sort of supernatural weirdness?
Tom: Fair point. I do love how they got to number 1 in the UK – the new album came with a “bonus disc” which was basically a greatest hits compilation.
Tim: The strange thing about this is that until about thirty seconds before the end, it sounds like two different songs cut up together with no interaction.
Tom: I hadn’t noticed that! You’re exactly right. That explains the end of the video though – it’s only when the hammer slams through the wall that the two songs actually combine.
Tim: Some sort of depth from Scooter. This is officially very odd.