Saturday Flashback: U96 – Heaven


Tim: Dance cover of a classic song; despite the title, I can guarantee you it won’t be anything like what you expect.

Tom: You are right, I did not expect that. I should have done, given we’ve talked about U96 before. That is prototypical 90s Eurodance right there.

Tim: I’d ask why anybody would think to do this, but to be honest I just don’t care, because basically WHAT A BANGER. ABSOLUTE TUNE. You’ve got fifteen seconds of ‘this sounds familiar, where’s it from?’, before your first ‘OH LET’S GO’, then thirty seconds later you’ve stopped going crazy and can think a bit and you’re ‘huh, it’s…it’s…it’s…OH, it’s that, this is odd’ but before you can finish that thought it GOES OFF again, and after that it calms down briefly and you wonder why they’ve completely ripped it off but then RAVE ON MOTHERFLIPPERS and it JUST DOESN’T STOP so right now WHO THE HELL CARES.

Tom: Which, let’s be honest, is the standard I hold most 90s Eurodance to: is it a BANGER? This just about qualifies.

Tim: The next morning, on the mother of all come downs, you look it up on your phone, because obviously you’ve Shazzamed it, and you discover that Cyndi Lauper’s got a writing credit on it so everything’s beautiful. Like in heaven, really.

Saturday Flashback: Guenta K. – Das Boot 2008

“It’s stuck in my head, and I think it sounds like a CBBC theme tune.”

Tom: Here’s an odd one for you. This is a 2008 cover of U96’s 1991 hit Das Boot – which was itself a reworking of the theme from the 1981 German submarine movie. I bring this to you for two reasons: one, because it’s stuck in my head, and two, because I think it sounds startlingly like the theme tune from CBBC’s Incredible Games and I want to know that I’m not crazy.

Tim: Oooookay…

Tim: Don’t worry, you’re not crazy – they do sound quite similar. Dance remixes of movie themes are tricky things, and I sometimes get a bit nervous before listening to them. When they’re done right, and convey the same tone as the original piece, they can be brilliant (see Tiësto’s Pirates, DJ Sakin’s Braveheart, Airbase’s The Rock).

Tom: You’re right about all those except Tiesto’s Pirates, where all he’s done is create an entirely new song and then jam a messed-up version of He’s A Pirate in there somewhere. The great thing about all those tracks, though, is that if you don’t like one particular mix – the vocals in Sakin’s Braveheart really annoy me, for example – there’ll be another one along in a minute.

Tim: On the other hand (which is, unfortunately, a much larger hand), they can be absolutely horrendous. One example is DJ Stef’s version of Titanic, where the guy shouting ‘Freeze’ as a vocal really doesn’t help.

Tom: You know, it used to be that aspiring dance producers (or, in other words, “teenage kids on their parents’ computer with a pirated copy of FruityLoops”) had to go out of their house with a CD, attract the attention of a DJ, prove they were half-decent, and steadily work their way up the ranks. Now all they have to do is pick a vaguely popular song, remix it badly, quickly jam a video together, lob it up onto YouTube where it’ll be played in low-bitrate mono to most users, and presto: half a million listeners.

Damn kids. Get off my lawn.

Tim: Das Boot 2008, I think, belongs nicely in the first group, although I don’t get the counting to ten bit. U96’s had ‘one, two, three, techno’, which made a vague sort of sense (I’d have preferred ‘eins, zwei, drei’ but that’s just me), whereas this just counts to ten and then… nothing. Come to think of it, it’s a bloody odd cover – aside from the same source material, they’re quite different. The U96 version is much darker, even though that’s a weird way to describe a dance tune, what with all the clanking noises*, and it has far more vocal. If Guenta K. hadn’t used the small amount of vocal that he did, it would just be another redoing of the theme music, focusing almost exclusively on just the bit of the theme that people know with just enough background variation to keep it interesting, and it would probably be better for it.

* I am well aware that this is an appalling word to use to describe it, but I honestly can’t really think of a better one, and I think it describes it well enough for you to know what I mean.