ROMEO….MAGNIFICENT IN ALL ITS MANIFESTATIONS

Basement Jaxx had ended the 20th century as one of the hottest and most popular new pop/dance acts in the UK, thanks to debut album Remedy, a Top 5 hit that had also spawned four massive singles including the infectious Red Alert which was used on film soundtracks as well as the music in an advert for Coca-Cola.

It took a couple of years for the duo of Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe to emerge with new material, and when they did, it was with this instant classic:-

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Romeo

Released on 6 June 2001, it was met with enormous enthusiasm, helped immensely by a terrific video that paid homage to the Indian Bollywood films of the 70s.

Here’s a taste of the reaction from some of the media:-

It is groovy and luscious enough to be the next single from Destiny’s Child and can be likened to old school disco music. A bittersweet pop classic and will break your heart or make you dance in one frantic twitch, complete with a sassy disco-diva vocal, cornball lyrics, and cheesy new wave synths and background vocals that quickly establish the duo’s obsession with retro kitsch.

It’s also a frisky slip of spicy feminine pop perfectly tailored for maximum radio rotation (the lead vocal is delivered by UK R’n’B artist, Kele Le Rock).

But the song itself went beyond that tailor-made for the charts, as can be heard in this stripped-backed version that highlights it also works as a defiant feminine anthem that wouldn’t sound out of place at a Las Vegas cabaret night or the sort of song that Marc Almond would make a great job of covering:-

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Romeo (acoustic)

And finally, it was put in the hands of the Dewaele brothers, part of the Belgian indie-band Soulwax but who had branched off as 2 Many DJs under which they would become one of the world’s most sought after remix production team. One of their specialties was the mash-up in which the vocals from one song were played over the tune of another. Somehow, they made this one work with The Clash:-

mp3: Basement Jaxx – Magnificent Romeo

Originally issued as a 2 Many DJs white-label single, it was later included on a bonus disc when Basement Jaxx released a ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation in 2005.

JC

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