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

HIPS SWAYING

It was back in the Autumn of 1999 that I first came across Basement Jaxx, thanks to two of their singles being played in all the pubs and clubs I found myself traipsing into on the Costa Del Sol while on a golfing holiday with a crowd of mates.

Now I’ve never been someone who has dismissed dance music as ‘not for me’, but to be honest I don’t have that much of the genre in the collection. But Red Alert and Rendez-Vu had become such an integral part of the week that I set out to track them down on my return to Glasgow.

In the end, I bought the LP Remedy and found that there was an awful lot to like about this lot. Indeed, not long afterwards they played a show at Glasgow Barrowlands and I dragged Mrs Villain along and we had a right good time despite being among the oldest folk in the venue, and that more than anything else convinced me that Felix and Simon were well worth keeping an eye on.

Since then, we’ve gone along to see them on a few more occasions and never been disappointed, although it’s fair to say that the shows at the Barowlands outshone those at the Academy, mainly due to the sound at the latter venue often being problematic. They’re an act that always get me off my seat and onto the dance floor – as can be testified by a good friend of ours who, somewhere, has video footage of myself and Mrs Villain dancing to Red Alert at his 40th Birthday party a number of years ago….the icing on the cake being it was a fancy dress bash and we were there as Austin Powers and Felicity Shagwell.

I’ve also picked up cheap second-hand copies of the two singles that made such an inital impression; I flipped a coin on which to feature – the image at the head of this picture gives away which song won..as do the mp3s:-

mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Rendez-Vu (single edit)
mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Miracles Keep On Playin’ (Red Alert Remix)
mp3 : Basement Jaxx – All U Crazies

Also forgot 2 Many DJs took a Basement Jaxx number and mashed it up with something by The Clash; it was made available on a bonus disc when the Jaxx released a Greatest Hits CD:-

mp3 : Basement Jaxx vs The Clash – Magnificent Romeo

JC

JUST FOR YOU, HERE’S A LOVE SONG

indexFrom wiki:-

Romeo” is a song by British electronic dance duo Basement Jaxx, which was released on their second studio album Rooty (2001). The single was released on 4 June 2001 as the first single from the studio album. The song received acclaim from music critics, with many referring it as one of the best dancefloor anthems to date. The song also had good commercial success, becoming one of Basement Jaxx’s top international hits, peaking at number six in their native UK, and also scored a top ten in countries like the US, Norway and New Zealand.

mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Romeo

Critics used words like joyful, bouncy, cheerful and catchy. And to all intent and purposes, the tune and thus the song is just that. But, just as Billy Bragg‘s stripping back of Jeane (as featured a few weeks back) demonstrated a new feel to a song, so does this specially recorded version for a BBC Radio 1 session:-

mp3 : Basement Jaxx – Romeo (acoustic version)

Not so joyful and cheery now……….