Jan 09

THE FT TOP 100 TRACKS OF ALL TIME No. 34: Shanice – I Love Your Smile

FT/8 comments • 683 views

It’s fourteen degrees centigrade in my room, much colder out, and at this point in January summer feels like a friend you’ve lost touch with and will never see again, but sometimes semi-recognise in the faces of strangers in the street; and in this song. 

I don’t remember a time when this song didn’t exist. I don’t remember any one time I’ve heard it on the radio. In my head it’s jumbled up with in-line-skating, loudly-patterned leggings, pineapple and cheese cubes on sticks, an oversaturated yellow mess of nostalgia beyond emotion. The song tells much the same story as Janet Jackson’s ‘Whoops Now’ four years later: school’s boring, her boss is lame, the only thing that gets her through is — is the chorus, the way it rolls with blithe certainty into the hook, whistling and tootling doo doo doos, as sure as summer. Vague discontent gives way to wordless contentment. 

You can’t hear this song and not feel the sun come out, somewhere inside — or even outside. I’ve been listening to this song over and over, writing this, and as I type I’ve just noticed the sun peek out from behind the clouds to shine its smile in through my window. Summer’s going to come back, inevitable as a laid-back drum loop, as heartwarming as a saxophone solo. So: smile!


  1. 1
    Pete Baran on 19 Jan 2009 #

    Because everyone should be able to hear it when reading this:

  2. 2
    Lex on 19 Jan 2009 #

    time came – and showed me your direction
    now I know I’ll never ever go back – taught me that!
    I can – be a better girl
    with the love you give, you rock my world


  3. 3
    Lex on 19 Jan 2009 #

    (as I think I’ve said before, this was my first ever favourite song, the very first time I loved a song so much that I had to hear it again and again and again, and – I was not aware, at this point, that the songs I heard on the radio were available for purchase in shops – I would constantly be changing the radio stations, hunting Shanice down.)

  4. 4
    Matthew on 19 Jan 2009 #

    One of those songs where I didn’t think I knew it just from reading the title and artist… and then OF COURSE I KNEW IT within a SECOND of it starting. If that’s not a mark of a great pop song I don’t know what is.

  5. 5
    c on 20 Jan 2009 #

    okay I do not remember the rap part! are there – different versions?

  6. 6
    Pete on 20 Jan 2009 #

    As far as I know Shanices rap is in every version. Because it brings in the breakdown and the Branford blowin’.

  7. 7
    WilliamJClinton on 30 Jan 2009 #

    I’ve been waiting 16 years for this song to get some love! I had this on a summer mixtape with “Feel Me Flow” > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Il-2Uzkpk

  8. 8
    Gareth Parker on 11 Jun 2021 #

    #2 in the UK in 1992, behind ‘Stay’ by Shakespears Sister. As C mentions (#5) I think the ‘no rap’ version might be the Driza Bone remix, which I believe to be on the ’92 single. The original version (?) first made the charts at number 55 near the end of ’91.

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