Feb 13

WHIGFIELD – “Saturday Night”

Popular77 comments • 9,330 views

#710, 17th September 1994

209390716;encoding=jpg;size=300;fallback=defaultImage DEE DEE NANANA!

“Saturday Night” has two big things going for it. The main thing is that it’s one of those iconically simple pop hits, like a “Louie Louie” for the Thomas Cook set. How can you tell when something is iconically simple and not just, er, simple? I’d say when it never actually ends up irritating you. Obviously that’s entirely subjective and I expect to be swamped with annoyed Whigophobes in the comments, but for me this record has lucked onto something sweet and primal. Not, though, irresistible – I’ve generally been pleased to hear “Saturday Night” and am content that it has made the world a happier place in some small fashion, but I wouldn’t own it, or put it on for fun, or even learn the dance. If anything, I like this most for its influence – the enduring post-Whigfield school of plinky-plonk smilecore Eurodance which produced feelgood gems (Ang Lee’s “2 Times”, ATC’s “Around The World”) through the rest of the decade.

But actually “Saturday Night”‘s resistibility is its second fine quality. It is that rare holiday smash which doesn’t hustle its listener. Most of them – from Conga to Macarena – carry a strong tang of coercion amidst the Piz Buin and Pina Colada, a vampiric need to co-opt their audience into the Fun. Not so “Saturday Night”, which is charmingly unassuming, thanks mainly to Whigfield’s matter-of-fact performance. If you do stick around, your reward is a lovely bit of house piano heading for the fade. But this song is never pushy. It’s Saturday night. Whigfield is having a great time. Maybe you are too. You don’t have to be. It won’t spoil anything. Have fun if you like. It’s up to you.



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  1. 31
    Another Pete on 25 Feb 2013 #

    #24 See also the single cover for What’s Up by DJ Miko though at least that looks like a speaker it was clearly the design of choice for that record label at the time.

  2. 32
    23 Daves on 25 Feb 2013 #

    #27 – I lived in mixed (international/ non-international) halls of residence around the time this hit broke through, and I can confirm that “Party time” was a phrase hurled about a lot by the Dutch students in particular. In fact I used to live next door to somebody who would bellow it at weird hours whenever he was excited or drunk, and he was a rocker in all other respects with his Hendrix and Floyd records.

    The character Ólafur in the brilliant Icelandic film “Bjarnfreðarson” (and the three TV series leading up to it) is obsessed with party time and “throwing the best parties” as well. Does anyone utter those words in Britain or America? It seems too mild, somewhere between a Hyacinth Bucket “do” with fine china and doilies or a place where jelly and ice cream and some bouncy castle frolics may be expected. It doesn’t sound appropriate somehow.

  3. 33
    Auntie Beryl on 25 Feb 2013 #

    #31, #24 The label was Systematic, a short-lived London Records imprint, seemingly a home for for dance releases considered a little mainstream for ffrr. Systematic also gave us Ann Lee amongst others.


  4. 34
    Another Pete on 25 Feb 2013 #

    #32 Is one of the TV series set in a Reykjavik petrol station?

  5. 35
    Cumbrian on 25 Feb 2013 #

    Re: comments on “party time”, when abouts did this start to become a saying? I suspect, but have no proof, that it might all be down to Wayne’s World (and 2) using it in the title sequence of the show within the film (Wayne’s World, party time, excellent, guitars bit, end) though if usage predates this as a temporary blip on 90s culture, I could, as usual, be talking out of my hat.

    Despite listening to Saturday Night several times over the last two days, I have nothing to say about it. It is just kind of there for me. It is not positively hateful, I reckon, but it is not something I would choose to listen to. Maybe a 4 or 5? Sounds about right. There is some proper awful euro dance rubbish to come up. I think I will likely spare the rod here to use it later on.

  6. 36
    old man sukrat on 25 Feb 2013 #


    Sent from my iPhone

  7. 37
    Steve Mannion on 25 Feb 2013 #

    Alex Party’s twinkly banger ‘Read My Lips’ was another Eurodance hit from this time insistent (but in this case excitedly whispering it) that “tonight…it’s party time”. None others spring to mind for me right now tho.

  8. 38
    23 Daves on 25 Feb 2013 #

    #34 – That’s the one! Brilliant stuff too. I actually saw the film while holidaying in Iceland and that’s also something that deserves much broader praise/ a proper release here.

  9. 39
    Auntie Beryl on 25 Feb 2013 #

    #37 Cubic 22, Night In Motion?

  10. 40
    Alan on 25 Feb 2013 #

    the icelandic petrol station thing was on bbc4 last year

  11. 41
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 25 Feb 2013 #

    I read #34 as “#32 is one of the TV series set in a Reykjavik petrol station” — ie Another Pete identifying what 23 Daves had mentioned as JUST ONE OF THE MANY ICELANDIC TV SERIES SET IN A PETROL STATION.

    Now that I’ve parsed it correctly I feel strangely let down.

  12. 42
    Chelovek na lune on 25 Feb 2013 #

    #39. Aha, Yes. But that one was really rather good….

  13. 43
    flahr on 26 Feb 2013 #

    Anyway, listening to it: all I remembered of it was the title line, although it’s not really as if there’s too much more to it than that. All of my memories of it are linked to Butlins, which is not overly surprising. Pleasantly dinky but I get bored before the end, so I suppose that’s 3/4 territory.

  14. 44
    swanstep on 26 Feb 2013 #

    SN’s background duck-quacking reminds me of a rather more musical synth/backing vox part/hook on Urban Cookie Collective’s The Key The Secret (from 1993 I believe, but along with Alex Party’s Wrap Me Up, I don’t think I heard either until 1995/6).

    Having listened to SN a few more times, I confess it’s become slightly less tiresome. Have, however, been completely enjoying lots of other great ‘Saturday Night’-themed songs. To my surprise, I rate Cold Chisel ahead of EWF and Blue Nile and Suede (that has to be a first!). Anyone else’s fave?

  15. 45
    Patrick Mexico on 26 Feb 2013 #

    My Popular debut! Thought of starting with Love is All Around but it’s such a daunting rock face of a hit (and not a very good one, coupled with summer ’94 being a glorious epiphany for the nine-year-old me) I’ll return to that later. By September, I seriously believed Wet Wet Wet’s behemoth was part of a sick global conspiracy, to permanently end the charts I’d been following – and taping ever since Mr Blobby kicked Take That’s jelly and ice cream stained butts (Yeah, I know..) A bit like when a cartoon character was killed off, the credits would shrink to a postage stamp on the ubiquitous CBBC broom cupboard (showing my age/tender years here!) and Messrs Forrester/Peters/Crane would have that blank “I told you so, kids” expression, pulling a… ah, let’s not, bunny alert… it’s something a long way down the line but with a similar “dee dee da da da” gimmick. With added gender dysphoria. But let’s not dwell on that.

    Anyway, though this was undeniably refreshing after wading through 15 weeks of Richard Curtisland treacle (enough to drive a man to Divine Brown!), I still find this a somewhat unpalatable number, like chewing through a tiny, overpriced stick of candyfloss. Everything that works brilliantly in its favour (great hook, iconic dance routine, lyrics definitive to the record’s atmosphere) threatens to destroy any sense of credibility (the same hook all the way through, embarrassing dance routine, lyrics of tooth decaying cliches not seen on this level since Sabrina – Boys (Summertime Love) – and who, ahem, came to that for the lyrics? I’m so sorry..)

    I also don’t like what this eventually did to “clubland” (note small C!) chart-toppers.. okay, all the following could be filed under “Fun For All The Family” as well as full-blooded commercial decadence dance, but compared to what made me love Ride on Time, No Limit, Mr Vain, Ebeneezer Goode, and 3AM Eternal, this just sounds like music for little girls.. not necessarily the worst thing for a number 1, but there’s far worse where that came from appearing here soon. The problem is, the production’s so polite and locked-in you lose the kitsch appeal which is always a vital ingredient of this genre. On the flipside, I loved that Tony Di Bart record but it’s meant to be tasteful, and adult… if SN wants to be juvenile it should actually try and have a bloody good go rather than faxing it in.

    And anyway I’m more of a “Think of You” man myself, because one of the lyrics sounds like “I need you inside me tonight.” (Yes, I know I’m this blog’s resident sacked Carry On writer.. I’ll change tack soon, don’t worry. It’s late. I’m single.)

    Worst review ever. But definitely not the worst record ever.


    Credit where credit’s due – that summer I was worried not about a tragic clown or evil monkey haunting my childhood wardrobe, but under my pillow finding a, er, hirsute Pellow. Sannie Charlotte Carlson, you’re a life saver.

  16. 46
    punctum on 26 Feb 2013 #

    this just sounds like music for little girls

    that’s more than enough Taliban music criticism, thanks.

  17. 47
    Tim on 26 Feb 2013 #

    A “Party Time” from Jamaica in the 60s (and a total winner):


  18. 48
    Rory on 26 Feb 2013 #

    Welcome, Patrick!

    Chalk me up as one of the indifferent; I’d give it 4. Whigfield made little mark on the Australian charts until 1995 (with “Sexy Eyes”, which peaked at number 6) — as swanstep points out, Cold Chisel own “Saturday Night” there.

  19. 49
    James BC on 26 Feb 2013 #

    And a welcome to Patrick from me, too.

    Interesting the few mentions of Ann Lee, as 2 Times had the same producer/mastermind as this, I believe (sorry if you all knew that already). How many other cherished eurodance hits had the great Larry lurking in the shadows?

    (Given that the Taliban banned all music when in power, #46 is hardly apposite.)

  20. 50
    Tom on 26 Feb 2013 #

    Hello Patrick, and it wouldn’t be a Popular welcome without a callout from Marcello so don’t mind that.

    The Saturday song I most want to hear right now is “Saturday (Oooh, Oooh)” by Ludacris. Doubt that’s my actual favourite though.

    As for “party time” (+1 GMT), all I have to say is that when it’s time to party we will always party hard.

  21. 51
    punctum on 26 Feb 2013 #

    If only Andrew WK had covered “Saturday Night.”

  22. 52
    Patrick Mexico on 26 Feb 2013 #

    Re 46: Don’t worry, I’m just hamming my opinions up for the first post.

    (This isn’t meant to be a terrible Danish pun… but tonight I’m watching The Illing, where Adam Yauch and MCA solve crimes in chunky knitwear.)

  23. 53
    Alan Connor on 26 Feb 2013 #

    His colleagues drove off with what remained of the bodies and Wallander returned to his car. He didn’t follow behind, not yet. He tossed his revolver onto the dashboard and rummaged on the floor for a cassette. The music filled the vehicle. De de na na na. A voice from another Denmark, from across the generations. The gulls screeched across the surface of the Skagerrak.

  24. 54
    old man sukrat on 26 Feb 2013 #

    are you ready to SKAGGERAWK??!!! they screeched

  25. 55
    Alan Connor on 26 Feb 2013 #

    And all the cats on the Kattegat said COOOOL.

  26. 56
    enitharmon on 26 Feb 2013 #

    Am I right in thinking that Alan Hull of Lindisfarne sued the writer(s) for plagiarism? It being basically a ripoff of Fog on the Tyne?

    Alan died not long after, I think, which is a shame because he was an all-round good egg and a fine songwriter. Lindisfarne were huge when I was a sixth-former. I fear they are largely forgotten these days.

  27. 57
    Billy Smart on 26 Feb 2013 #

    Re #45 No, she *is* singing “I need you inside me tonight” in ‘Think Of You’. I think that a large part of what makes that single so affecting lies in its surprising lack of euphemism.

  28. 58
    old man sukrat on 26 Feb 2013 #

    he did! And successfully too

    (this perhaps explains why the tune has seemed naggingly familiar and was not become annoying with repetition)

  29. 59
    Pete on 26 Feb 2013 #
  30. 60
    mark g on 26 Feb 2013 #

    Not like Gazza’s version then?

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