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Jul 13

SHAGGY – “Boombastic”

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#727, 23rd September 1995

The key to dealing with hot weather is economy of effort – do the things you really have to with the least possible fuss, and the rest of the time, slow down, refrigerate. Which makes “Boombastic” a great heatwave hit, whenever it actually reached #1: there’s a ton of space in this record; shady, cooling space. Around the space, snatches of instrumentation: a bric-a-brac of sounds, almost unrelated, all doing the minimum. A hammered piano note; a plink higher up the register; a repeating see-saw noise; a loping bass. Drums snap and sometimes boom; a guitar confines itself to a terse lick or two then gives a sudden, thrilling squeal. It’s pop production as a fairground dark ride, a set of looping mechanisms forming themselves into a world for all the family to enjoy (or imitate in the playground).

And Shaggy is the benevolent monarch of this world, giving a comical, flirtatious, crowd-tickling performance, his army of mechanical instruments dancing in and out of his phrasing. His main trick here is using his voice like a yo-yo, winding his vowels out on “rohhhhhh-“ before he flicks the word back “-mantic!”. But every few bars he does something entertaining, endearing or teasing with that gruff, rubbery voice of his. The Gee whiz-please-breeze-keys-ease-sneeze-cheeze-peas verse is probably the highlight, but the whole thing is a summertime delight whose cheerful vibe hides its elegant construction.

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    If this was number 1 when you were born paste [stork-boy] or [stork-girl] into the start of your comment :)

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