An Italian chop-shop job, lashing together riffs and a bassline from The Jacksons’ bombastic “Can You Feel It?”, verses from an obscure club track (“Drop A House” by Urban Discharge), bludgeoning 4/4 beats, and even a bit of crude speed garage style vocal stretching. None of which it’s at all famous for: “Feel It” is remembered mainly, if not only, for Maya’s iron-voiced question on the chorus: “WHAT she gonna look like with a CHIMNEY ON HER?”
It may only be a black eye, but from the force Maya gives it I’m seeing entire smokestacks toppled in vengeance upon this man-stealing hussy. (You certainly feel the fella in question has got away remarkably lightly). That image of destructive wrath is fully backed by the fantastic time-stretched segment, where Maya’s voice hulks out in distorted electronic rage.
The whole thing is remarkably crass – and the formula would topple into total cheapness a record later, with the Madonna-biting, amusingly-titled “If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better” (I did! It wasn’t!). But for this moment, it worked – “Feel It” appeared, shot to the top for a glorious and arbitrary instant, and then vanished before I could get sick of it. Its main weakness is that Maya’s vocals on the borrowed verses are sometimes a lot flatter than the chorus, but that aside it’s fine gonzo fun, the model of a one-week wonder.
Still, it’s not the first money-minded house respray we’ve bumped into in 1998, so I’ll try and answer the question: what makes this better than Jason Nevins, whose remixing was even more brutally straightforward? More imagination – not just the chimney, but working out how good the brisk anger of “Drop A House” would sound welded onto a pop song.
But it’s also the right pop song. “Can You Feel It?” is a gorgeous record, one I like more than “It’s Like That”, but its triumphalist utopian disco suits a full-on hard-house makeover a lot more than the cavernous noise of early rap. The rhythms match better, and the decadent pomp of the Jacksons’ song – released in the overripe autumn of the disco boom – can be turned towards violence surprisingly well. The Tamperer also borrows the right bits – the massed fanfares of “Can You Feel It”’s chorus, and the bassline (here oddly rubberised). Things that fit alongside a beat, in other words, rather than get smothered by it. Though on this showing, even the hardest beat seems unlikely to get in Maya’s way.