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Mar 15

OXIDE AND NEUTRINO – “Bound 4 Da Reload (Casualty)”

Popular86 comments • 7,989 views

#857, 6th May 2000

bound reload “Certain guys can’t face the fact of what we’ve done
Sold over a quarter of a million
Casualty went straight to number one
And still they wanna cuss come on
Oh yeah about the Casualty theme?
Well no one controls the scene
So you do what you want and you do what you like and you do what you please”
– Oxide and Neutrino, ‘Up Middle Finger’

There’s more than one way to make an 18 year old into a pop star. Craig David was a record industry dream – UK garage as a cradle for a new generation of international stars. Oxide and Neutrino represented a different future, one the biz had far less idea how to cope with in the long term. Though for now, and for the duo’s record label East West, the success of “Bound 4 Da Reload” was actually business as usual: find a hot sound in the clubs or on the pirates, license it, push it onto the charts. The main opposition to Oxide and Neutrino’s overnight success came from within garage – the pirates and the clubs in open disagreement. “Reload”, belligerent, snotty and unsophisticated, was a flashpoint record for the scene’s internal politics and anxieties.

So what was the problem? It was partly generational. A few months later, the duo scored another hit, their third: “Up Middle Finger” was a scornful, bitter attack on the garage tastemakers who’d disdained their debut. The people they had in mind were DJs in or near their thirties who helped nurture UK Garage into a take on dance music that balanced the soulful and the futurist. DJ Spoony of the Dreem Teem, for instance, whose recent elevation to Radio 1’s resident garage expert made him one of the most powerful individuals in the country’s pop scene – and who was not especially enamoured of what the younger MCs and posses (like Oxide and Neutrino’s sprawling So Solid Crew) were doing. Those kids – late teens, early 20s – were starting to turn turning their back on the smoother 2-step sound and pushing darker, harder-edged elements from hip-hop and rave further up in the music.

It’s possible to make too much of these internal divisions, to overplay how brutal a break productions like DJ Oxide’s represented. After all, you only have to go back a year or two – to 187 Lockdown’s thrilling “Gunman” – to find the mocking, timestretched samples, skeletal keyboard refrains and gunshot sounds of “Bound 4 Da Reload” on a Top 40 hit. But the split was real: there’s no sign of Oxide and Neutrino on early 2001 compilations from established garage brands like Pure Silk or Twice As Nice, and “Up Middle Finger” showed how keenly the snubs were felt.

Outside the context of garage beefs and generational splits, in the wider world of pop this blog explores, “Reload” is a shocking, Martian interruption, the charts’ transmitter suddenly hijacked. Again, you can overplay this angle. It’s not the fact that a couple of kids had made a white label and hit No.1 that surprises, or even that it’s kids from South and East London coming up via pirate radio. Tracks had been jumping from the pirate stations to white labels to the Top 5 for over a decade by this point. It’s harder to imagine an Oxide And Neutrino style success now than it was then, but that’s another issue.

But the explanations don’t account for the sound of this thing. Other white label successes tended to be tracks whose pop qualities were a little more overt. When SL2 or even early Prodigy – the obvious precursor to Oxide and Neutrino, as the duo’s “No Good 2 Me” made official – made it into the Top 10, their records worked as pop crossover. They were a dayglo filter on more subterranean activities. “Reload” has a massive gimmick for its hook – the theme tune from BBC hospital soap Casualty, which meshes with the production eerily well – but that’s all it concedes to pop. The rest of the track is raw in a way number ones very rarely are. Most chart music colours itself in, filling up its spaces to fill the airwaves better. Not so “Reload”, bumping along on deep bass that makes the track feel empty and jagged, its ideas and incidents splintered. A repeated sample from Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels blasts a hole in the song where its chorus should be – on the video, a bad-trip travelogue through a rave, kids bend double in agony when the sample hits, then look up and crack into a grin. The malign hilarity of the track summed up. “Reload” is – as much as a 250,000 selling record can be – hermetic, existing on its own terms not pop’s or even garage’s: you either know them, accept them, or turn away baffled.

Beyond its starkness, “Reload” has another weapon: its vocalist. Neutrino is not likely to feature on many lists of the great British MCs – his thick, phlegm-clotted rapping has never been especially expressive, and even within So Solid he was quickly overshadowed by other vocalists. But he’s perfect and important here, because his flow on “Reload” feels so faithful to the sound of his era’s pirate radio. Judging from surviving YouTube clips – it would be wrong to pretend I was there, listening, at the time – he has simply turned up and done exactly what he would have done over this beat, mid-show on Delight FM. It’s in the way he rolls out the MCs arsenal, from prepared bars, to scatting, to call and response, to simply marking time over the beat – “Digga digga dee, digga digga dee”. Neutrino is what turns “Reload” from a novelty into a snapshot. The only precedent I can think of for this at Number One is “The Special AKA Live!” – another short, unvarnished sketch of club music and subculture, plonked at the top of the charts with little compromise and less explanation.

And there’s something else vital about Neutrino – the fact he’s on the track at all. Oxide and Neutrino might not have been the first kids to break from Brixton bedrooms and parties into the Top Ten, but however important MCs were on radio or in the clubs during the rave era, they hardly made it onto records. With the rise of MCs on record, UK garage and its people had a voice, a host of voices. Once that door had opened it would be hard to close.

8

Comments

  1. 1
    flahr on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Obviously I know Scottish Football Administration about this or the context of this, but man, just listen to that sound: [bound 7 da reload]

  2. 2
    Ricardo on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Fantastic record, still to this day. It might not have survived in terms of recurrent airplay or even in critical terms. But just as all those ‘ardkore tunes paved the way for jungle, “Bound 4 Da Reload” is essentially proto-grime. Of course a certain other bunny featuring this lot’s bruvs was even more instrumental on that respect. But a milestone is a milestone, so “Bound 4 Da Reload” it is.

  3. 3
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Yeah, we have lots of opportunity – far more than I imagined in the early years of Popular – to talk about grime here, so I didn’t mention it in this one.

    Oh, another obvious precedent- even down to the name really – “Double Barrel”. Which got the same mark as this and the Special AKA if I remember myself rightly.

  4. 4
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Other O & N singles/tracks I can remember: “No Good 2 Me” is a bit unneccesary, “Up Middle Finger” is fantastic but SO petty, “Devil’s Nightmare” is their other early standout – awesome bit of garage goth. I don’t remember the second album single(s) at all – “Rap Dis” and another one.

  5. 5
    Ricardo on 2 Mar 2015 #

    You’re right, we will. It’s just that – and without wanting to give too much away – those will probably mostly be in the sense that it had to lose the grime, in order to get the hit.

  6. 6
    swanstep on 2 Mar 2015 #

    This one’s new to me…and a bit of a shock I think it’s fair to say! The gunshots and general abrasiveness remind me of Dre’s ‘The Day the Niggaz Took Over’, a monster of a track that, needless to say, never bothered the top of the charts in the US or anywhere else. So this record feels like some sort of signal achievement (’90s chart-pillaging sonic blasts like ‘Setting Sun’ and ‘Firestarter’ are probably useful comparisons) – count me impressed:
    7 (may go higher as I listen more to it this week)

  7. 7
    weej on 2 Mar 2015 #

    I was confused at this by the time, not sure whether it was brilliant or ridiculous, not realising that the answer was “both.” Now it just sounds a few years ahead of the curve, though the concept of the track (using that casualty theme is a masterstroke) gives me expectations that it can never really live up to.

    This is a good place to leave this article from 2002 in which Alexis Petridis accompanies Oxide & Neutrino to a gig at SxSW(!) where they are accompanied by My Vitriol(!!) and Elbow(!!!!!)

  8. 8
    JoeWiz on 2 Mar 2015 #

    A real shock to the system this, a cold, almost disturbing sound that meant nothing to me in 2000 but now seems oddly vital and necessary. The song itself does nothing for me, but in comparison to some of the cartoonish sounds of UK Garage we’ll encounter in due course, this sounds quite stark.
    Should’ve snuck a Derek Thompson cameo in the video, though.

  9. 9
    pink champale on 2 Mar 2015 #

    As I said when this was covered on Which Decade… the first time I encountered B4DR was approriately absurd

    While I was at a bus stop in Peckham a car fully of slightly dorky white teens pulled up, windows down, heads nodding awkwardly, absolutely blasting out this laughable…thing. All bass and Casualty and gunshots. A passing black girl took dire exception and unleashed a lecture of awsome fury at them about the inadvisability of them coming round here playing that shit. They slunk off and I was amused.

    Imagine my suprise when it subsequently transpired that this bizarre thing was a) actually a proper record and b) was number one (of the two, I think a) is somehow the more surprising). It’s brilliant of course. As Weej says, ridiculous too, with the two qualities being indivisible.

    (Incidentally, I’d always assumed the girl’s beef was that the blokes were idiots pretending to be hard [insert Guy Ritchie reference) or something, but reading Tom’s excellent write up, perhaps it was actually the Garage Schism in action).

    And finally, while mockney gangster films were clearly a massive pox (still are! Jeff from Coupling was in one on Film 4 last night) I have to say that “look, can everyone stop getting shot” is a great line.

  10. 10
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #9 Yes this sample is basically the only good thing to come out of the entire woeful trend!

  11. 11
    Alan on 2 Mar 2015 #

    I’d defend just “Lock, Stock…”. A friend at the time described it as Wodehouse with guns which I still think holds well (substitute a cow-shaped creamer jug in place of guns)

  12. 12
    Alan on 2 Mar 2015 #

    i reckon this is within the purlieus of mash-up country too

  13. 13
    wichitalineman on 2 Mar 2015 #

    This is probably the place to mention my obsession with music from “the year 2000”, a date that seemed like an unimaginable future all the way through my childhood and teenage years.

    Bound 4 Da Reload is the Popular entry that probably comes closest to what would have sounded unimaginable in, say, 1966. It’s so raw, unnerving and (as people have already pointed out) hilarious.

    I completely missed it at the time, so airplay must have been fleeting. My first reaction on hearing B4DR a few years back was ‘what the hell is that’? After several listens I couldn’t work out if it was awful or amazing – which is usually the sign that it’s a record I will absolutely love on the tenth play (see also Adventures on the Wheels of Steel, J&MC’s Upside Down).

  14. 14
    Rory on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Great comments here – a new and confusing listen to me too, ridiculous and possibly even brilliant. The sample in lieu of chorus sounds utterly fresh in our Popular context, but perhaps I’ve missed a parallel somewhere. It’s the last 30-40 seconds that swung me on first listen, swing batter batter bound bound for da reload… no firm score from me yet while I think about it, but could be a 7.

  15. 15
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #14 It’s always the way, though, you wait 47 years for a Number One to arrive that confidently breaks its momentum with a spoken-word film reference and then two come along at once…

  16. 16
    Inanimate Carbon God on 2 Mar 2015 #

    I don’t really get this. But it’s got it. If you know what I mean.

    A high 6.

  17. 17
    enitharmon on 2 Mar 2015 #

    When DJs in their late 20s are the boring old farts I suspect that this music is way beyond my ken. It doesn’t speak to me at all but I wonder if somebody might give me a handle on it and its signifiers so I can read it.

    For what it’s worth:

    neutrino: an insubstantial thing of no discernible mass which interacts only minimally with its environment and is believed on occasions to travel backwards in time.

    oxide: rust.

  18. 18
    enitharmon on 2 Mar 2015 #

    As postscript to my previous comment, it’s a very male kind of music, isn’t it! Bordering on the misogynist I should think. There are female faces in the video only being passive on the dancefloor (and there’s not much vertical expression of a horizontal desire going on) As a woman I find something deeply unpleasant in there. Is that intended?

  19. 19
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #18 Yes – it’s very much in that Stonesy line of male conflicts and braggadocio – though actually in O&N’s case less about dominating or possessing women, all the internecine conflict and bragging is about being the biggest dog in the yard: it’s a very masculine, institutionalised world, quite sour and blokey. And this is definitely a dimension in the split within garage – the older DJs were mostly family men by this point, the fact UK Garage got women into the clubs was a point of pride after the (again quite masculine) world of rave.

    I think I should say that when I’m describing the schism I’m not taking sides exactly – “Reload” is great, the music that eventually developed from all this is often amazing, but something was definitely lost along the way. The more aspirational/upmarket garage stuff, and its poppy end, is (I reckon) wonderful pop music. The rejection of that in favour of grittier no-girls-allowed stuff is something you see again and again and again in music history from the 60s to now, so much so it’s probably inevitable. But whatever good comes of it it’s always also a regressive step.

  20. 20
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    It’s a great shame that I don’t get to cover Mis-Teeq or Sweet Female Attitude, basically, who would both be a good counterpoint to this.

  21. 21
    Steve Mannion on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Hated at first. The timestretching and the Lock Stock samples (let alone the Casualty theme) all felt immediately dated and charmless (as Tom says earlier Garage-and-related tracks had absorbed elements of Jungle’s primary palette already to strong effect) and something I’d been letting go of as the 90s played out.

    The idea of it being ‘Charly’ for people ten years younger occurred to me but although that seems reasonable in terms of its function I found its form comparatively lacking (despite the increased vocal element it felt more cynical and less inspired).

    But by ‘Devil’s Nightmare’ (Gothstep indeed, and what a great title) I was relenting and by the time Grime itself emerged as a thing I felt fewer reasons to actively dislike it/them.

    It also might be one of the first ‘The Box’ #1’s – getting lots of play on that channel through viewer requests. The Box was also the first time I heard/saw So Solid (loved ‘Oh No (Sentimental Things)’, hated ’21 Seconds’ – go figure) and Genius Cru’s also fun ‘Boom Selection’ – in the days before Channel U a good heads up on what (London) teens were into.

  22. 22
    lonepilgrim on 2 Mar 2015 #

    it’s always a delight for me when the UK public pushes a dark, dystopic song to the number 1 spot and this (for me anyway) fits into a lineage that includes ‘Paint it Black’, ‘Ghost Town’, ‘Two Tribes’, ‘Killer’ and ‘Firestarter’.
    This tune benefits from its lo-fi production values – a Cubist collage of contemporary references held together with a rattling rhythm, pulsing bass and chattering rhymes – punctured with (what sounds to me like) First Person Shooter style gunfire and the sample from ‘Lock, Stock, etc.’

  23. 23
    thefatgit on 2 Mar 2015 #

    I was thinking that B4DR is very dark and oppressive. A lot of the more chart-friendly UKG was basically relationships and partying, and along comes Oxide & Neutrino with Casualty and Lock Stock samples, and it was as far removed from “Sweet Like Chocolate” as you could get. It works excellently in conveying what a bad trip feels like.(8)

  24. 24
    chelovek na lune on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Makes me think of a slightly grittier relation of what Shut Up And Dance records might have put out 15 years earlier – the sound of pirate stations in inner London (West London for this lot; East London for that lot.). A very welcome no 1.

    (7)

  25. 25
    Billy Hicks on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Completely missed me. I had no idea this one existed until reading a website around 2003/4 called ‘Poptastic’, a brilliant chart review site long disappeared from the web but can be viewed on Web Archive ( http://web.archive.org/web/20040414172056/http://www.hogweed.org/poptastic/comm2000.html – spoilers for the rest of the year! ) . As he listed all the #1s of 2000 and reviewed them, this was one of the ones that made me go “Wait, what?”.

    But back in 2000 eleven year old me would have completely hated this anyway. 2-step garage is, to this day, one of my least favourite dance trends of the last 25 years although the mid-2000s ‘loop an 80s sample for three minutes’ era was definitely the genre’s lowest point in the charts. It’s got a fun novelty to it but it’s not something I’d listen to often, given all the trance anthems released on almost a weekly basis through 2000 there’s much, much stronger than this around.

    The story at #9 reminds me of a very infamous summer 2004 bunny that was being played at my cousin’s house in Birmingham that I assumed was just some local kids messing around on pirate radio for a laugh. When I found out that the bloody thing was number 1 I was absolutely astonished.

  26. 26
    Ricardo on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #21 – If I coud search to find a “Charly”/”B4DR” equivalent in more recent music, I’d wager Skrillex’s “Bangarang” would probably be it.

  27. 27
    flahr on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #26 – Wiki says that Christgau called it a “garden-variety good record” and gave it A-! (“Bangarang”, that is, not “Bound”.) I agree in the sense that it is DULLY CONVENTIONAL BAH HUMBUG (but also good).

  28. 28
    mapman132 on 2 Mar 2015 #

    I probably would have hated this at the time – too violent, disjointed, etc. – but now I find myself liking it. It’s actually quite catchy: I’ll give it 7/10.

    Probably not of much interest to others here, but the geogeek in me has to note that this would’ve been #1 the week that GPS selective availability was turned off, ushering in the modern era of navigational devices and digital mapping. Thus it was also #1 when the first geocache was placed.

    The Hot 100 at the time was in the midst of another Santana marathon: “Maria Maria” featuring The Product G & B.

  29. 29
    Steve Mannion on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Possibly useful listening – a chapter from my Ultramix series focussing on 2 Step/UKG stuff from the time featuring a decent contrast of its dark and light sides and some of my personal populist favourites in Zed Bias ‘Neighbourhood’ (search also Zed’s ‘Sound Of The Pirates’ mix from 2000), B-15 Project’s ‘Girls Like Us’ and Wookie’s ‘Scrappy’: https://www.mixcloud.com/ghostfood/ghost-food-ultramix-0004/

  30. 30
    enitharmon on 2 Mar 2015 #

    @8 A good Derek Thompson link might have been a sample from the (far superior IMHO) The Long Good Friday. N’est-ce pas?

  31. 31
    AMZ1981 on 2 Mar 2015 #

    The problem I have with this track are the samples; the Casualty one causes it to steer close to being a novelty track while the other sample (I’ve never seen the film so obviously don’t know the context) gets on my nerves. It doesn’t help that the non sampled bits feel like add ons.

    In a parrallel universe where all other things were the same except no Toca’s Miracle this would have dethroned Craig David after a three week run and made an interesting contrast both at the time and now. Obviously these were the two faces of 2000 hip hop but in 2015 Craig David appears to be more of a forerunner of Ed Sheeran/ Sam Smith et all while Bound 4 Da Reload has more in common with what the youth of 2015 are buying. However while Fill Me In has aged surprisingly well Bound 4 Da Reload sounded horribly dated when I revisited it last night.

    Perhaps more frustratingly the samples disguised the fact that this was the first UK chart topper to reflect an underground culture that middle class rock fans (such as myself) not only did not understand but could not understand. Gang culture had visited the top spot before (Gangsta’s Paradise and Ice Ice Baby) but these were American records. Bound 4 Da Reload was British born and bred. Bound 4 Da Reload didn’t feel important at the time but it sure does now.

  32. 32
    flahr on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #31 “in 2015 Craig David appears to be more of a forerunner of Ed Sheeran/ Sam Smith et all while Bound 4 Da Reload has more in common with what the youth of 2015 are buying”

    Plz to insert my standard caution about not assuming that just because old people are uncool* does not mean young people are cool! Maybe it’s a poptimist thing but ‘the youth’ are not always bellwether arbiters of exciting newness in pop, they can be just as swayed by faux-sophistication and people looking like they’re doing things Properly as anyone else. tl;dr these two categories are in no way mutually exclusive! tr;dl do you really think 30-year-olds drive the singles charts? rl;td why are The Brits? dr;lt remember Pink Champale’s schoolgirl yelling that this was JUST ‘ORRIBLE NOISE ld;tr when your uncle first got into Pink Floyd he wasn’t your uncle’s age**

    *which I don’t dispute
    **I am my own uncle due to time-travel circumstances but due to an injunction I cannot reveal any more than that

  33. 33
    23 Daves on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #31 I’d agree with that. In fact, on relistening to this the samples to me sounded so clumsy that I was actually reminded of their overly dominant use on Justified Ancient of Mu Mu’s “1987 What The Fuck Is Going On?”
    “High praise!” you might say, but actually it’s my least favourite KLF related LP for those very reasons. Things don’t quite gel as they should, and while some people may love that basic, stripped down, DIY stickle-brick approach (and indeed, half the point of “1987” is to make the samples a heavy, deeply invasive feature) I find it too jarring to appreciate.

    Plus, the use of the “Casualty” theme feels almost too much like a back-of-the-beermat idea being acted on. A friend used to live next door to a teenage bedroom DJ not long after this period, and he would combine garage sounds with television themes in absurd late-night mixing frenzies, regardless of how well they fitted. So I suppose it reminds me too much of staying over there and hearing the “Eastenders” theme colliding with intense beats at three in the morning.

    At the time, I suppose my friend and I were too old for all this, despite only being in our mid-twenties. I’ve only ever really lived in cheap, slightly scuzzy bits of London, and during the early noughties garage followed me around, always uninvited. It either blasted out of people’s cars, or occasionally interrupted FM radio listening as a pirate signal leaked in around the edges. If forced to admit it, I suppose it felt like there was always another loud party going on which I couldn’t understand and wouldn’t have been welcome at – a constant tap on my shoulder and whisper in my ear of “You’re getting older… you’re getting older…”

    Obviously I’m less self-conscious about that kind of thing now, but I can still only shrug and say “I don’t get it – sorry”.

  34. 34
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #32 Yes, Sheeran in particular built a massive fanbase among young listeners. And last year at least I saw a lot of people who I’d have pegged as student-age trying for the Sam Smith look – that stylised 50s thing – not so much this year. Not that I’m a terribly good observer of that stuff.

    But I’d say we’re not living in a moment when there’s a particularly huge generation gap in listening. The generation gaps that matter, incidentally, are nothing to do with well- or ill-meaning olds like me – they’re ones like the split described in this entry, between (say) a 16 year old and a 28 year old, two groups that might still feel a sense of ownership over pop. Those are the ones that shift things.

  35. 35
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #31 “an underground culture that middle class rock fans (such as myself) not only did not understand but could not understand”

    I see where you’re coming from with this but I’m not sure I agree. First off, the job, or at least side effect, of music is to communicate – it may be naive and touristic of me, but while I don’t think the understanding we form of scenes and subcultures through their music is at all full, it’s not nothing.

    Second, in this particular case, “Bound 4 Da Reload” is not, and I don’t think is trying to be, an especially hardcore record. There is a lot of lairy atmosphere but the actual touchstones here are Casualty, Lock Stock and the kind of stock gun noises that were all over rave music – great call by whoever mentioned first-person shooters too. Those things – Casualty, Lock Stock and computer games – would have been stuff any 18 year old guy in 2000 knew about and recognised. A lot of middle class rock fans included. I don’t think “Bound 4 Da Reload” is taking itself much more seriously than any of its sources.

    That’s not to say Oxide and Neutrino didn’t have a lot more first-hand experience of ‘gang culture’ than you or I ever will, but that doesn’t mean any record they made necessarily reflected, or even aspired to reflect, that experience. (Or no more than hit rock’n’roll records, even at their meanest, directly reflected the sharks, criminals and mobsters at large in the 50s record biz.)

  36. 36
    mapman132 on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #34 Your generation gap analysis is definitely true I think. While Popular’s been going through the period 1995-2000 (roughly my mid-to-late 20’s), I’ve found myself re-evaluating music from that time that I originally disliked or even hated. I wonder if some people’s engagement with pop music goes roughly like this:

    Age 16: “Pop music is cool!”

    Age 28: “I can’t believe the crap kids are listening to these days! It was so much better when I was a kid.”

    Age 42: “Some pop music today is pretty good. And actually some of the stuff when I was 28 wasn’t bad either. And not everything from when I was 16 was that great.”

    This could also be connected with the cycle of decade re-evaluation discussed on previous threads.

  37. 37
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Somebody said that 26 is the age at which you reach peak pop hate (can’t remember who, or where – I started this site at 26 so obviously I wasn’t quite as sick of it all)

  38. 38
    Pink Champale on 2 Mar 2015 #

    I think that was Danny Baker. His theory was that everyone thinks that something terrible happened to pop music when they turned 26

    Though in his case it had to be said that despite being a transcendent genius as a broadcaster, he has literally the worst music taste of anyone in the world these days

  39. 39
    flahr on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #35 “I don’t think “Bound 4 Da Reload” is taking itself much more seriously than any of its sources.” and I think a recurring theme in et al on this thread (especially Pink Champale’s schoolgirl*) – how *shudder* authentic actually is this song? People have used the word ‘novelty’ – is it a record that was actually being bought by youths in the scene or was it being bought by PC’s white dorks? How cool were the pirates that played it? Again I ask these questions from the standpoint of a complete ignoramus so plz excuse if they are stupid questions. And the level of hate some people have for it suggests it can’t really have been a crossover record – but its construction makes it feel as if, in some sense, it must have been one.

    *I hope she turns out to have the twitter account @No1NotOxideAndFuckingNeutrino

  40. 40
    enitharmon on 2 Mar 2015 #

    flahr @32 just because old people are uncool* […] *which I don’t dispute

    Well you’re not coming to any of my wild parties then!

    Flippin’ kids…

  41. 41
    flahr on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Wild parties are so passé, Rosie. For today’s youth it’s all about sitting quietly in rooms reading newspapers. ;-)

  42. 42
    katstevens on 2 Mar 2015 #

    Another one from the 6th form common room stereo, this. I can’t claim to have been into garage at all but 90% of my peers were – Thursday lunchtime was Xfm day and the room cleared out compared to the rest of the week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunchtimes was Capital FM, Kiss FM on Tuesday). There was a ‘quiet study’ room adjoining which was anything but, and I definitely heard ‘the stupid Casualty song’ drifting in. I don’t know how much pre-release airplay Kiss gave it, but it seemed to hang around for ages before getting to #1?

    Although I didn’t like B4DR then, I LOVED Lock Stock and had sneaked into the cinema to see it underage a couple of years previous (accompanied by 1 of 7, who was very tall). I had the poster in my bedroom for ages.

  43. 43
    Tom on 2 Mar 2015 #

    #39 A question that occurred to me – and someone reading this might know, or it might be something we talk about in the 2001 entries – is how closely O & N were actually part of So Solid (who did have a degree of credibility). They aren’t on “21 Bunnies”, I dunno how much they’re on the album – whether they were peripheral anyhow, or whether their pop moves tarnished their cred, or whether they were just too busy, I simply don’t know. Members of the bigger crew are on some of their other singles.

    Reading around the history of the Crew, it seems that Oxide and Neutrino were on a pirate called Supreme FM, which some So Solid members also played on, and then when So Solid decamped en masse to a residency on Delight FM, Oxide and Neutrino basically tagged along.

    Re. the lines between novelty and authentic – the younger end of the scene had an authentic appetite for novelty, probably. One of the pieces I read talked about DJ Dee Kline’s ganja-themed “I Don’t Smoke Da Reefah”, another track which cause the older garage heads to despair but which apparently would get the biggest responses at any party that played it.

  44. 44
    Inanimate Carbon God on 3 Mar 2015 #

    @37 Tom, that’s spot on with me. Though I did turn 26 in 2011, often ranked alongside 1961, 1976, 1986 and 2004 as pop’s nadir. I can’t even remember any ’11 #1s enough to wake the bunny!

  45. 45
    Mark M on 3 Mar 2015 #

    I have no memory at all about whether I liked this or found it a little crass at the time. Sounds OK to me now – nice and skeletal, and with ears that are probably still tuned in a 1985 mode, I quite like samples that literally sound dropped in.
    (‘Could everyone stop getting shot?’ is a good line. I wouldn’t have recognised it because I’ve never managed to watch the whole of a Guy Ritchie film – they just feel (and look) like bad ads to me. Reportedly he was once annoyed at being described in The Guardian (by me) as ‘risible’ – I quite enjoyed that).

  46. 46
    Chelovek na lune on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Hmm, I was 26 in 2001. Was listening mostly to Morcheeba and Francoise Hardy, as I recall, finding very little else on the pop scene of the time of interest. Although 2002 was worse (although that year’s Morcheeba album, which I picked up in Pisa, was better than the previous one)

  47. 47
    Edward Still on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Much easier to see as proto-grime than garage. It has an enjoyably sparse production with some good and some bad ideas, and its pleasing enough when I do hear it, but it’s not a tune I’d actively seek out. A low 7.

  48. 48
    James Masterton on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Bound 4 Da Reload is one of two garage No.1 hits in 2000 which had varying degrees of issues with copyright wrangles over samples.

    In this case it looked very much as if the single was going to have to come out with the central sample of the Casualty theme replayed and indeed a non-BBC worrying version had been prepared and was ready to be mastered. Virtually at the last moment the clearance came through and the single was able to be issued in the same form that had been circulating as a white label since the end of 1999.

    This is in direct contrast to a single we’ll run into later in the summer which had been promoed and was receiving extensive airplay in its original form but which at the last moment had to be issued with its core vocal re-sung by a soundalike as it had proved impossible to clear the original.

  49. 49
    Chelovek na lune on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #43 again – the borderline between novelty and authentic also brings to mind those glorious days of the Shut Up and Dance label. “£20 to get in.” “Nah mate, it was £10”, “Nah, it’s `ad a remix”. The combination of killer riff (from Prince’s “Lets Go Crazy”) and crass vocal sample (“turn off that motherfucking radio!”) really strongly recalls Rum and Black’s “Fuck The Legal Stations” (with an AA side that did something similar with Joan Armatrading’s “Love And Affection”) [the Ragga Twins were better still, of course, but just about stayed the straight side of gimmicky, as a rule] – truly it is fascinating to see a later generation of the London underground than that with which I was familiar as an East London yoof bubble up to the surface with ideas and sounds that seem rather related. Obviously back in 1990 that stuff (with acts, like Oxide and Neutrino here, with enough substance to put out albums) was just scratching the top 75, at best….

  50. 50
    Billy Hicks on 3 Mar 2015 #

    44 – Agreed with most of those years, but I won’t see my beloved 2011 included in that! I can understand the reasons (the top 40 consisting of 39 EDM-influenced pop-club bangers and Adele, week in week out) but if you’re 22 years old and living an extremely party-heavy, alcohol swigging life, it all becomes the greatest music in the world. And I was *so* tired of noughties indie-pop by then so to hear actual synths not just back in fashion, but all over the chart, was (then) a fantastic feeling. It culminated in seeing Example live in Hyde Park that summer, watching the crowd reaction to Bunny The Way You Bunnied Me and feeling like a golden age of music was back.

    I turned 26 in September 2014, but any pretence of me still being in that golden age had long-fizzled out. Two extremely overrated summer 2013 bunnies probably spelt the end of my pop imperial phase.

  51. 51
    Tommy Mack on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Baby girl Mack, as yet unnamed, born 2nd March 2015, 6lbs 11.5 oz!

    This might be my last post for a while though I’ll try to keep lurking.

    Was this reissued a couple of years later? I remembered making this my record of the week during my tenure as Head Of Music at Imperial College’s IC Radio and getting a rap on the knuckles (at our committee meeting whose attendance normally outranked our listenership I.e. Double figures) for making daytime DJs play a sweary tune. It could have been a later single though. I said I would defend it on grounds of artistic merit which was met with derision because my college mates were not from DA STREETZ like me.

  52. 52
    katstevens on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #51: awesome – congrats Tom!

  53. 53
    wichitalineman on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Re 49: SUAD didn’t bother the charts because they were selling thousands of records from the boots of their cars, which was the easiest way of circumnavigating sample clearance – the huge success of Raving I’m Raving (and the Walking In Memphis lift) sank the label. Also loved by kids, looked down on by ‘heads’.

    Re Craig David anticipating Sam Smith/Ed Sheeran: The real precursor won’t bother us here, thankfully, but it was David Gray. I was listening to Fresh Hits 2000 at the weekend and Babylon stood out like a sore thumb. Bloke-next-door non-starry name? Check. Emotional muppet voice? Check. Dressing down in a grey t-shirt? Check. Worthy, ethos of hard work, illusion of quality… it had the lot – Babylon was the (George Ezra) Budapest of its day.

  54. 54
    Tom on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #51 It’s the Arrival of the Mack (yes it is) – congratulations!

    #53 On the first annual pub crawl that Christmas we found his album on a jukebox. My brother put on – having never heard it – his cover of “Say Hello Wave Goodbye” on the grounds that “you can’t mess that song up”. Oh, but you can. You really, really can.

    #50 Billy I really hope you’re still commenting when we get to 2010/11 – I loathed the 00s indie with a passion but was frustrated by the EDM-pop afterwards, but of course by then I was a dad of 2 and approaching 40, so not in any position to appreciate it on its own terms. Just like on the trance stuff, your perspective will be really valuable!

  55. 55
    Tom on 3 Mar 2015 #

    David Gray is also the only “pop” “star” I have ever seen live before they were famous – he supported The Auteurs at a gig they did in Oxford in 1993 or so. He was – and this will surprise you – rather boring.

  56. 56
    will on 3 Mar 2015 #

    For a short while I ran a pop-orientated club in Bristol with a long time music buddy of mine. I knew our partnership was over when he started declaring an admiration for David Gray.

    By the way, are O&N the only side project (if you can call them that) to reach Number One ahead of their mother ship?

  57. 57
    Tommy Mack on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #55. I heard David Gray’s SHWG cover a couple of weeks back as a related video to the original (which was itself I think a video linked as related to Fade To Grey). He sounds like someone doing an impression of Bob Dylan having had Dylan described to him by someone else who heard him once, briefly, while drunk.

    One of the guys who bollocked me for playlisting B4DR was a big trance fan who swore David Gray and Coldbunny were great comedown music. It was something upon which we could never agree!

    So much for my hiatus…

  58. 58
    AMZ1981 on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #53 and my suggestion that Craig David anticipated Sheeran/ Smith. I wasn’t thinking quite so much stylistically but more in terms of how they were promoted and received. Like Sam Smith (and okay a lot of others before and inbetween) he first attracted notice as a featured vocalist. I don’t think they had the The BBC Sound Of in 2000 but I suspect Craig David would have been near the top of such a list. Also like Sheeran and Smith he’s a politely spoken critics darling and the smooth intelligent RnB he produced has arguably been absorbed into the mainstream.

    It’s a shame we don’t get to discuss David Gray at any point, not so much for his music but the fact that he seemed to be selling very much to the post Britpop audience (this included me at the time). It’s quite depressing now that we allowed ourselves to be taken in by such drab stuff, for me this includes the biggest new band of the year (bunnied but not for a while yet and who I’ve always considered overrated myself) and it’s no wonder RnB stole a march. To be fair to David Gray White Ladder seemed to get blunted when it ceased to be a word of mouth success and became the album everybody was buying; it meant that bland filler like This Year’s Love and Sail Away got the attention over more complex tracks like Nightblindness and My Oh My. It’s too easily forgotten that he had to remortgage his house to make White Ladder, good for him was the reaction at the time. Sheeran and Smith are indeed cultural descendants of his but Craig David is in there too.

    Oxide and Neutrino managed a reasonable run of follow ups which seemed to get progressively grittier – had the follow up bombed at forty something then Bound 4 Da Reload would have felt more like a novelty single. In post #31 I should perhaps have said that IT SEEMS to have more in common with what the youth of 2000 are buying (and I appreciate that this was a bit of a sweeping statement). It’s hardly a full on gangsta record but it does seem quite different to any number one single that came before.

  59. 59
    wichitalineman on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Re 57: Impressive dedication to the O&N cause! And congratulations!

    Re 58: “It’s too easily forgotten that he had to remortgage his house to make White Ladder, good for him was the reaction at the time.” No! That’s what I remember only too well – hard working, struggled for years, dedicated = deserves his success. Likewise, people I really trusted swallowed this line. I can’t think of anything more un-pop.

    Good call on Craig David as featured artist, definitely a harbinger in that respect.

  60. 60
    enitharmon on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Congratulations, that Tommy Mack! And Mummy Mack of course, and Baby Mack!

    But Tommy, you can’t leave us now. You’ll have plenty of waking time in the wee small hours to join us. ;)

    It occurs to me that 26 was the age I was when I found myself with a baby in tow (and the number one, Geno, is and was a cracker). I had a theory once that 26 is the age to which we all aspire throughout our lives. It began when I told a 16-year-old on a BBS (yes, I’m that old!) who said he wished he was 26 that he always would.

  61. 61
    AMZ1981 on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #59 Craig David was arguably following in the ten year old footsteps of Seal, featured (although not credited) on a massive dance hit and briefly the brightest hope in music before he failed to sustain the hype.

  62. 62
    JoeWiz on 3 Mar 2015 #

    I loved ‘Please Forgive Me’. Everything else was awful.

  63. 63
    Andrew on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #43 my recollection is that Oxide & Neutrino weren’t on much of the first So Solid Crew album because of a label dispute – O&N were signed to EastWest, SSC to Independiente/Relentless

  64. 64
    Alan on 3 Mar 2015 #

    I wondered why only one of O&N has their picture in the inlay of “They don’t know” (freshly dug out of the attic!)

  65. 65
    Mark M on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Re55: David Gray and The Auteurs were both on Hut – I can’t imagine Gray would have been Luke Haines’ choice of travelling companion. I seem to remember being constantly asked in 1993 ‘Are you sure you don’t want the David Gray album as well [as whatever I’d just blagged off the PR]?’ No, was the firm answer.

  66. 66
    Mark G on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #59, my reaction is “Well, well done you. Shush now.”

    I have a vague memory of him appearing in a feature film with Kathy Burke in the foreground. He did a very annoying head wobble. He did two OK songs, one was called “Babylon” and the other was called “SannaClawse” which had a very familiar tune…

  67. 67
    glue_factory on 3 Mar 2015 #

    #59, 66. To be honest, remortgaging your house to make a record sounds the reckless kind of thing I *do* want my pop stars doing.

  68. 68
    Mark M on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Re66: This Year’s Love – the one about which everyone kept saying ‘It’s a British romcom, and it’s got a lousy title, but it’s not bad at all, I swear, I know you’re sceptical but…’

  69. 69
    Inanimate Carbon God on 3 Mar 2015 #

    Congratulations Tommy!

  70. 70
    Inanimate Carbon God on 4 Mar 2015 #

    You know what I was thinking would be brilliant the other day? A rebooted From the Bottom to the Top that covered entire Top 75s/100s. Not Pick of the Pops as those notoriously cutting – edge presenters would play Babylon 100 times and ignore Bound 4 Da Reload altogether as “crash bang wallop nonsense, it’s just noise. I wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alleyway, bunch o’ ne’erdowells.”

    However, if you Google “From the Bottom to the Top” it links directly to bunny #1278. Every inch of it is perfect? Hmm. Jury’s out on that one. But we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it in 2022, eating Christmas pudding on World Cup Final day.

  71. 71
    fivelongdays on 4 Mar 2015 #

    Babylon is a song that I like more now than I did at the time (when it was just pure fucking dreck).

    Not sure whether I’m pleased or disappointed the whole namby-pamby nesh New Acoustic Movement didn’t really have a number one – would have been a fun rant.

    This? Meh. The sort of thing public school kids like because they think it makes them seem ‘street’, ‘gritty’ and ‘urban’. Could be worse, though. It could be Travis.

  72. 72
    AMZ1981 on 4 Mar 2015 #

    #71 the New Acoustic Movement don’t bother us as such but a close musical cousin of David Gray does come along a few years down the line (and I suspect is heading for a 1 when we get there – unfair because it was the weakest song on his album by far and this particular bunny was present at the uncovering of the Srebenica massacre which arguably gives him more life experience than any chart topper before or since).

    I mentioned David Gray’s back story because it initially gave him an interesting narrative – I’m sure he would have been happy if White Ladder had sold a quarter of what it eventually did; allowing him to pay off the mortgage and continue making his music for those who enjoyed it. However it kept on selling and became bland rubbish for the masses with the murkier and more lyrically complex tracks getting skipped over – probably literally – by some buyers. The same is true of the bunny mentioned earlier – a word of mouth hit that wouldn’t stop selling, even after the backlash started. A third example is somebody we’ll meet as a bunnied sample that caused what initially felt like an icy, dance influenced cult album to go massive and turn the singer (one magnificent almost bunny aside) into snooze music for bored housewives.

    We’ve gone slightly off topic but I think a lot of us do like our music to be our own personal favourite that we’ve discovered ourselves. Once everybody else starts buying it the fun goes; I suspect this is why it took years for Dire Straits, the Eagles and even Queen to be given their critical due.

  73. 73
    mapman132 on 4 Mar 2015 #

    #72 And I’ll be prepared to defend said bunny when we get there. Of course I also like “Babylon” and “Please Forgive Me”.

  74. 74
    Izzy on 4 Mar 2015 #

    I’ve been on an O&N tip all morning. What stands out, and hasn’t really been addressed, is how *beautiful* this music is. You can lose sight of it behind the vocals, always raw, and the squelchy bass – but otherwise the textures are gorgeous. The craft too: they use a nice trick of having midrange pure-ish synth tones doing what the bass would do, in other musics, freeing the sub-bass to do whatever the hell it wants (disorientate pedestrians from a passing modded car, as I recall). It’s great.

  75. 75
    Inanimate Carbon God on 4 Mar 2015 #

    Thought Babylon was a great, unpretentious folk-pop song at the time – maybe everyone bought it as they felt sorry for how Don McLean was treated by Madonna! And White Ladder was a pretty decent, solid album. I hadn’t listened to that much music when I was 14.

    But where’s the vitality, urgency, iconography, and for want of a better word, fun, in being “solid” and “workmanlike?” Back then I was far too kind to MOR acoustic indie loved by the dubious New Labour nouveau riche, Travis, Coldbunny, Starsailor, Turin Brakes, Athlete (I know I need to be careful about being insensitive to them because of the subject matter of their biggest hit, “Wires”) etc. It was not the answer to whatever else might have been wrong with the charts at the time. “Turn this manufactured cheesy boy/girl bands rubbish off and listen to real musicians with real instruments and proper emotions” was 2000’s equivalent of “I’m not racist but waah boo hoo blah UKIP blah immigrants take our jobs and you’re not even allowed to celebrate Christmas any more coz a bloke I met in the pub sez so blah blah blah.” Didn’t Jo Whiley also put a particularly big foot in her mouth by saying White Ladder “makes life better by its mere existence?”

    I guess the straw that broke the camel’s back moment for many about Gray was that video for 2002’s “Be Mine” where he literally loses his head. That and at a push some of his hits could have been written by a ten year old.

    Also: He has a face like a cheap tub of vanilla ice cream. The second greatest food/face interface in the UK charts apart from the baseball capped one from Royal Blood who looks like a gourmet cheeseburger.

  76. 76
    Fivelongdays on 4 Mar 2015 #

    @75

    No matter what Wires is about, that doesn’t stop Athlete from being a bunch of dull, whiney, nesh bollocks. Fuck me, they were dire.

  77. 77
    chelovek na lune on 4 Mar 2015 #

    At least we never have any need to discuss the utter tedium of the music of David Gray at Popular….I’d thought/hoped….. (would never have guessed an Oxide and Neutrino thread would go in quite that direction). Maybe we can coin the term “dadsoul” for Sam Smith, a bit ahead of the game, though…

  78. 78
    Kinitawowi on 4 Mar 2015 #

    @75: I liked Be Mine.

    COME AT ME BROS

    No time for O&N, I’m afraid. 3.

  79. 79
    AMZ1981 on 4 Mar 2015 #

    I think the `David Gray and others` discussion is relevant to quite a few recent entries. When discussing Fool Again Tom referred to `islands of fans with nothing to say to each other`and David Gray et al proves this wasn’t quite true as the MOR balladry probably appealed equally to the post Britpop crowd and the more mature Westlife fans. Given that many of the first category would enjoy more guitar heavy rock as well and the latter connected to Five, A1 et al David Gray arguably gives us the missing link. Add to that you had the more commercial end of RnB connecting into the grey area between Westlife and David Gray which in turn led to Oxide and Neutrino.

    I appreciate that it’s not quite as simple as I suggested but I think that’s where popular music was in 2000.

    I think it was the culture at the time. I liked White Ladder in 2000 but can’t see the appeal now. With hindsight it’s no wonder kids wanting to form a band and have a blast with their mates took their lead from Blink 182.

  80. 80
    Auntie Beryl on 4 Mar 2015 #

    #76 It’s at times like these that I pop up and defend the *first* Athlete album: much as the second one (“Wires”, etc) was dull, their debut fizzled with an agreeable quirkiness which was a mile away from, say, Turin Brakes.

    Is it widely known round here that much of the as yet unbunnied George Ezra’s album was cowritten by Athlete lead singer Joel Athletebloke? Another link between then and now.

    Bet Ed Bunnyman owns both Thrills albums.

  81. 81
    punctum on 5 Mar 2015 #

    “Argh! Shit! I’ve been shot! I don’t fucking believe this! Could everyone stop getting SHOT?”

    Smacking the listener back down to earth from the illusory promises of being taken higher, the first number one to originate from the So Solid collective – UK Garage’s own Broken Social Scene from the other side of Clapham Junction, if you will; the south of the river successors to Shut Up And Dance – is pitiless in its cooling rationalism. Oxide and Neutrino were, respectively, DJ and MC and the seeming boundless joy of Neutrino’s toasting is immediately deceptive when set against the helicopter blades of bluntly stalking beats and chilling pointillistic stabs of string synth (a meme originating when SUAD sampled Byrne and Sakamoto’s Last Emperor soundtrack for 1991’s astonishing “The Green Man”); the bloodied chill of the dark, enclosed council estate.

    As hardcore and cutting edge as Garage came in 2000, “Bound 4 Da Reload” owed a good deal of its success to its astute sampling of the theme from the long-running BBC1 hospital soap Casualty; its sirens blare uncomfortably close to hand, and both motifs are periodically punctuated by rounds of city-shattering gunshots and the above sampled dialogue – it is one of So Solid’s many calls for gun-on-gun crime to cease, and was as little heeded then as it would be now.

    Set against this hyperactive bleakness, Neutrino correctly figures that the best way to deal with and overcome this oppression is to scream nonsense back in the oppressors’ faces – “I Am The Walrus” or Alexis Kanner’s Number 48 in the final episode of The Prisoner, anyone? – and thus he bounces through reams of “diggy diggy down”s and the Gertrude Stein-worthy “When I say you say we say they say make some noise” (not to mention the even more subversive “sing birdy sing” interjections later on). The record’s steel doors slam shut as firmly as they had opened but Neutrino’s final grunt of “uh!” comes across as a satisfied snort of victory; haven’t we been here before recently?

  82. 82
    Inanimate Carbon God on 6 Mar 2015 #

    FWIW Babylon wasn’t released until 1 July, and it peaked at #5; we’ll hear from him thrice on TPL, but I acknowledge there are sensitive personal reasons which mean that blog must be put to one side for now.

    On a lighter note, thank you, Marcello, for continuing your detailed Popular posts. They add infinite new dimensions to this blog, for example in each entry I’ll see at least one reference to a famous person, band, or event I haven’t even heard of, given my born-in-Blackburn-in-1985 limited cultural existence, and I Google and (keep feeling) fascination. I understand if you want to pass on my offer of a Gang of Four-inspired cover of Toca’s Miracle. But hope you can keep up the great work.

  83. 83
    Tommy Mack on 7 Mar 2015 #

    “The rejection of that in favour of grittier no-girls-allowed stuff is something you see again and again and again in music history from the 60s to now” – I reckon that’s a bit unfair, for every ‘no girls allowed’ prick, there are probably a dozen or more men thinking ‘I wish more women were into jungle/metal/Warhammer/steam trains etc.’

  84. 84
    fivelongdays on 8 Mar 2015 #

    @83 speaking with my metalhead hat on, yep. I’m sure there are people into other ‘masculine’ types of music (although it really goes without saying that masculine isn’t the same as male and feminine isn’t the same as female) who’d agree!

  85. 85
    Inanimate Carbon God on 13 Mar 2015 #

    APPROACH WITH CAUTION: 80% RISK OF TL;DR

    I also have fond memories of May 6, 2000 as it’s when Burnley, inspired by Ian Wright (no, really) in his last game in professional football won 2-1 at Scunthorpe to seal the runners up spot in League One. Somehow, we haven’t been out of the top two divisions since. Given Scunthorpe’s ground only held 9,000, my dad and I fought tooth and nail to get a ticket, or more accurately stood outside with a placard reading “WILL PAY £100” and were granted our (bargained) wish by someone who looked like the spit of Cat Weasel, living out in the wilds of Rossendale in a three-storey house that looked like each floor was twice the weight of the one below it.

    It was somewhat the end of an era in English football, with Bradford’s defeat of Liverpool handing Leeds (no, really) the Champions League fourth place and condemning the original Wimbledon to the drop from the top division after unprecedentedly spending as many years there as Westlife had number ones. I just hope this fella bawling his eyes out is okay nowadays, like anyone against the New Acoustic Movement, he’d go through even worse in the next few years: http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/1470000/images/_1470018_wimcry300.jpg

    But you don’t need me to tell you it was a strange year: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1999%E2%80%932000_in_English_football#Premier_League

    Anyway, enough about the greedy oily-garch bastards’ game (formerly the Beautiful Game (formerly the People’s Game)), here’s my review of the other new entries in the Top 75 for 6 May, 2000. It’s like Pick of the Pops.. in fact, it’s like a resurrected From the Bottom to the Top that I’m having a lot of fun with.. your mileage may vary.

    (* indicates it peaked at this position)

    #6* – MANDY MOORE – “Candy”

    David Icke (or VH-2, or The Amp’s) lizards lick my neck and tell me not to like this. Chk-chk-chk* like the next #1, but counterbalanced with ace sugary, summery New Jack Swing charm from the perma-Disney Britney whose most decadent airborne activity was probably swallowing the free crayons. At 23. But TLC’s “Waterfalls” corrupted by Taylor Swift spoken-word frankly scares me.. so the safety word is 6

    #10* – MJ COLE FT. ELISABETH TROY – “Crazy Love”

    Almost the polar opposite of O&N’s take on UK Garage; from the rubble to the Ritz, almost too wine bar for comfort, especially after the sensual, urban-fox menace of Sincere. AND he went to the Royal College of Music. Say something outrageous, Sleaford Mods! Yet there’s enough unbridled joy in Troy’s all-embracing voice and the looping synths to render everything I just said irrelevant. 8

    #11* – LOLLY – “Per Sempre Amore (Forever In Love)”

    Had three lurid pop dreams last week. The first was a bar fight with Ed Bunny, telling him “You’re a nice guy but you’re just not very good.” The second was drinking Special Brew in my garden with Martika. The third was a 22-going-on-6 Sutton Coldfielder (the new Stevenage?) is warmly invited to Livin’ La Vida Loca’s party and douses it in a smoothie of cat food and green piss. 2

    #12* – SCOOCH – “The Best Is Yet To Come”

    Because I guess it can’t get any worse than this. Makes Brotherhood of Man sound like Cabaret Voltaire. Makes One For Sorrow by Steps sound like a shotgun wedding of Laibach and Einsturzende Neubaten. Makes my MIDI files of Minority, Basket Case and Million Miles Away sound like the year 5000. Even while edited on Noteworthy Composer to “Instrument 242: Piccolo.” They’ll.. be.. back. 1

    #16* – PRECOCIOUS BRATS FT. KEVIN AND PERRY – “Big Girl”

    Never seen this film, as I’ve often found Harry Enfield’s programmes a more constipated Fast Show. Perhaps the Kevin the Teenager parodies misfired the most as unlike Ali G’s suburban, over-Americanised mock-gangster, none of the “Ibiza crowd” acted remotely like this in real life back then unironically thinking they were the bee’s knees. Horrid in-yer-face haka/muzak, not sure if actually funny. 2

    #19* – SYSTEM F – “Cry”

    Ferry Corsten was born in Rotterdam on 4 December, 1973. He has clogged the toilet 107 times and run out of toilet paper on 166 occasions. Despite this he hasn’t ever managed to convert this existential angst into a non-godawful pseudonym. Generic trance banger that could have been released this week, with Hans Moleman’s sister on vocals and gratuitously Balearic piano – so quite tasty. 7

    #24 – DEATH IN VEGAS – “Dirge”

    Yes, it is. I only know of them because a) I confuse them with Dirty Vegas and b) they did a song with Liam Gallagher which was so bland I can’t even think of my token amusing psychosexual schlock-horror reference points for it. 3

    #31 – WILLIAM ORBIT – “Ravel’s Pavane Pour Une Infante Defunte”

    Does exactly what it says on the tin, if that tin was marked “Beautiful music for beautiful people on beautiful Mediterranean islands.” Perfectly acceptable for what it does, but not his most life-affirming track and back in 2000 I also thought I would have about as much chance of joining the aforementioned beautiful people as the inventor of the selfie stick has of being Louis Pasteur.6

    #35 – DUTCH FORCE – “Deadline”

    See above for content. See above for.. oh.. yeah, a point knocked off because that sleeve on Spotify (A State of Trance 600) really does look quite worrying in a modern geopolitical context.5

    #39 – Q-TIP – “Vivrant Thing”

    Nowadays this sounds like Guns Don’t Kill People, Rappers Do if it was exported to a country where humour had not yet been invented. And it’s so set in the champagne socialist republic of cod-Jurassic 5 needy hip hop patronised by the lefty bourgeois white middle-class with a few cheeky swear words and Ben and Jerrys references.. do you know, this is a quirky brew from Mr “I was in a hip hop group who rapped unironically about healthy eating” and as a needy middle-class lefty myself I quite like it.. 6

    #55 (peak #49) – MOOGWAI – “Viola”

    That’s not a typo. I repeat. It doesn’t sound like Mogwai. I’m not sure if I’ve heard that much Mogwai, could someone give me a “Top 5 Mogwai tracks the milkman would sing in the morning in a parallel universe where milk is still actually delivered to people’s homes?” It sounds like.. more of the same William Orbit and problematic Parappa the Rapper-gone-terrorist-sleeve Hollandaise people. Zzz. Music for Hollyoaks DVD owners.4

    #59* – ENGELBERT HUMPERDINCK – “How To Win Your Love”

    Well, it’s not Please Release Me. So I’m relatively unoffended. I do want to say “Hey, Sherman..” to the ‘Dinck though.3

    #66* – MINT ROYALE – “Take it Easy”

    There’s only one thing worse than white middle-class Southern (Englishmen) who pretend to like hip hop. It’s white middle-class Southerners pretending to be part of the funky uplift tofu party plan. Oh God, it’s the Bees’ Chicken Payback doing a Cuban Boys on Andy Kim’s Rock Me Gently, with a side order of Deee-Lite gone Waitrose. Glorious confusion. Please throw me off a cliff right now. 4

    :shudder: To paraphrase Sir Steven Redgrave, if you think I’m doing a Pick of the Pops again, you have every permission to shoot me.

  86. 86
    ciaran on 14 Apr 2015 #

    If I’m right this was on TOTP at the time where the crowd didnt know what to make of it and stood there in a state of shock. Perhaps the menace put a fear into them.

    Other then that it passed me by. One of the hear today gone tomorrow acts the held the top spot as was the norm in 1999 and 2000.Nothing more or less.

    In retrospect it could be viewed as the start of a new genre rising up from the underground and surely made an impact on the likes of D””’ R””’and Burial to name but a few.

    I dont get all that excited about it nor do I find much to dislike. 5 or a 6.

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