29
Dec 15

DJ PIED PIPER AND THE MASTER OF CEREMONY – “Do You Really Like It?”

Popular31 comments • 1,989 views

#898, 2nd June 2001

djpied “Jump, don’t ever stop”. One fascinating and melancholy thing lately has been watching dance music grow old. Not just as a genre, coming to terms with itself as something that has a history outside the annihilating 3AM now of the club. That work has proceeded as you might expect (lots of homages). But also as a public, a group of people who invested their youth in its sound and momentum, and now have boxes of records, decks in the shed and over-30s raves on a Saturday. Pride, and bittersweet fondness, no more or less than most of us take away from music.

All parties end. “Do You Really Like It?”, thanks to the creak in its MC’s voices, their slightly stilted flow, and the sad harpsichord runs it rests on, sounds like a genre grown old. It’s the kind of record that could have fitted at either end of a style’s flare up – a workmanlike pop distillation of UK garage’s most recognisable elements. 2-step skitter, local shout-outs, a touch of off-the-shelf elegance, and a singalong chorus to push things over the top. It might have been a cash-in hit at the start of garage’s rise, introducing people to it (“What does it take to be a garage MC?”). Instead it shows up late, as the sound was darkening, slipping back underground: the pan-London unity vibes of “Do You Really Like It?” dissolving. So it sounds elegiac as well as friendly, a group hug goodbye. The party utopia it promises – a wonderland “where the music ain’t loud but lavish” – isn’t just overseas, but retreating into the past.

A year or so after this record got to number one I moved back to London, and the first thing I did, after unpacking, was tune my radio to find a local pirate station. I was hoping for the sound of the future, some raw London edge. What I hit on was three men, who sounded like old men, gabbing on about old days, getting stoned on air and hitting a sound-effect machine (“BOOOOOM!”) between arguing about who was going out to get the Rizlas. They were veterans of the speed garage days, a whole five years gone, taking over the radio for one last Sunday fling. It was frustrating to me at the time, but I remember it now better than many shows I did catch. They played no music but this corny, lovable record would have fitted right in.

7

Comments

  1. 1
    lockedintheattic on 29 Dec 2015 #

    I don’t care how corny this is. I straight up love it, mainly because it one of the most joyous records I know – they really sound like they are having a whale of a time, and don’t care how cheesy it comes across. It’s one of the records that’s guaranteed to cheer me up when I’m down, so it’s a solid 9 from me.

    Although I was very disappointed to discover (via a comment on a previous number one here) that they are not in fact chanting ‘Ayia Napa, Ayia Napa’ towards the end of the song)

  2. 2
    JLucas on 29 Dec 2015 #

    Hmm. It’s a no from me I’m afraid. I know nothing of DJ Pied Piper (or indeed Master of Ceremonies’) work before or after this, so perhaps I’m doing them a disservice, but to me this sounded and still sounds like the inevitable shark-jump moment of a briefly ubiquitous genre rapidly wearing out its welcome. The LMFAO of UK Garage? Possibly harsh, but not even the warm glow of nostalgia casts this in a particularly flattering light for my money.

    If it wasn’t obvious, I should probably say in mitigation that UK garage was never really my genre. I liked a couple of Artful Dodger and early Mis-teeq hits, but on the whole it wasn’t a part of my world and whatever happened to it after its acolytes stopped entering the upper reaches of the UK charts entirely passed me by. It’s not them, it’s me. (Maybe)

    2

  3. 3

    Is this a 9 or a 2? It could go either way.

    By summer 2001, we’d reached peak Ali G and UK Garage had a depressing slow decline of many contemporary genres; just like a decade before when Nirvana were horrified to see millionaire Hot Topic models dressing like Pacific Northwest lumberjacks, and Massive Attack (probably) shuddered at their authentic sound of dingy grit-weed tinged St Paul’s basements being picked up by the Daily Mail coffee-table set at some kind of early 90s Abigail’s Party, what was hip, sexy and menacing 12 months ago was increasingly vulnerable to mockery in that very middle-England, very sneering, often not very funny way (exhibit A, Melody Maker digging their own hole with their borderline racist Craig David on the loo issue. Exhibit B, Clive Tyldesley saying ‘He’s loving it, loving it, loving it’* as Hasan Salihamidzic lined up to take his penalty in the Bayern v Valencia Champions League final.) But so as much as I agree with JLucas that this is a bit of a naff, Disney appropriation of garage I’m also tempted to like it to piss the sneering Clarkson types off. There’s a warm, infectious party spirit about it and I like Tom’s bittersweet ‘dance music growing old’ spin; as this blog enters an age of increasingly cynical, attention-seeking number ones there’s no doubt the people making this record are genuinely, unironically enjoying making music. Then again, this song always worryingly reminds me of Heaven is a Halfpipe by OPM.

    I’ll be back to say more when I’ve finally soaked up all the festive booze! Hope my fellow Populistas have had a good Christmas. Delighted to see this blog continuing Tom; just when I thought I was out, you drag me back in, you (sadly not bunnied) smooth criminal. Sorry I couldn’t make the pub crawl but wouldn’t be able to afford it as I’ve been donating money to help the flooding clean-up in my native East Lancashire, will see you in the not too distant future though. I’m still feeling rough so I’m sobering up having a good chuckle at yesteryear’s Nick Berry and Chris de Burgh reviews…

    * Did this happen or have I had too much plum brandy? I swear John Motson once said “Wayne Rooney, back once again from his ill behaviour.”

  4. 4
    thefatgit on 29 Dec 2015 #

    I feel pretty well disposed towards this. I’m glad I’m not alone in thinking they namechecked Ayia Napa, but that might be something to do with the TV show that chose this as its theme. It’s nothing more than a selection of MCs churning out their choice catchphrases, held together with a fairly generic 2-step beat and the “Do you really like it?” chorus, but blended together with a lazily plucked acoustic guitar and the single-note synths that shimmer behind the boasting, seem to coax the sun from behind the clouds somehow. (8)

  5. 5
    PurpleKylie on 29 Dec 2015 #

    Long time since I was last here!

    This is one of those songs that I liked back then when I used to overplay my Now! That’s What I Call Music CDs, but nowadays am kinda baffled as to how a song like this could exist. It’s bad in a kinda funny/bizarre way, but you still enjoy in a kind of ironic way.

    I’m just going to give it an fence-sitting score of 5.

  6. 6
    Kinitawowi on 29 Dec 2015 #

    I’m loathin’ it, loathin’ it, loathin’ it.

    1.

  7. 7
    Chelovek na lune on 29 Dec 2015 #

    Probably the first #1 for quite a few years I had no recollection of whatsoever (another one, by a far better known and mainstream act, coming up in a few months though.)

    Innocent good fun, I guess, and indeed does fit into a particularly London tradition going – way back – a decade earlier, at least, via Tzant, M-Beat, and, ultimately, like so much, Shut Up And Dance records. (Ratpack’s “Searchin’ for My Rizla” is surely a relative too – – and if my memory serves me well, that did make no 1 on the Kiss FM chart back in the day – how masterful and wonderful it would have been to see that here…).

    Lovin’ it lovin’ it lovin’ it? Not quite. Maybe I was just too old by 2001, and away from all that stuff. But I kind of appreciate it, there’s a lightness and joie de vivre that conjures up smokey inner West London late summer evenings… 6.

  8. 8
    lmm on 29 Dec 2015 #

    Meh. Just wasn’t interesting enough to me at the time, and nor is it now. Admittedly this was never my scene.

  9. 9
    lonepilgrim on 30 Dec 2015 #

    there’s enough going on in this to keep my attention and feel well disposed towards it – there’s some clattering beats, some understated synths and a variety of voices who mix up the flow and tone – with the dopey hook tying everything together. The video rarely strays from their room or roof which suggests a rather insular world view which is reflected in the music as well – it’s not pushing any boundaries.

  10. 10
    Phil on 30 Dec 2015 #

    I remember this – and I do remember it – as boring, irritating and earwormy; too much so to take the risk of actually listening to it again. Memory says 3.

  11. 11
    AMZ1981 on 30 Dec 2015 #

    DJ Pied Piper & The Master Of Ceremonies proved a relatively rare example of a pure one hit wonder (one chart topping single and nothing else) albeit the second in 2001, after Rui Da Silva. It felt a relatively inconsequential number one at the time and still does now but remove the next bunny and it would have been a three weeker.

    It’s a hard record for me to be objective about because it’s not really my genre. There’s nothing particularly wrong with it but nothing to get excited about either. However the simple truth is that a lot of people must have been buying it, just as a lot of people (but not quite as many) were buying Blue’s All Rise at the time – the third highest new entry of the week which would wind up one of the year’s signature tunes and certainly a far more interesting discussion point. But they have slipstream number ones to come.

  12. 12
    will on 30 Dec 2015 #

    I bought it at the time. It made me smile. And yeah I thought it was ‘Ayia Napa! Ayia Napa!’ too. 7

  13. 13
    pinefox on 30 Dec 2015 #

    The odd thing about this record for me is, I feel that I have never heard of it till now.

    Most of the records that Tom Ewing writes about, I remember their names even when they are dire. But it seems that he has reached a point in time where I am not even familiar with the #1 records anymore. I am surprised that is as early as 2001.

    I will give it 2 out of 10, an extra point for the acoustic guitar type sound that sometimes appears in it.

  14. 14
    Steve Mannion on 30 Dec 2015 #

    The Ayia Napa mishearing suggests this record was a bridge between the dwindling 2 Step sound and its emerging successors (including the initial impact of what quickly became known as Grime – and I’d much rather talk about Platinum 45 ft. More Fire Crew’s excellent ‘Oi!’ than the next related chart-topper). Ayia Napa itself usurping Ibiza as the most referenced clubbers oasis onwards – a curious development given its far greater distance from London compared to the Balearics and probably only possible through the cheap flight boom of the time which benefited performers, promoters and punters alike.

    Frustratingly I’ve always found this record insipid and irritating…2/10 and surely one of the lamest act names imaginable? Too bad it’s not Pied Piper ft. Ratpack. The track actually samples 2Pac’s ‘When We Ride’ throughout – putting the late rapper at #1 where his own posthumous releases hitherto failed. The vocal hook’s origins I’m unsure about but I found years later that Robyn of all people had used a variant of the melody on the Smooth Butter mix of her 1998 single ‘Do You Really Want Me? (Show Respect)’ which may have directly inspired yer Ceremonial Masters in turn.

  15. 15
    weej on 30 Dec 2015 #

    Very odd listening to this again as I had only remembered the chorus, which was at some magical midpoint between unintentionally hilarious and nails-down-chalkboard irritating (my feeling on this has dulled but not disappeared), but had completely forgotten the verses, which are a complete joy and *almost* convince me to enjoy the chorus.

    One note – is is “Master of Ceremony” or (as on the CD cover above) “Masters of Ceremonies”?

  16. 16
    Edward Still on 30 Dec 2015 #

    Light, fluffy, enjoyable and uplifting. My summary: summery. 7

  17. 17
    Lazarus on 30 Dec 2015 #

    Can’t muster more than a 3 I’m afraid, I had no recollection of it either and duly went to Youtube to refresh my memory. At least I made it to the end. I don’t mind the guitar, and there are some hot women in the video, but by this time I was 38 and at least a decade too old to be going to clubs, which is surely the only place where anyone would appreciate this sort of thing. So I accept I’m not (and wasn’t) in the target audience, and wait for the next instalment, and hopefully, something a little more, erm, musical.

    New entry at number one, by the way, for a previously uncharted act – not that that was anything to get excited about by now. Whigfield had set that bar seven years earlier. Others that were there or thereabouts in early June ’01: ‘Thank You’ by Dido, which didn’t improve on its entry position at number 3, Radiohead’s ‘Pyramid Song’, ‘Heard it All Before’ by Sunshine Anderson (nope) and Gabrielle’s ‘Out of Reach.’ I’m guessing that only one of those has been played on Radio 2 in the last fourteen years.

  18. 18
    flahr on 30 Dec 2015 #

    I think this is the only UK garage track I remember from the time. Unsurprisingly I only remember the chorus. I’m mildly enjoying it enjoying it enjoying it. [6]

  19. 19
    JLucas on 30 Dec 2015 #

    ‘Heard It All Before’ is actually brilliant. There was a wonderful neo soul revival happening around the early 00s, with great tracks from the likes of Jill Scott, Angie Stone, India Arie and Tweet. None of them got anywhere near #1 unfortunately, but Sunshine was one of the few to score a proper hit. She was never heard from again, but it’s one of the best one-hit wonders of the year (far better than the one that beat it to #1, frankly).

    https://youtu.be/NGMInHRR2Fo

  20. 20
    Steve Mannion on 30 Dec 2015 #

    Yes I liked ‘Heard It All Before’ a lot – was wondering just yesterday whatever happened to her (not that I’ve bothered to follow this up yet).

  21. 21
    Lazarus on 30 Dec 2015 #

    Just had a listen to that – another I’ve not heard since 2001, but it did sound familiar, and I much prefer it to DJ Pied Piper and friends too. I should have said ‘two’ in my last post btw – I’m sure Dido and Gabrielle have both had plenty of Ken Bruce action over the years.

  22. 22
    flahr on 30 Dec 2015 #

    Lazarus, he’s a happily married man.

  23. 23
    JoeWiz on 31 Dec 2015 #

    This was a constant source of anguish for me, it was ALWAYS on in our sixth form common room, and the same garage loving wankers would chirp along to it as they looked at themselves in the empty CD single case.
    And it’s still rubbish – very much a shark jumped kinda moment, it’s almost embarrassing to listen to today.
    ‘They’re selling hippie wigs in Woolworths…’

  24. 24
    enitharmon on 31 Dec 2015 #

    But also as a public, a group of people who invested their youth in its sound and momentum, and now have boxes of records, decks in the shed and over-30s raves on a Saturday.

    So that would be rather like people in the late 1980s then, with boxes of vinyl albums and 45s, modular hi-fi systems in the shed, and 1960s discos on a Saturday night!

    What goes around comes around.

    (Except it doesn’t always. Last weekend I came upon a 13-year-old mixed-heritage boy singing Can’t Buy Me Love with great gusto, delighted that the Beatles were finally available on Spotify. I asked him if he wanted to borrow my DVD of A Hard Day’s Night. He responded with alacrity. His mum, who was with him, had never heard of it!)

  25. 25
    Jimmy the Swede on 1 Jan 2016 #

    Nice one Rosie. Happy New Year btw.

    I too regularly see teenaged boys wandering the mean streets of Eastbourne in Beatles tops. As you have indicated, their parents may well not have heard of A Hard Days Night but their grandparents most certainly would have done. There’s not a doubt in my mind that your 13-year-old “ward” will love AHDN and will soon be singing his way through the whole score. It seems there’s still hope for the children of today yet.

  26. 26
    Erithian on 1 Jan 2016 #

    Happy new year Rosie and Swede, although I’ve said the same elsewhere. Hmm, this is hook-laden all right – you imagine that “Ayia Napa” mishearing was not at all accidental, and the “lovin’ it lovin’ it lovin’ it” crossed over into the general consciousness so much you could imagine a latter-day Peter Glaze getting a whole Crackerjack routine out of it. Definitely not as annoying as Bo Selecta for me, and you can see why it got to the top. The kind of thing I’d feel way too old for but wouldn’t actually switch off…

  27. 27
    Rory on 2 Jan 2016 #

    Happy new year, all. My only contribution is a pedantic one, I’m afraid: it’s “Masters of Ceremonies”, isn’t it? As in, a group of them.

  28. 28
    Nick on 6 Jan 2016 #

    Hello. Long time lurker, first time poster.

    My principal memory of this from the time is of William Hague demonstrating his pop cultural credibility by correctly responding “DJ Pied Piper and the Masters of Ceremonies” when asked to name the current number 1 while out on the campaign trail.

    I later learned that one of said Masters of Ceremonies was formerly Kamanchi Sly of the cartoonishly hardcore hip-hop group and sometime Ice T affiliates, Hijack (a piece of trivia that is possibly only of interest to avid readers of Hip-Hop Connection circa 89-92).

    As for the song itself : familiar from ambient exposure on the radio at work and in townier bars and pubs, but never activeley listened to. I should probably remedy that before trying to score it. Alternatively : “dunno, 5 ?”

  29. 29
    Chelovek na lune on 6 Jan 2016 #

    #28 Gosh. The Badman is Robin. Never knew that…

  30. 30
    Erithian on 6 Jan 2016 #

    Impressive stuff from Hague there I have to admit! Can’t imagine knowledge of the current number one still being used as a benchmark of credibility for politicians, except maybe in the particular case fo the Health Secretary and the Christmas number one just past. Indeed it would be interesting to know, in the 10th year without a regular TOTP, the percentage of the general public that could answer that question now as opposed to 20 or 30 years ago.

  31. 31
    Izzy on 9 Jan 2016 #

    I do hope Hague tossed his answer off casually with a “No idea. It’s not Pied Piper is it?”, like he’d long been expecting those guys to strike gold and sod’s law it would be this week when he was too busy to groove to it properly.

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