Posts from 7th May 2013

May 13

REDNEX – “Cotton Eye Joe”

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#715, 14th January 1995

A few years ago I returned from a trip to Spain with a somewhat disreputable CD – Rice And Curry, by Dr Bombay, AKA Swedish Eurodance chameleon Jonny Jakobsen. Browned-up for this project, and singing songs like “SOS (The Tiger Took My Family)”, Dr Bombay is the most eyebrow-raising example of how older traditions of ethnic and cultural comedy took root in Eurodance – Jakobsen has gone on to perform as Scottish stereotype Dr.Macdoo (LP title: Under The Kilt) and ‘comedy’ Mexican Carlito. And Rednex are in very much the same game.

It’s a feature of eurodance that comes out of European disco – just as anything could be discofied, from film themes to classical music to rock, so anything is fair game for novelty Eurodance treatment, and if it made people laugh too, so much the better. The genre existed in the same amoral, self-serving zone stand-up comedy sometimes claims for itself: the effect on the audience (partying, laughter) is all that matters, and anything goes to get there.

I’m not saying this because I’m personally offended by Rednex’ appropriation of hillbilly culture, it’s just a fascinating and overlooked part of Eurodance aesthetics. I doubt any rock band in 1995 could have got away with the rat-eating, drooling hick-play of the “Cotton Eye Joe” video, but if nobody’s taking the music seriously anyhow, it’s never going to get that level of scrutiny. Or to put it less kindly, there were plenty of other reasons to hate Rednex in 1995.


Start As You Mean To Go On… Eurovision nation intros

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So on Saturday we ran a fun little club night called Europoptimism, which was partially to celebrate the fact that Eurovision is coming up. And all the Eurovision songs are available now so we wanted to try to pre-empt the competition, but we didn’t want to spend two hours playing 39 tracks. So we decided to try to judge the intros instead, as without a good intro, what song can really soar. 30 seconds of each of the intros were played, and then voted on Eurovision style. It was so much fun, we thought we might like to give you the option to play along here.