Nov 14

ATB – “9PM (Til I Come)”

Popular96 comments • 7,447 views

#829, 3rd July 1999

atb The story of breathy trance* hit “9PM (Til I Come)” begins with producer ATB bringing his girlfriend to his studio to check out his instruments. And it continues with him ignoring her and working on an awesome guitar sound until he looked at his watch three hours later and named the track. The vocals he ported in afterwards, from a TV show he was watching. The girlfriend’s response is unrecorded. (Why did he even mention her in the first place, you might ask. I’m not sure. A demonstration of the monkish dedication of the true dance auteur, perhaps?)

At any rate this origin story puts the emphasis firmly on that pitched-up guitar tone – a kind of scrubbed-chrome take on the wah-wah – and so did ATB’s immediate follow-ups. There’s a really horrible version of Adamski’s “Killer”, for instance, which he ‘makes his own’ simply by dropping that noise all over it. On “9PM” it works better – just as well, since it dominates the track. There’s a sinuosity and bounce to it that makes for a strong hook, and its clean sound compliments the huskier voice parts. Of all the dance records we’ve met – even things as minimal as “Flat Beat” – “9PM” feels most purely for the club, noises designed to cut through the acoustics of a large crowded space like light through dry ice, not linger in a listener’s mind. There’s a confidence in the power of a single sound to carry a record here, one which speaks to how dominant big, expansive trance (and its ultra-high-paid celebrity DJs) had become in European, and global, club culture.

That’s not all “9PM” has going on, though. There’s also the breakdown – an unremarkable one to my ears, of a piece with tens of other big-room dance breakdowns around at the time. But it’s the first showing on Popular of a sound that will eventually return in conquering, tyrannous form: the gradually building keyboard marches so overused in 2010s EDM. A mere formal detail here, they jump ominously out to me as a listener in 2014. One of the less memorable Number Ones in a scrappy year turns out to be the track that points most directly to the present.

*I had a Guardian column for two years, during which time I managed to rouse my readers to anger (beyond the standard grumbles) exactly once, when I innocently named ATB and other late 90s hits as trance. I’m hardly alone in this – Beatport calls it that too – but there’s a hardcore death-to-false-trance contingent out there who spent a day on Twitter calling for my immediate retirement. One asked that I promise never to write about trance music again. That pledge I have kept – until today!



  1. 1
    punctum on 5 Nov 2014 #

    On reflection it is remarkable that despite the interchangeable mass of Eurodance hits throughout the late nineties (Sash! had four number two hits! How is it that I can remember none of them without prompting?), the number ones tended to go to the groundbreakers, the deviants. Although “9pm (‘Till I Come)” doesn’t sound all that remarkable nowadays this is largely down to its template subsequently having being used and reused to the point of chalk marks.

    ATB was German producer André Tanneberger, and “9pm” is usually acknowledged as the first Trance track to hit number one in Britain; apart from the occasional pinched spoken female voice sample it is essentially an instrumental and more or less entirely reliant on its digitally manipulated guitar motif (apparently the result of an accidental finding, as so many innovations in 20th century music were); as with (but better than) Robert Miles’ “Children,” the notion seems to have been to slow down the Ecstatic freneticity, to pause for thought, to reflect and swim. Although I would much rather refer to my copy of the KLF’s Chill Out for such reflections (“Evil” Graham Lee of the Triffids on pedal steel is admittedly a hard act to follow), a modest doff of the cap to André is, I think, due.

  2. 2
    AMZ1981 on 5 Nov 2014 #

    I think this was featured quite prominently in Dance Anthems which at the time used to follow the Top 40 on a Sunday – the guitar tone featured quite prominently in a trailer for that show. I might be wrong but I thought that exposure played a big part in selling the record.

    It’s interesting that Tom described this as `one of the less memorable numbers ones from the year` as it was a two week runner (Will Smith missed out with the theme to his latest movie) and wound up the fifth biggest selling record of the year.

  3. 3
    lonepilgrim on 5 Nov 2014 #

    it’s pleasant and well crafted – I thought it sounded like pedal steel guitar rather than wah-wah. The vocal reminds me of Enigma a little bit but there are other dance tracks that place a ‘cool’ female vocal over a lively beat.

  4. 4
    mapman132 on 5 Nov 2014 #

    This didn’t appear on the Hot 100, but apparently did appear on Billboard’s dance chart, and I remember it getting airplay at the time – or, maybe it was something else: I swear that exact guitar noise was used in another song, or maybe a remix of this with more vocals? My imagination? Either way, it does seem to be a preview of the 2010s. 6/10 from me.

  5. 5
    Alan on 5 Nov 2014 #

    I’ve seen numerous comments online (including the first youtube hit for 9pm I found) remarking on the similarity between this and a recent charting song (which I like quite a lot), Robin Schulz – Prayer In C https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fiore9Z5iUg

    AGH, sorry. that’s a BUNNY! I didn’t realise it had got that high!

  6. 6
    mike on 5 Nov 2014 #

    Once you hear the vocal as “D’you like cock?”, you can’t hear it any other way. Or maybe that’s just me.

  7. 7
    thefatgit on 5 Nov 2014 #

    I like this, not because it’s trance, but because it suggests Balearic “mystique”. Not sure if mystique works if you’re an Ibiza regular, but I personally felt at the time as someone who only imagined the White Isle experience, (I had been to clubs in the UK that played non-stop trance, but never had the opportunity to experience trance in its “natural environment”) that 9pm(TIC) was existing in the space between the post-club chill-out and your hands-in-the-air Big Room monster. Neither fish nor flesh, so to speak. But I like it. I like the guitar effect and the breathy vocals. I get a warm feeling, like the Sun is on my face when I hear it. Unmistakeably summer. I’m definitely not feeling an EDM hangover, like Tom seems to be. (8)

  8. 8
    Rory on 5 Nov 2014 #

    I’d never heard this, but I’ve sure heard its descendants. And on a first listen, I like it: I’d start at 6, and could end up higher.

    “Death to False Trance” sounds like Rage Against the Machine meets the Little Book of Calm.

  9. 9
    swanstep on 5 Nov 2014 #

    Very dull (at least in its 3m 13s ‘official video/ incarnation – does anyone recommend any of the longer mixes that are floating around on youtube and elsewhere?). One keeps waiting for *something* to happen and it never does. The keyed guitar part is quite embarrassing I would have thought (dude, one wants to say, why not get in this guy ?). It needs to be Steely Dan quality to benefit from being featured so strongly and at such length, and of course it’s nowhere near that. Anyhow, ‘9pm’ is new to me, so evidently it hasn’t endured (for better or worse!) the way, say, Darude’s ‘Sandstorm’ has from this period.

    ‘9pm’ got to #11 in NZ which seems more reasonable to me. It’s honestly hard for me to believe that ‘9pm’ has enough that’s distinctive or fun about it (modulo something very impressive in club mixes) to become the big, broad hit it was in the UK:

  10. 10
    Doctor Casino on 5 Nov 2014 #

    Never heard this in my life, not doing much for me now, but I’m glad to have heard it – finally “get” this bit of Max Tundra’s lyric on “Merman”:

    Downstairs they’re playing trance again, that awful bendy guitar
    Up through the floor again, It’s 9 am ’til I cry

    And Time And A Word, my friend, inspires me more than guitars
    Playing in four that end… exactly how they began!

  11. 11
    tonya on 5 Nov 2014 #

    #4 I’m pretty sure this got airplay in the US, too, because I remember it. I’d like to wring the neck of the person who invented putting sexy wimmun talkin ’bout sex on dance records.

  12. 12
    Elisha Sessions on 5 Nov 2014 #

    This is a touch more legit than trance – a touch. It’s more interested in the “funktional” aspects of a dance track – that shuffly and slightly raw percussion sets it apart from the glistening, crystalline structures of trance-land. And there’s an acid-house tinge to the vocal snippet – no soaring choruses, just a copy-pasted token of desire. But once the bendy guitar kicks in you’re knee deep in overpriced beach chairs and no internet comment is going to change that.

  13. 13
    Kinitawowi on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Low grade Sash and not a patch on anything Mr Lappessen ever did. And that bleepy guitar is abysmal.


  14. 14
    weej on 6 Nov 2014 #

    You can’t control which songs are going to be important in your life, and so it is with 9PM (Til I Come), on the surface a fairly standard trance* track, but which marked a watershed moment for me. I went to Glastonbury in 1999 as basically an indie kid, and joined a friend who’d brought a bag of little white pills with a mitsubishi logo stamped into them. Of the twenty or thirty bands I’d planned to see, I caught perhaps two. The rest of the four days was mainly spent dancing outside a small stage advertising an energy drink called ‘Indigo’. I still remember the names and faces of some of the other people there, and of course I can remember the track on heaviest rotation.

    Going out had always been problematic for me – clubs playing dance music seemed aggressive and unfriendly (“like being trapped in a lift at the circus”) and indie clubs in the late 90s were far from a haven of positivity. This was something else – joy, community, the overwhelming feeling that we were all sharing an experience and that everything was just going to be alright. On returning to university I found that my friends were unable to understand this (and were in fact disgusted by the idea) so I went out and found new friends, new music, new ideas. These new friends weren’t clubbers, and I certainly didn’t start listening to trance, but I’d been unhappy with my life and my friends and now I’d found that making a clean break was easy.

    And it’s all down to ATB’s (PM (Til I Come). I don’t even really like the single – it’s cut-down highlights with all the build and release missing, and that silly vocal sample is jammed up in the forefront where you can’t ignore it. this is what we danced to, and it still moves something in me, somehow. There’s a yearning for the new there, a montage of all the promise of the future, and I’m just glad to have it in my life. A 10 then – though it probably doesn’t really deserve it in the cold light of day, who needs the cold light of day anyway?

    *trance is a label like ‘prog rock’ which is used pejoratively and has no fixed meaning everyone can agree on – so call anything trance and you’ll get people arguing about it. As silly as it may sound, there was a major trance-techno split at the time, and people took it very seriously indeed.

  15. 15
    chelovek na lune on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Perfunctory, in a word.

  16. 16
    wichitalineman on 6 Nov 2014 #

    As much as that soft keyboard build sounds like a Live Lounge version of EDM, anticipating a decade ahead, 9PM looks back ten years. That Balearic (first wave) Spanish guitar, though heavily treated, is like a distant echo of Raul Orellana’s Real Wild House and the Blow Monkeys’ La Passionara. It sounds like someone trying to bottle a memory; it’s thin, but with a chirpy melancholy.

    The hook on 9PM is also a lot of fun to sing along with, slightly pained expression obligatory.

  17. 17
    Rory on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Thanks for the link to the longer version, Weej – it works better with that first 3 minutes of build and more sparing use of the bendy guitar.

    Tonya @11 makes a good point, though; double entendre has been done to death. Another reason the longer mix, with its less prominent vocal sample, is preferable.

  18. 18
    James BC on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Very curious as to what trance music is supposed to be if it isn’t this.

    In my mind trance was anything that followed the template set by Robert Miles – repeated simple instrumental hook, moody breakdown that builds to super-speed hi-hats, restatement of hook, end on a cymbal. Simple.

    I much prefer Robert Miles to this, but possibly only because he got there first.

  19. 19
    Rory on 6 Nov 2014 #

    #18 Yes, 138 BPM or close to it seems to be part of the remit. Looking into trance last night, I came across this new Paul Oakenfold track, which made me laugh given my comment on the Vengaboys thread. A cover of this 1999 original, which I totally missed at the time.

  20. 20
    lockedintheattic on 6 Nov 2014 #

    From memory this was the first of a series of eurohits over the following year or so (some of them bunnied) that entered the charts on import sales alone before debuting at number one several weeks later. A quick look at Polyhex shows it charted for 6 weeks as two different import versions, so clearly lots of pent up demand driven by radio and European holidaymakers. Seem to remember this was pretty inescapable in Ibiza that year.

  21. 21
    swanstep on 6 Nov 2014 #

    I tend to identify ‘trance’ with keyboards (and other instruments) with lots of delay fx on them which ends up creating a bit of a wash of sound if you play anything at all fast. Certainly if you go into something like Garageband, certain track echo presets are called ‘trance’ and, conversely, certain synth presets with a bunch of delay on them are called things like ‘cheerful trance’ and ‘ambient trance’.

    Example: Art of Trance’s Madagascar which is a gorgeous mass of delay!

  22. 22
    Alan (is an old man) on 6 Nov 2014 #

    The main trance thing it’s missing is that ‘vogue with your hands in the air’ bit, no rhythm just washes of chords or gentle acoustic strings usually. IIRC.

  23. 23
    Billy Hicks on 6 Nov 2014 #

    To what a snobbery me would call ‘proper’ trance doesn’t quite burst onto the scene but slowly evolves from melodic and so-called dream house. So things like Robert Miles’s ‘Children’ and BBE’s ‘Seven Days and One Week’ (1996), while containing some basic elements, aren’t quite there yet despite both being top tunes.

    BT’s ‘Flaming June’, #19 in summer 1997, is a big step towards it and bridges the gap between mid-90s and late-90s dance music brilliantly. By the time of Agnelli & Nelson’s ‘El Nino’ (#21 in August 1998) we’re much closer to what I’d call trance and then the release of System F’s bloody astonishing ‘Out of the Blue’ (#14, April 1999) opens up the floodgates. Ferry Corsten was behind most of the big trance hits of ’99 and I’d argue it’s him who properly adds the missing touches that the last two posts mention.

    By the time 9pm came out you’d had all those plus Veracocha’s ‘Carte Blanche’ (Ferry again working with Vincent De Moor) and we’re a week away from Gouryella’s ‘Gouryella’ (Ferry *again*, this time with some bloke called Tiesto), all of which were much, much harder and stronger than 9pm and makes the ATB track sound almost chillout in comparison. But look at the chart positions and Carte Blanche reached #22, Gouryella #15 – they were too much for the average chart listener’s ear back then, while something a bit simpler like 9pm was big enough to stand out but not too overwhelming to cope with, so I can see how it became the first trance #1. See also dubstep’s big commercial peak year in 2011, the song proclaimed as the ‘first dubstep #1’ (while brilliant) really isn’t comparable to the sort of tracks people were dancing to in clubs by then, although the second that followed a month or so later was much closer.

    The first trance track to really sell in massive numbers came with the #4 peak of the, yep, Ferry Corsten remix of ‘Barbers Adagio for Strings’ in December 1999, then from 2000 to early 2003 it’s a regular top 10 presence.

  24. 24
    Auntie Beryl on 6 Nov 2014 #

    #23 Yes, Ferry Corsten was the guy who came to define the chart trance sound around this time. All of his singles you mention are incredibly exciting, even now.

    I was listening to a lot of the Platipus label’s output before then, though, as per Art Of Trance in comment #21. Hooj Choons too.

    For me, 9pm is a continuation of the feel of Energy 52’s Cafe Del Mar (’97 and a hit in ’98).

  25. 25
    Rory on 6 Nov 2014 #

    I should have been more explicit with my links in #19. That’s Paul Oakenfold’s 2014 version of “Madagascar” (more a cover of the Ferry Corsten mix from ’99 than the original by Art of Trance, but still ace).

  26. 26
    wichitalineman on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Dear FT. Wasn’t Sven Vath ‘Trance’? And stuff on Eye Q? It may have become known as Hard Trance or Tech Trance or somesuch later, but I’m pretty damn sure people were calling it Trance in 94/95. Or is that not Proper Trance? Confused, N6.

  27. 27
    Tom on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Volume’s sister mag/compilation about dance music was called Trance Europe Express, the KLF called their original 12″s “Pure Trance original”, so the word’s in currency well before this – those are just the incursions of it I noticed in early 90s indieworld.

    (The actual music on Trance Europe Express was mostly progressive house, though, if I have my genres right.)

  28. 28
    Alan Sedgwick on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Amazed at the lukewarm response to this – a very easy 10 for me (and I wouldn’t have given many so far), an utter slice of pure summer.

  29. 29
    mrdiscopop on 6 Nov 2014 #

    Why 9pm? Not exactly the most mystical hour of the night. It’s either happy hour in Magaluf, time for a panel show on BBC Two or (and I suspect this is most likely) the placeholder file name ATB gave the song on his disc drive.

    It got me wondering, though – is it possible to create a 24-song playlist for every hour of the day?

  30. 30
    Shiny Dave on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Been waiting for this one a while now!

    I was closing in on 13 when this hit the top, and although I could never (and still can’t ever) go out clubbing – can’t handle strobe lights, for a start – my mum did, the local nightclub her Saturday night haunt of choice as she unsuccessfully sought a new partner following the collapse of her first marriage. She bought a number of dance music compilation double CDs, they’d play in the car on the school run sometimes, I liked them a lot, and I recall being particularly drawn to trance.

    I listened to the charts for a while at this point – the only time I’ve constantly done so – and this was the first song I actually cheered getting to number 1. Two months later, I actually bought Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone,” my first single purchase (at 13! I made it through my pre-teens without buying a single!), largely to try and get that to the top as well. As you can tell by the fact I mentioned the name rather than invoking the bunny, it didn’t make it, in favour of – well, we’ll see in a couple of months.

    Nostalgic urges sent me scurrying towards Spotify to listen to it again recently, knowing it was coming soon on here, and – oh dear goodness I hated it. The guitar hook was there, of course, but the drum programming sounded utterly insipid, to the point of ruining the whole song for me. This was not the song I danced to on the radio, or playing the Dave Pearce’s Dance Anthems compilation (where it kicked off CD1, which is entirely consistent with AMZ’s comment #2.)

    Then of course, #14 with Weej pops in, and that’s what I danced to, or to be more accurate stimmed along with. Considering it’s driven by the digitised guitar hook, it’s amazing how much the different drums make a difference – and I’m sure that those drums existed in at least one radio edit, or at least the version that led off that Dave Pearce CD (which I’m sure was a radio-length edit too). Sadly, the original mix is not on Spotify, at least not credited to ATB…

    In retrospect, perhaps the drums making such a difference for me reflects how I was listening to and enjoying the harder, synth-echo-led trance – it was the sound of ’99 for me, to the point where I genuinely forgot that garage was remotely prevalent that year too until Shanks and Bigfoot got unbunnied. Besides the already-mentioned songs in this thread, credit goes to Binary Finary’s “1998” and its later incarnation “1999,” and above all to the Gouryella remix of the latter. If they were shooting for an instant classic that would entrench itself through the “Millennium” Eve parties – well, like I said, I wasn’t there for any of those, but the fact there was a “15th Anniversary Remixes” collection of 1998 pretty much tells you this got established as a classic of the genre.

    I wouldn’t even give the Spotify version a 5 now, but the extended mix is worth at least an 8. Can’t settle on a single mark, won’t even try.

  31. 31
    Patrick Mexico on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Re 6: I thought it was “Do you like cum?” I’m so sorry. But best to be honest, as it really unsettled me at 14, especially when Now 43 was on a constant loop in my parents’ car on holiday in Cornwall. (Yes, the total eclipse one.)

    Was too young to have a clubbing/raving/Ibiza “moment” to this and as my teens progressed I found trance pretty limp, lifeless and hippy-drippy compared to most nineties dance genres whether they were Italo-house, chart Eurodance, jungle, breakbeat, dickhead-funk… Six is fine though, just for the nice summery guitar pick (that’s enough accidental Partridge for now.)

    Would have preferred #1s for the two tracks which follow 9PM on NOW disc 1: the bold lunacy of Basement Jaxx* – Red Alert, and more for “This is beyond cheese, and goes against my better intentions, but it’s got a certain something”, Turn Around by Phats and Small.

    * Great debut, Remedy. Though perhaps not the best sleeve to get your mum to buy you for Christmas 1999.

  32. 32
    wichitalineman on 7 Nov 2014 #

    NOW! Watch:

    Thanks for reminding me, Patrick. The full glory of Now 43 can now be revealed. I love Turn Around myself, no issues with it at all. It reminds me, oddly, of a holiday in Newton Stewart, trying to track down the site of every scene from The Wicker Man (shortly afterwards, of course, this would be a piece of cake but the internet was still “new” and we had to rely on the local paper). A few things here, towards the end of Disc 1, that I don’t remember at all (Precious, Culture Club, Fierce). Last hurrah of Britpop on Disc 2 – I think this was Cast’s last Top 10 hit; James would surely be gone soon; Supergrass having a late moment of glory; Gomez were dadrock at its daddiest.

    Also, what a spectacularly flabby start! New Radicals has Disc 1 Track 1 written all over it. And why stick Alice Deejay at the end of Disc 2?

    DISC 1
    1. “Perfect Moment” Martine McCutcheon 3:53
    2. “You Needed Me” Boyzone 3:29
    3. “I Want It That Way” Backstreet Boys 3:34
    4. “Sweet Like Chocolate” Shanks & Bigfoot 3:33
    5. “Bring It All Back” S Club 7 3:31
    6. “Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom” Vengaboys 3:22
    7. “9PM (‘Til I Come)” ATB 2:33
    8. “Turn Around” Phats & Small 3:32
    9. “Red Alert” Basement Jaxx 3:35
    10. “Without Love” Dina Carroll 3:35
    11. “Look at Me” Geri Halliwell 3:42
    12. “I Breathe Again” Adam Rickitt 3:46
    13. “Viva La Radio” Lolly 2:47
    14. “Doodah” Cartoons 3:12
    15. “Say It Again” Precious 2:59
    16. “Love of a Lifetime” Honeyz 3:37
    17. “Private Number” 911 3:32
    18. “Your Kisses Are Charity” Culture Club 4:19
    19. “Greatest Day” Beverley Knight 4:00
    20. “Word Up” Melanie B 3:40
    21. “Dayz Like That” Fierce 3:47
    22. “Forever” Tina Cousins

    DISC 2
    1. “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” Baz Luhrmann 5:05
    2. “In Our Lifetime” Texas 4:04
    3. “You Get What You Give” New Radicals 4:40
    4. “Pumping On Your Stereo” Supergrass 3:20
    5. “Lovestruck” Madness 3:50
    6. “Ooh La La” The Wiseguys 3:41
    7. “Hey Boy Hey Girl” The Chemical Brothers 4:49
    8. “Right Here Right Now” Fatboy Slim 5:56
    9. “Saltwater” Chicane featuring Maire Brennan of Clannad 3:23
    10. “Cloud Number Nine” Bryan Adams 4:10
    11. “Coffee & TV” Blur 5:02
    12. “Beat Mama” Cast 3:40
    13. “Pick A Part That’s New” Stereophonics 3:31
    14. “Bring It On” Gomez 3:56
    15. “Secret Smile” Semisonic 3:47
    16. “I Know What I’m Here For” James 3:56
    17. “Synth & Strings” Yomanda 3:17
    18. “Better Off Alone” DJ Jurgen presents Alice DeeJay 3:03
    19. “To Be In Love” Masters At Work presents India

  33. 33
    James BC on 7 Nov 2014 #

    The Phats and Small song was OK but I always found it a poor knockoff of Music Sounds Better With You.

    That Gomez song is far from their best – no idea why they chose it as a single over Revolutionary Kind, which was the obvious stand-out and a rare self-contained track on a very albumy album.

    I’m surprised the Cast song went top ten because the album it came from sank utterly without trace, apparently because they departed from the trad-rock formula they had always been vilified for sticking to. Very unfair.

  34. 34
    wichitalineman on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Re 33: Never heard the album but I remember hearing Cast’s Magic Hour as a single on Radio 2 and thinking it was very pretty, and an interesting deviation from their usual meat-and-spuds. It broke their run of Top 10 hits quite dramatically.

    Phats & Small’s Turn Around is just so ridiculously upbeat. An odd comparison, I know, but like the title track to Pet Sounds it never fails to lift my mood.

  35. 35
    Billy Hicks on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Re: The different edits, this is a song known in the UK by a completely different mix to the one that initially charted in Europe, and causes confusion today as different music channels/radio stations play different versions.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri6Efk1SPJc This is the original, but the one we all know better – and the one mentioned by Weej and Shiny Dave above, is this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmGQMmtXAF0 This is the UK radio edit of the song and one that definitely features on both the CD single and Now 43.

  36. 36
    Rory on 7 Nov 2014 #

    #32, “James would surely be gone soon”: boo! (By which I mean you’re right in chart terms, of course, but what a shame.) Millionaires was where I got on board the Good Ship James, and it’s a cracking album, as was Pleased to Meet You a couple of years later. They’re still doing impressive things today.

    Supergrass, similarly, had life left in them yet. Their self-titled third album (with “Pumping on Your Stereo”) was great, but so was Life on Other Planets in 2002. Several Britpop and ’90s indie bands released great albums circa 2000 that struggled to get their due.

  37. 37
    wichitalineman on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Now Phats What I Small Music. That was the name of their album, really.

  38. 38
    James BC on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Ah, I was wrong. The Magic Hour album did OK, it was the Beat Root album that had the big change in style and sank without trace. I thought Beat Mama must have been the lead single from Beat Root, but it wasn’t.

    Magic Hour may have been beautiful but it wasn’t a huge departure. I’m So Lonely from the second album does the same thing even better in my opinion.

  39. 39
    Steve Mannion on 7 Nov 2014 #

    For me Trance’s Year Zero was ’92 with Age Of Love, Jam & Spoon, Vath, the original version of ‘Cafe Del Mar’, much of it coming from Germany.

    The millennial surge of Trance is its commercial peak and although it includes a bunch of tracks I love (Binary Finary’s ’1998′, Carte Blanche’s ‘Veracocha’, Space Manoeuvres ‘Stage One’) I wouldn’t say these are more or less…Trancier than the earlier stuff, but some kind of evolution accommodating technological developments. I couldn’t be doing with much of the Goa/hallucinogenic stuff though (apart from some Perfecto-based exposure).

    Might as well thank the Lineman at this point though for making me like a track involving Paul Van Dyk which hadn’t happened until ‘Tell Me Why’ :)

  40. 40
    enitharmon on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Once again I’m in a quandary because I really can’t get a handle on this sort of thing. Each and every one of these electronic “dance” tracks sounds pretty much like any other and I worry about this because it was a complaint of old fogeys back in my youth that all pop sounded the same (I think Eartha Kitt once caused a bit of a stir by saying something like it while refusing to pass judgment on Juke Box Jury). Hence I couldn’t even begin to decide whether this is good or bad of its type. There is some electronica in my collection, some Underworld for example (I particularly like the long track called Dirty Epic/Cowgirl “I get my kicks on channel 6”) but somehow I don’t think that’s the same thing as these tracks with the relentless and unvarying beat. The niceties that lead to extended debates as to which box each piece falls into are even further beyond my ken – does it really matter? Anyway, assuming that I was into things like the Ibiza club scene (which I’m not – islands in the Med are surely for the three S’s; sailing, swimming and snorkelling, not sleeping all day and then doing at night what I could perfectly well do at home, and anyway it sounds to me like being dropped in the middle of a Club 18-30 event on speed which is my idea of hell on earth) I would probably cherish this sort of thing for its affective value associated with an event rather than its intrinsic value as music. So, once again, I must pass on a valuation with the observation once again that this is not music to be listened to but rather to stand as a memento of a holiday. As such I’ll risk social death by clipping it together with Agadoo and the Birdie Dance. After all, who is anybody here to set themselves above the sombrero and stuffed donkey package holiday crowd!

    [Dives for bunker]

  41. 41
    Tom on 7 Nov 2014 #

    I actually think the link between acid house and package holiday hits is pretty underexplored, Rosie! (I’m sure I cheekily made it in some entry). What I took from it is that the same impulse can express itself artistically in ways that are complete dead ends and ways that are very vibrant and productive. Both Y Viva Espana and Ibiza anthems being hits back home are coming from the same place – wanting a blissful experience to last or be remembered. But the difference is that straw-donkey pop goes no further: it’s simply importing a memory back home. Acid house was more utopian – “let’s build what we experienced over there back here”. Which is why it changed pop music where Black Lace didn’t.

    By THIS time, a decade-plus on, the transmission routes are well established, so we’re back to something close to the routine holiday hit, except there’s a clubbing infrastructure here to support it.

  42. 42
    Matt DC on 7 Nov 2014 #

    This stuff was everywhere in the summer of 1999 and this isn’t even the worst offender but it’s a pretty shonky sounding record even now. At the time it felt like the end of something – does any image scream ’1999!’ as much as the fluorescent lollipop-sucking Gatecrasher kid? Is any image so out of place with the fashions immediately preceding it and succeeding it? It was like this one explosion of bad taste that later gave the rock press the excuse they’d been waiting for to declare dance music dead and normal service resumed now the 90s were finally out of the way.

    I’ve no idea whether this record was ever actually played at Gatecrasher (or Ministry, or any of the soon-to-be-cringeworthily-unfashionable superclubs) – my guess is not. But this is the beginning of the end of dance music as a genuinely mainstream high-street phenomenon, for a good few years at least.

    (Of course, we’re also in the early days of 2-step here, the first sleight-of-hand recategorisation of something from ‘dance’ to ‘urban’, but if anything that semantic shift is a symptom of the same thing). At the time though, it felt like an all-conquering sound, the idea that dance music might be about to go out of fashion entirely seemed ridiculous.

    The sound starts to reoccur a few years later – first in minimal house, but then all-conquering in EDM-friendly pop, which of course was unfashionable from the get-go, just like this.

  43. 43
    Tom on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Peak ATB shonk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrPN8TtouuA

    Though annoyingly for the integrity of my review there’s no “9PM” sound on it – I’m positive I remember that but apparently not.

  44. 44
    Steve Mannion on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Just before this the Chemical Brothers had unveiled ‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’ as their take on the stadium Trance trend (there’s a bit of hat-tipping to RnB on the ‘Surrender’ LP so they were keen to show their appreciation for populist movements aimed at people too young to have been clubbing in the earlier part of the decade).

    As a dance-is-dead catalyst for critics I don’t know – they seemed just as bothered by Craig David and co. as discussed previously after all. But whereas UKG was very London/SE, stadium Trance seemed a much more Northern affair (like the hard house scene that emerged before it). But as I said before I’d still have rather been in Paris :)

  45. 45
    katstevens on 7 Nov 2014 #

    #34: Saltwater is still a goose-bump-inducing banger.

  46. 46
    Kinitawowi on 7 Nov 2014 #

    #36 and 37: James were briefly planning to call their first B-Sides album “Now That’s What I Call B-Sides Volume 1”, but settled for “B-Sides Ultra” (the one that looks suspiciously like a box of washing powder).

    And yeah, Millionaires (parent album [the one with the pig] of I Know What I’m Here For) was a beast – robbed of the album top spot by Shania Twain, as I’ve bemoaned before – until Pleased To Meet You finally saw them off before the inevitable reunion six years later.

    The Millionaires tour was, I seem to recall, supported by Cast.

  47. 47
    Patrick Mexico on 7 Nov 2014 #

    Re 34: I should have been kinder to Phats and Small! Hardly “beyond cheese”, many would kill for that hook. Perhaps confused them with someone else. Hey, what’s wrong with me? But it’s all about personal context (bunny warning):


  48. 48
    Billy Hicks on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Tom at 43: Again, different edit for the UK release. All three of ATB’s big 1999 tracks charted here as remixes, this is the UK edit of Killer complete with guitar sound.


    Also on Now 45.

  49. 49
    swanstep on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Some very nice suggestions and links in this thread. Thanks to everyone for those.

  50. 50
    Auntie Beryl on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Re Phats And Small, erstwhile frontman Ben Ofoedu is married to Vanessa Feltz.

  51. 51
    Erithian on 8 Nov 2014 #

    #29 – yes I’ve done a 24-hour playlist for (nearly) each hour – back when a friend and I used to exchange mixtapes of our recent discoveries. Here’s mine with a few sleevenotes.

    1am: Ocean Colour Scene – 40 Past Midnight
    2am: Iggy Pop – Nightclubbing
    3am: The Smiths – Oscillate Wildly
    4am: Manic Street Preachers – No Surface All Feeling
    5am: Pretenders – I Go To Sleep
    6am: Lightning Seeds – Marvellous: Think of this as being in dreamland, then the radio alarm comes on and yippee, it’s another day.
    7am: Queen – My Life Has Been Saved: This one’s for those leaving home happy in the morning – for those who aren’t there’s…
    8am: Manic Street Preachers – Mausoleum
    9am: Kraftwerk – Autobahn: “Up on your way, hit the open road, there is magic at your fingers…”
    10am: Blur – Yuko And Hiro: “This is my workplace and these are the people I work with…”

    1pm: Lightning Seeds – The Life Of Riley: in the pub…
    2pm: Levellers – Sell Out: for those people in the LIFFE getting very excited in their loud jackets.
    3pm: Pretenders – Revolution: Show me someone who hasn’t thought like this during the afternoon.
    4pm: Ocean Colour Scene – Policemen And Pirates
    5pm: Ray Davies / Damon Albarn – Waterloo Sunset: this and the next one from a compilation tape of The White Room,
    6pm: Noel Gallagher / Paul Weller – Talk Tonight
    7pm: k d lang – So It Shall Be
    8pm: Sting – I Was Brought To My Senses
    9pm: Memphis Slim – I Believe I’ll Settle Down: For those having a quiet night in.
    10pm: Pulp – I Spy: For those spending the evening outside in the undergrowth.
    11+pm: Sting – 25 To Midnight: And meanwhile there are people still travelling home.

  52. 52
    weej on 8 Nov 2014 #

    #51 – think the idea was a mixtape with each hour in the song title – i.e in the midnight hour, 3am eternal, 6 in the mornin, 9pm (Til I Come) and so on, but those are the only four that I can think of off the top of my head.

    On the topic of themed mixes (pass the crowbar!) I’ve just finished my annual Chinese zodiac mix on horses – please excuse the linkspam, I just spent way too long making it and want people to hear it.

  53. 53
    Chelovek na lune on 8 Nov 2014 #

    I can get as far as the following… certain hours (midnight, 3am, 5pm, could easily have other options). The lyrics generally make clear whether the time being referred to is a.m. or p.m.

    3am: KLF – 3am Eternal
    4am: Faron Young – It’s Four In The Morning
    6am: Six O’Clock – Tyrrel Corporation
    7am: 7 heures du matin – Jacqueline Taieb
    9am: 9am (The Comfort Zone) – Londonbeat

    5pm: Five O’Clock World – Julian Cope
    7pm: Seven O’Clock – Quireboys
    10pm: Dix Heures En Été – Françoise Hardy
    12am: The Lilac Time – The Lost Girl in the Midnight Sun

  54. 54
    Auntie Beryl on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Katy B’s “5AM” is a good little single from the last couple of years. Captures the psychosis and euphoria of still being in a club at chucking out time. I’d imagine.

  55. 55
    Ed on 8 Nov 2014 #

    Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Roadblock) – Bob Marley and the Wailers
    Just who is the 5 O’Clock Hero? – The Jam
    11 O’Clock Tick Tock – U2
    11.59 – Blondie

    Some times are obviously more rock’n’roll – or pop – than others. You’re spoiled for choice at midnight; at 4pm, not so much.

    If we allow lyrics, the closest I can get is “it’s quarter to five, and the shops are all closing their eyes” from the Blue Nile’s stunningly lovely Saturday Night. *

    It has always worried me, though: do the shops really shut at 5 on Saturdays in Glasgow? Must be a bugger if you need something at the last minute.

    *EDIT: Google reveals that the lyric is actually “it’s quarter to five, when the storefronts are closed in paradise.” Which is just as baffling, really: you’d think that in heaven, they would at least stay open until 6.

  56. 56
    iconoclast on 8 Nov 2014 #

    I suppose The Triffids’ “25 to 5” is pushing it a bit?

  57. 57
    Ed on 8 Nov 2014 #

    @29 “Why 9pm?”

    From my – long-ago and very limited – experience of Ibiza, isn’t that about the time the evening starts?

    You watch the sunset, have a couple of drinks, maybe go and change, and then head out.

    I am sure someone with greater knowledge than me can put me straight on that one.

  58. 58
    Kinitawowi on 8 Nov 2014 #

    #56: I’ll see your “25 to 5” and raise you “4:35 In The Morning”.

  59. 59
    Lazarus on 8 Nov 2014 #

    ‘Twenty-five or six to four’ even.

  60. 60
    Erithian on 9 Nov 2014 #

    Weej #52 – yes I know, but the original question did send me straight back to that old tape! A couple more – Godley and Creme did one called “Five O’Clock in the Morning”, and there’s the David Castle song “Ten to Eight” that was on TOTP a while back. Plus the Simon and Garfunkel album “Wednesday Morning 3am”.

  61. 61
    mrdiscopop on 9 Nov 2014 #

    #51 #53 #55 Great suggestions. I’m afraid my musical memory has largely let me down. Is it cheating to suggest Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5?

  62. 62
    Kinitawowi on 9 Nov 2014 #

    Most random time:

    Rialto – Monday Morning 5:19

    Why not 5:18, dammit?

  63. 63
    ciaran on 9 Nov 2014 #

    Any room for this one somewhere Erithian?

    10.20 A. M – Spoon

  64. 64
    swanstep on 9 Nov 2014 #

    My iTunes yields lots of ultra-specific times:
    2-45 am, Elliott Smith
    3:14 Every Night, Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
    4 in the morning, Gwen Stefani
    11.57, Elemeno P [a morning, ‘don’t want to get a job’ song]
    10:15 Saturday Night, The Cure
    10 A.M. Automatic, The Black Keys

  65. 65
    Mark M on 9 Nov 2014 #

    There’s also 4.48 Psychosis by Tindersticks, words and title from a Sarah Kane play, that being a time she was awake due to depression. (It’s Tindersticks in their Velvets/noise & spoken word mode, rather than either the barfly croon or soul one).

  66. 66
    enitharmon on 9 Nov 2014 #

    No room for The Who’s 5:15? Blondie’s 11:59? Soft Machine’s 10:30 Returns To The Bedroom? Rufus Wainwright’s 11:11? Does JJ Cale’s After Midnight count? The Beatles’ Any Time At All counts as a joker, right?

  67. 67
    Ed on 9 Nov 2014 #

    @60 Simon and Garfunkel also had ‘Seven O’Clock News / Silent Night’.

    You could set your watch by them.

  68. 68
    Mark M on 9 Nov 2014 #

    A couple more non-specifics: 3rd Base’s Steppin’ to the AM, and Christina Milian’s AM to PM (not a bunny – I did check).

  69. 69
    jim5et on 10 Nov 2014 #

    9PM is also when you take your first pill on a Saturday night. Hence Nine O’Clock Drop.

  70. 70
    Steve Mannion on 10 Nov 2014 #

    Ah that compilation! Used to get played in the studio of my first job after graduating – first time I’d heard ‘Nice Mover’ and ‘Warm Leatherette’ (tho I found the latter v annoying at first) – actually everything on it was new to me.

  71. 71
    Ed on 11 Nov 2014 #

    @29 @57, @69: Er, maybe I was just being slow: perhaps Tom explains the title in his first paragraph. ATB looking at his watch is the clue. So maybe it is just a random identifier after all.

  72. 72
    Tom on 12 Nov 2014 #

    It should be mentioned that the “secret origin of 9PM” story in the review comes from Songfacts, not the most bulletproof source. I couldn’t find anything to corroborate it, but I couldn’t find any conflicting accounts either, and I kept it in because I thought it was so banal it was probably true.

  73. 73
    Hofmeister Bear on 1 Dec 2014 #

    #42 is pretty much spot on in his analysis, although the House-Pop which was predominantly coming out of Italy 2/3 years later felt like the real end of the road to me at the time and still does. The notion that the closing sentence to almost two decades of Dance music history since the birth of Acid House was something as innocuous as ‘Just The Way You Are’ by Milky appeals to me greatly. Even if it is an outrageous belief.

    As for Trance? well outside of it’s own devotees I can’t ever remember it being taken at all seriously in the UK. Old House heads hated it of course – arguably because they understood that it was the logical conclusion to the gradual departure from Dance’s roots in Black American music, which had been taking place in much of the Techno side of the family tree for some time. Unlike House Trance paid no heed to the old Soul-Funk-Disco-Boogie lineage, and it didn’t care either.

    Aside from it’s influence on modern EDM the lasting legacy of guff like this is the mountains of turn-of-the-millennium commercial Trance which now litter record shops up and down the country – Most of it seemingly hiding in a Positiva sleeve. You can’t even pay people to take this shit off your hands.

  74. 74
    Mark G on 2 Dec 2014 #

    A pity that “Star-turn on 45 (pints)” didn’t follow up “Pump up the Bitter” with a version of this one.

    Then again, I’m using the word “Pity” as a synonym for “thank god”

  75. 75
    nixon on 3 Dec 2014 #

    Having never even heard OF “Pump Up The Bitter” I had to go and investigate, and while I won’t go into my reaction any further than to note bafflement (as this is really the wrong thread), I’m hugely amused that for some reason (algorithm glitch? wife failing to delete cookies? Who knows?), all the YT “related videos” are for the Fifty Shades of Grey film. For a split second I thought maybe it was because “Pump Up The Bitter” played over the end credits or something, and I’m now laughing so much it’s really, really difficult to type

  76. 76
    Patrick Mexico on 3 Dec 2014 #

    #73 I’ve asked this question before on Popular, and I’ll ask it again: is there any good literature criticising the lasting effects of acid house and rave? (Or at least the ugly beasts you mention that it (d)evolved into.) It’s not an angle I’m in overwhelming agreement with, but I’d be eternally grateful for such literature.

    Perhaps it’s difficult to find because many writers would fear taking an “anti-rave” stance = a) “Disco Sucks” and its racist and homophobic overtones, or b) reactionary and conservative in tone due to how acid house was apparently “the antidote to Thatcher’s Britain.” But do tell if such books exist! I have hundreds of pages to write about this myself..

    Hofmeister, I presume with the “shit [people won’t take] off your hands” you mean by-products of such tracks as Ian Van Dahl – Castles in the Sky, Lasgo – Something and Divine Inspiration – Show Me The Way? No doubt commercial trance was adored by a large chunk of my mid/late twenties generation, but perhaps if you were a bit older the reaction would be “It’s like Shoom/the Hacienda/A Guy Called Gerald never happened.”

  77. 77
    Mark G on 3 Dec 2014 #

    Criticising? Why that perspective?

    I mean, it evolved into what we now have as Electronic Dance Music, which is more commercial in nature. But if it was (and is) music that people like, and its not repressive in nature, which it isn’t, um, what’s the problem?

  78. 78
    Patrick Mexico on 3 Dec 2014 #

    I’m not saying I agree with the “criticism.” I’d just like to read about that criticism, as I haven’t seen it much in my time, apart from, perhaps, Alan McGee’s anxiety about people bringing back “hippy” phrases around that time, and Mark E Smith’s autobiography, i.e. “having to leave Manchester in 1989 because 26-stone brickies were trying to hug me. I preferred it when they used to threaten me” and “Ecstasy = state control = Brave New World.”

  79. 79
    Patrick Mexico on 3 Dec 2014 #

    But more on that when we get deeper into the ’00s and the “death of the superclub” plus “big in t’clubs” #1s which sample Steve Winwood. Don’t exactly hold your breath, but I have enough material on this kind of thing to write a trilogy to rival the Godfather.

  80. 80
    Hofmeister Bear on 3 Dec 2014 #

    #76: In my experience the most common 12” pot boilers from this period are the two big Alice DeeJay singles and ‘On The Beach’ by York which was released on Manifesto, the other major label imprint that was churning out this stuff in quantity alongside the aforementioned Positiva.

    I can’t think of any notable screeds against Acid House and it’s legacy although I’m sure they exists. The only book I know of which covers the commercial peak and post-millennium collapse is ‘Superstar DJs Here We Go!’. It’s supposedly a light read and since it was written by a former editor of Mixmag I can’t imagine it being too scathing about that era either.

  81. 81
    ciaran on 8 Dec 2014 #

    One big shrug-of-the-shoulders type record. A minute in and I’m already losing interest.No surprise that this was massive as it was more or less the soundtrack to scorching hot summer days and nights.


  82. 82
    Patrick Mexico on 11 Dec 2014 #

    #80: Will still give it a read, thanks. I guess it won’t cover one of my (many) controversial pop hypotheses (albeit one I stand by defiantly until proven otherwise) – acid house, though for many a thrilling, fantastic subculture and era to be young in – and in particular Ecstasy – was a false dawn for British society. The main reason being the football hooliganism it supposedly diluted and “cured” was moved off the terraces, but the beast wasn’t shot and put down, the “nastiness” simply spread its tentacles into other, wider parts of British life, and is to blame for a myriad of social ills today, including the most extreme, violent forms of anti-social behaviour, the parents too lazy to bring kids up in even the most basic form, and the underlying materialistic, “booze Britain”, “excess”, “everyone has to be a celebrity” aggression to society that’s alienated people from having a drink in many of their own town centres. I’m sure these problems existed before 1987, but not in a way where most of the younger generation considered it “normal.”

    (Please don’t think I’m being a naive snob – I had this theory long before 2010 and the Tories got in, again, and people were relying on food banks, again, and I am trying to help local people in this situation myself; nobody should have to go through this. But go to towns like Blackburn, which held plenty of the iconic illegal raves in the late 80s/early 90s, and you’ll probably see plenty of twentysomething people born around that time around moments of E-fuelled passion who have simply given up – sharks-on-leads dogs, spitting everywhere, swearing in front of their children, arses hanging out of their tracksuit bottoms – and ironically, the prime set of bigoted, uneducated (i mean, “couldnt be bovered at skool books r gay” [sic]) attitudes that is one reason fuelling the sizeable “angry white men” support base for the far right around the north west.

    Now the almost entirely left-liberal (and a lovely bunch of left-liberals they are, don’t get me wrong) Popular literati might crucify me for this, but go to any small Northern town and talk to self-styled “respectable” working-class people, you will get a much stronger response that people like the above are responsible for their own actions – and own mess – rather than the London dinner party set you risk guilt by association with, who have to draw some dumb “oppression” sociological explanation and excuses for the wastes of space who beat a father to death in Warrington who was stopping his wife’s car from being vandalised, or a young woman in Rossendale just because they didn’t like her wearing Goth clothes. (Both these incidents happened in summer 2007, a long way from anyone discussing ‘austerity’. In the latter, the parents of one of the attackers were accused of not taking the interview seriously and “laughing” through the interview, completely disbelieving, unable to recognise how they raised such a monster.. so yes, I can probably blame the families here.)

    I wish people like the above in Blackburn could be helped, but they need to be helped through tough love as well as blaming the system. If, say, Michael Stipe reformed R.E.M. and wrote a song attacking Deep South rednecks and the dodgy NRA attitudes, I bet my house that you’d all be applauding him.

    I do believe rave culture gave people a sense of naive arrogance, that dreams were more important than reality, everyone – even indefensible c**ts – were to be respected equally, and everything was to be regarded of equal worth, because ASPIRATION AND STANDARDS WERE FOR BAD EVIL NASTY PEOPLE LIKE MRS THATCHER. Oh come off it, she certainly had bad, evil and nasty traits, and I’m sure it was great for millions when she stepped down as PM, but that just popped a tiny zit on a world that needed a million boils being lanced, and as the bad sides of the 80s have reproduced, we have ten million more boils.)

    I know people may accuse me of supreme arrogance and delusion for running the rule over youth culture that peaked when I was five, but I stick to my guns and believe there are no sacred cows in this game. After all, I’ve no qualms about saying some middle-aged white men in say, Accrington or Stockport who loved Northern Soul in 1975 probably still have deeply bigoted opinions about the Ferguson and Staten Island shootings, namely because that genre didn’t promote racial integration positively – it tucked black American artists, revered for their “obscurity” in a nice little corner where they couldn’t bother the Roy Chubby Brown minions too much, a bit like the maid from Tom and Jerry.

  83. 83
    Mark M on 11 Dec 2014 #

    Re82: I know that one of the things that Popular does is look at the intersection between pop and the wider culture, but you seem to be pushing that a little bit far. Your starting point seems to be an idea that is highly contentious at very best – that acid house brought about the end of football hooliganism – and flipped it on its head. Now, while I don’t doubt that there were certainly a reasonable number of people who used to have scraps before matches who then started going raving and had a change of their ways, I suspect that is a fairly small part of the reason going to watch football matches is much safer now than it was in 1987. It’s very easy to be taken in by surface noise and to mistake correlation for causation. It applies equally to acid house dreamers and to the architects of NYC’s hardcore policing policies of the 1990s, who oversaw a massive decline in violence and (entirely understandably) took credit for it, when the perspective of time and space has shown that similar things were happening all over the economically developed world, regardless of law & order approach.

    (Just for a bit of political balance, I would also argue that when we’re talking about Ghost Town, for instance, it’s worth acknowledging that places like Coventry had massive problems some time before the ascent of Mrs Thatcher, although the fact that unemployment almost tripled in a very short space of time after 1979 certainly didn’t help).

    So just as I don’t believe that acid culture had the magic effect ascribed it by its supporters, so equally I think it is unlikely it had the negative influence you’re claiming. For a start, most people in slice of the generation concerned, never took ecstasy, never went to an illegal rave. Of those that did, I’m pretty sure most of those didn’t buy into the full ideology. It was just another night out.

    Against this, we’ve got rather more tangible factors to take into account, such as deindustrialisation and the end of the concept of full employment, a massive rise in inequality (a long-term process, but the biggest jump came in the late ’80s), changes in family composition (again, something that was happening long before 1988), immigration, flight to the suburbs, town planning mistakes of the 1950s and ’60s… Just for starters. A lot of the ‘everybody is a star’ attitudes you are blaming on acid house are widely blamed by right-wing commentators on the progressive education policies of the 1970s (much more significant than rave, surely) – I’m willing to bet you could find newspaper columns from the ’80s moaning about exactly the same thing.

    And finally, I’m always very sceptical in the face of particular shock one-off stories of inhuman behaviour – it’s fairly easy to find these from any point in history. People can be vile. Always have been, almost certainly always will be. But only sometimes. It is very easy to take one story – say the murder of James Bulger as one notorious example – and falsely extrapolate the signs of the apocalypse.

    Also, you seem to think you’re saying something unsaid, but the whole line about respectable working class having no time for excuses for anti-social behaviour was the core idea by which Tony Blair and Jack Straw pitched New Labour as a tough on crime party. Hence ASBOs.

    All of which is to say I’d like a lot more evidence and clearer thinking before I take what you’re saying seriously. (And also, no, if Michael Stipe wrote a song about rednecks, I wouldn’t pay any attention.)

  84. 84
    Mark M on 11 Dec 2014 #

    By the way, the classic early piece of writing on the relationship between acid house and football violence is Gavin Hills’ Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads?, from The Face in 1991. Hills was far, far too bright to swallow the simplistic ‘pills stopped the kickings’ line – it’s a terrific, nuanced piece. In it’s original magazine layout, it’s online here, but I’m not sure how readable it is there. If you spot a copy of his (sadly posthumous) collective writings, Bliss To Be Alive, in a second-hand shop or online, I heartily recommend it.

  85. 85
    Tommy Mack on 11 Dec 2014 #

    Great article. Just about readable on a proper screen as opposed to a phone.

    Re: 82, 83 – it’s just as easy (and just as over-simplistic) to blame mindless thuggery on the ‘me first’ sharp-elbows ethos of 80s economic liberalism. As my Dad said recently, you’re always reading about how kids today are feral, out-of-control etc but when he grew up, the entire British countryside was dotted with borstals, all of them full of youth offenders, so clearly society has always deemed youths to be a menace, long before Thatcher or Acid House. Or punk or casuals or even mods and rockers.

  86. 86
    Mark M on 11 Dec 2014 #

    Re85: Absolutely. In any case, in broader statistical terms – there are obvious specific places where this is not the case – ‘mindless thuggery’ is less common now than it was for much of the 20th century, despite the predictions from across the spectrum and the nonsense peddled daily by the newspapers. Neither Grand Theft Auto nor rising inequality has caused a general wave of street violence. The best current academic guess is that the phasing out of leaded petrol has had a profound effect.

  87. 87
    Mark G on 11 Dec 2014 #

    I did notice, they have just repealed the ‘anti-rave’ laws, I guess they feel it’s safe now…

  88. 88
    katstevens on 11 Dec 2014 #

    #82 I don’t have it to hand but ISTR Jane Bussman’s (largely positive!) book on acid house had a theory that it was always going to be a short-lived era of peace & love for a combination of reasons: 1) towards the arse end of the era the downgrade in quality of E meant that people were ‘topping up’ with speed, (temporarily-slightly-cheaper) coke and (permanently on special offer) sugar-filled booze, all cancelling out all the hippy vibes 2) people had ended up the duff while off their face and now suddenly had wailing kids to be responsible for – or not, according to your comment above 3) the human brain’s ability to generate serotonin gets worse the more you hammer at it: one pill might kick off your epiphany but it ain’t going to do the job weekend after weekend, and eventually the Tuesday blues start lasting the whole week. Of course this is all stuff I’ve read rather than experienced: I was ten years old at the time and all I remember was how exciting these orbital raves looked on the news.

  89. 89
    Tommy Mack on 11 Dec 2014 #

    We should put MDMA in the water supply. Not enough to get the nation gurning but just enough to encourage more positive vibes. There should be more of it in expensive bottled water because a) rich people are more sour-faced to begin with and b) their dickery has more far reaching consequences than that of yer standard hoolie. To avoid tolerance setting in, phase it out in summer when no-one does any work anyway so people can have a nice gentle comedown in the sunshine. Obvious drawback: we will be invaded and enslaved by countries like Russia who will start putting crack in their water.

  90. 90
    Patrick Mexico on 17 Dec 2014 #

    Re 83: Thanks for your detailed and potent reply.

    I’ll admit it wasn’t the most “evidential” or “clearly thought” post I’ve made on Popular. Originally I’d planned the “acid house messed the country up!” as a humorous, light-hearted, not-very-serious-at-all way to play Devil’s Advocate, as in my nearest major city you allegedly can’t move for people warmly reminiscing about “Madchester” or the Hacienda. (Just like the second nearest which allegedly mutually despises the first, and their alleged 60s fetishisation, but that’s another story..)

    Or, a decade earlier with my parents’ generation, and in many smaller and more modest Lancashire towns, the Northern Soul revolution. They were two big youth cults which I’ve loved and owned a lot of the music from, but born in 1985 in Blackburn, raised around Accrington and Clitheroe, I have a natural bitterness I missed out on this and had an adolescence soundtracked by Semisonic and Alice Deejay. I can laugh at the overall naffness and send up my innate jealousy I was “born in the wrong decade.” So I was not intending to be “contentious” or overly serious with post #82.

    Unfortunately I posted this early in the morning after a few pints and with alcohol my sense of humour often actually weaken, and due to personal psychological traits, my emotions can quickly plummet into the realm of outright morbidity, and I’m very sorry if I came across as misanthropic and/or used genuine human tragedies for point-scoring. This isn’t the first time I’ve mucked up – see some of my inane dribblings on the Don’t Look Back In Anger/Firestarter threads. I’ll try to only post here on future when we’re not in the wee small hours, and I’m on a full stomach and a clear head. Indeed, this week’s events, having a sister who lives and works in Sydney, have taught me not to rashly jump to conclusions at the expense of the dignity of human life. Thanks for your time.

  91. 91
    Mark M on 17 Dec 2014 #

    Re90: No worries – your original post was scarcely dickish at all, just a bit contentious. Your sense of having missed out is interesting, because at least for the media boosters of acid house, at least some of the appeal seemed to come from finally being able to turn to the one-time hippies and punks and say, ‘See, you wrote us off as a dull, conformist, unoriginal generation, but look – we’ve got our own thing, and the tabloid moral panic stories to prove it.’

  92. 92
    Chinny Reckon on 29 Mar 2015 #

    @Tom- The vocal sample is ultimately lifted from the a cappella of this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUYQQF3Ijrg I’m not sure what the television has to do with it. As for people claiming this record is not trance, they are all purist trance snobs who hate admitting anything they don’t like is trance because it ‘sullies’ ‘their’ genre. The fact is, it is trance, just a different style of trance to the one they like, but apparently it’s not enough for people like them to call it ‘crap trance’ or whatever, they have to deny that it even is trance.

    You should have told them to get off their high horses and piss off.

  93. 93
    flahr on 16 Aug 2015 #

    Very much a “oh, THIS one” this, although it hides it by having the guitar hook be teasingly incomplete the first runthrough or so. I like it but it’s difficult to really think of anything to say about it [6]

  94. 94
    Lee Saunders on 20 Jul 2017 #

    The 4-10 July 1999 week in the UK charts was apparently a bit miscalculated, as sales from Virgin Megastore and Our Price were somehow left out, believed to be because of those stores’ computer problems while moving their mainframe computers to Bristol. This mishap landed Blur’s Coffee & TV at #11 and Semisonic’s Secret Smile at either #12 or #13 (different sources telling me different things) instead of the top 10, and Blur’s manager and Universal-Island’s managing director were naturally a bit peeved.

  95. 95
    Lee Saunders on 10 Mar 2019 #

    The final in a line of near-instrumental dance 90s #1s (Doop, Block Rockin’ Beats, Flat Beat), 9pm – in its UK radio edit – is a lovely, melancholic thing that, along with other number ones from the times, puts me right in my imagined ’99 faux-nostalgia (I was born in 97 but I feel home videos and exposure to lots of late 90s records from a young age means my head has somehow fabricated a quasi-nostalgia for times I don’t remember living). Pop trance in general was often moody (to the point where for trance to be uplifting summons the actual genre ‘uplifting trance’), but while some of this moody stuff was impenetrable, the best of it was pretty and endearing. 9pm, for instance.

    Its rather like Children but the sorrowful piano changed for ATB’s signature sorrowful steel guitar. A simple change, perhaps, and it was his ‘twist’ to trance as much as the du-du-du-du-du was Darude’s. But a mini steel guitar trance bloom did follow, as can be heard in such records as York’s OTB (On the Beach) (and indeed ATB/York’s later collaboration The Fields of Love) and Three Drivers’ Greece 2000 (Moonwatchers Remix). But look back only ten years and see how The Durutti Column’s lovely Obey the Time seems like a precedent, Vini’s distinctive jangle and the steady house beats conjuring up the sort of Balearic imagery many Ibiza trance comps only dream of (in my head anyway, speaking as someone who has never been to the Islands). And then look some ten years into the future to Jon Hopkins’ remix of Leo Abraham’s Spider, where a treated acoustic guitar bounces lightly atop a snapping but collected backing like Four Tet as his best. Which is to say, 9pm and its ilk arguably exist in a larger, indirect lineage of sunny dance music with twangy guitars.

    A lot of pop trance was joyfully flashy (and joyfully so, sometimes), but 9pm’s relatively composed nature, rather unassuming even, means its all the more harlequin and endearing to me.


  96. 96
    Gareth Parker on 3 May 2021 #

    I would agree with Lee’s post (#95) and would opt for an 8/10 as well. I think the UK radio edit is the mix I am most familiar with.

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