Mr. Lava's Trash Music Compendium

Another round-up of the best, the worst, and the most intriguing trash of the past and present.

(January 2002)         

M-System - Let Me Feel the Groove
M-System's "Let Me Feel the Groove" is your basic dream dance tune, with the requisite delicate piano melody atop trance beats. What elevates it above snoozers like "Children," however, is a more substantial melody and a wonderful key-shifted bridge featuring an ethereal a female vocal. More pretty than beautiful, but edgier than much of this genre's fare.

Gina G - Ooh Ahh...Just a Little Bit More (Motiv 8 Vintage Honey Mix)
"Ooh Aah . . . Just a Little Bit More," was the eighth-place finisher in the 1996 Eurovision competition. It is a perky, synth-driven number with upbeat female vocals, and was produced by Motiv-8, who has a talent for putting together upbeat and engaging dance songs. His "Vintage Honey Mix" is my favorite, turning the goofily fun original into something strangely emotional (it courageously ditches the vocal's choruses completely).

Neja - Time Flies (Original Mix)
A dazzling Italo anthem for Neja, best known for giving us the Euro-wide smash "Restless." An admirable madness on display here, including wild pitch shifts and walls of looped sound. Really well crafted; certainly the least conventional thing Neja has lent her voice to (well, since making her vocal debut on a prog rock album in the 1990's).

Me & My (Me and My) - Sleeping My Days Away
Female duo Me & My achieved Dance Dance Revolution immortality with their perky "Dub-i-Dub." The toothier "Sleeping My Days Away," released two albums later, is a magnificent invitation for tireless club rats to pump their fists in the air. It's compelling lyrical quality may stem from the fact that it's a cover of a song by a Danish rock band called D-A-D; and I have read that the evidently joyless fans of that group weren't too pleased to hear it danced up in this way.

Hampenberg - Ducktoy (Vocal Club Mix)
All my friends love "the duck song. Which song is that? Why, it's the one with the squeeking duck toy! Well, that's logical! Not content with being merely a novelty tune, Hampenberg liven up the squeeks with a big synth hook and belting female vocals. Excellent! (In 2006 there was a new "Duck Toy" song, called "Crazy Duck," by Klubbhoppers. Please. "Crazy Duck" is not nearly as good as the Hampenberg tune.)

AA Project - Jump
Another Eurotrashing of an 80s tune, featuring a motivational chant of "JUMP! JUMP!" followed by the keyboard riffs from the Van Halen original. Sounds like they sampled the original tune, and I'm glad they saw fit to include the squiggly synth bridge as well (making this superior to Bus Stop's trash take on the same tune).

Lili & Sussie - Oh Mamma
1987 Swedish classic gets a 2000 remix (on a three track EP of various Swedish remixes called Schooldays). It sounds exactly like ABBA and Anita Ward on crack jamming in a wind tunnel.

Alcazar - Crying at the Discoteque
Samples Sheila and B. Devotion's legendary "Spacer," a song that might have simultaneously invented and killed "progressive disco," but that lives on in this and numerous other songs that have pilfered from it. Alcazar's effort is the most impressive of those, as it works very well on its own terms.

Ratty - Sunrise (Here I Am) (Club Mix)
Another Darude Sandstormish sorta thing produced by Ratty, an alter ego for those loved/hated blokes in Scooter. Contains an utterly incongruous chunk of Tim Buckley's/This Mortal Coil's "Song to the Siren" followed by a fierce keyboard bit. But it works.

Mo'hawk - Previous Years
One of those brooding, dark, atmospheric trance tracks. No words sung or spoken, just adrenalized music with creepy goosebump detours.

Sash! - Encore un Fois
A massive club classic, with dark, trance elements combined with spoken words delivered by a mysterious French woman. Lyrics include a shout-out to other bands that have inspired Sash! Curiously, artists who have threatened to sue Sash! for stealing their own hooks (Faithless being one of them) are absent from that list.

DJ Sammy and Yanou - Heaven
DJ Sammy and Yanou cover Bryan Adams's "Heaven." It is a success. DJ Sammy releases a full-length album many months later called "Heaven." Now you're pushin' it, Sammy.

Crystal Waters - Come On Down
Samples the theme music from "The Price is Right" and extends it to Iron Butterfly epic proportions, but without any variation. Guaranteed to put pinwheels in your eyes. Paul Johnson released a similar thing a year earlier, but that appears only to have been an unofficial single, suggesting that he might not have secured rights to the original song. Crystal Waters has bigger bucks behind her, so I assume her handlers agreed to make that purchase. This sort of story (band with uncleared sample released white label; band with more money buys sample, basically redoes same song, and takes glory) is a familiar one in the history of pop-dance music.

No Angels and Donovan - Atlantis 2002
Did you hear the one about how German girl-group No Angels smoked some bananas with Donovan? Well, around 3 AM they were swaying from side to side singing "Atlantis," and a Deadhead was there with his digital tape recorder to capture the performance for all posterity—lucky for us.

(February 2002)

Qu-Zar - Music Planet
Pretty bad-ass. A chick chants, "Music. Planet. Played Played Sound" on top of frantic, pounding beats. That's it, but it works.

Scooter - Ramp (The Logical Song)
A cover, of sorts, of Supertramp's "Logical Song" as interpreted by chipmunks, sandwiched between shouted travel advertisements for Siberia. They call it "Ramp," and then, perhaps anticipating the legal issues, add, parenthetically, "(The Logical Song)."

ATC (A Touch of Class) - Around the World
It's one of the best known Eurodance songs--even in the United States, where it was memorably used in a popular General Electric ad during the 2002 Olympics. But not a lot of people know that the original was written by Russian techno group Ruki Vverh (their original version is sometimes available on iTunes as "The Song"). The song set off an explosion of glossy, Eurodance tunes with "la-di-da" style choruses (French Affair's "My Heart Goes Boom" being one of many dozens of examples). Probably impossible not to like. Amazingly, American iTunes has long failed to have this tune, something I noted in 2006, and I see again in 2011 is the case--unless you want to pay full price for "Mickey's Dance Party"--as in Mickey MOUSE's dance party (nearly all the other songs are covers and tributes to Mickey). And they wonder why we file-share.

Tomcraft - Overdose (Killa Vocal Mix)
My favorite Tomcraft tune relates the sad story of a girl who can never get enough, and so she dies from an overdose. You'd think that would be a bummer, but not when the tongue-in-cheek qualities of the lyrics are enhanced by the exhilarating dance sounds behind it.

Da Hool - Meet Her at the Love Parade (Airwave Mix)
Da Hool keeps re-releasing "Meet Her at the Love Parade," and many Eurodance researchers are beginning to wonder why. But in 2001 the Airwave mix added an extra bit of thunder to the proceedings, making this quite the welcome revamp.

Mark Picchiotti presents Basstoy feat. Dana - Runnin'
Basstoy feat. Dana's "Runnin'", as I understand it, began life as an instrumental (pre-Dana), and then got a vocal (post-Dana). The vocal mix, buoyed by the singer's sassy delivery and some creatively cut-up vocal bits, is superb.

Noemi - In My Dreams (Clan DJ Team Mix)
Starts off as "mope trance," and then we are saved from the singer's whinging by a really cool keyboard bit.

Riva feat. Dannii Minogue - Who Do You Love Now? (Stringer)
Taking over where Noemi left off, Dannii Minogue mopes on top of Riva's "Stringer." This song signalled Danii's predilection for warbling new vocals atop previously released instrumental dance singles.

Pablo 'n' Cezanne - Sun Dance
Pablo n' Cezanne's jolly tribal trance number "Sun Dance," is a compliment to their "Rain Dance"—and is the better of those two.

Atomic Kitten - Right Now
Atomic Kittens want you to give it to them, and preferably slowly. The CD singles for the song featured the group's original line-up, before Kerry Katona got preggers and left the band (forcing a re-release of their debut album with new vocals from Natasha Hamilton). In retrospect, the UK girl group never got better than this (a string of dull ballads was to follow).

Masterboy - Show Me Colours (Goodfriends Mix)
A lovely slab of classic Eurodance complete with the goofiest rap this side of 1983. The Goodfriends mix seems not to be included amongst the plethora of mixes on the CD single; it features a different synth run and, I think, a different rapper. Another mysterious anomaly from the Napster/Audiogalaxy days. But the "maxi mix" is also excellent.

Kai Tracid - Life is Too Short
Kai Tracid advises you to live life to the fullest. This makes this tune different from your typical pop-trance song, which tells you how terrible life is and encourages you to kill yourself.

Aqua - Cartoon Heroes
Would make an appropriate closing number for the popular "Barbie Girl" group's career. I always commend the use of tympani; it always adds to a song's epic qualities.

Safri Duo - Baya Baya
Safri Duo, who being former classical percussionists understand tympani themselves, take a chill with "Baya Baya," which, unlike their "Samb Adagio," does not sound like just another knock-off of their own "Played Alive." Good for umbrella drinks by the beach.

The compendiums:

2001 06/07
2001 08
2002 01
2002 01
2002 01/02
2002 04
2002 06
2002 09
2002 10/11
2002 12/2003 01
2003 02
2003 03/04
2003 05/06
2003 06
2003 08
2003 09
2003 10/12
2004 02/07
2004 07/09
2004 11
2004 12
2005 01/03
2005 05/09
2005 09
2005 12
2006 03
2006 06/09
2006 11/12
2007 01/03
2007 04/05
2007 06/07
2007 09/10
2008 01
2008 04/06
2008 06/07
2008 09/12
2009 02
2009 04/06
2009 08/09
2009 10/11
2010 01
2010 02/03
2010 04/07
2010 08/10
2010 11
2011 01/03
2011 04/05
2011 06
2011 09

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