Ragged Records Playlist Six:  Nineties Dance Club Jams

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I hardly consider myself to be a wizard when it comes to technology, but recently I discovered – after several frustrating tutorials – the process by which the kids make these YouTube video playlists. This revelation couldn’t have come at a better time, as I came to the conclusion that these playlist pieces were too long anyway. Why the fuck would anybody want to listen to me talk about the tracks that I like? That shit isn’t entertaining at all. The best material comes from me bagging on the stuff that is terrible, and then just leaving you with a playlist to listen to at the end. So my apologies for wasting your time throughout the duration of the first five playlists, and I can assure you that from now on these will be a much less painless read.

Like most twelve year-old kids in the early nineties, I spent a great deal of time fending off the throes of puberty at my local rollerskating rink. It was there that I discovered dance music can actually be a thing of beauty, and thus began my lifelong affair with the unh-tiss unh-tiss. As I got older and started going to raves…Well, a lot of bad stuff happened and you can pretty much fill in the blanks from there. But I never lost love for the music that would eventually come to be known as EDM. The nineties were a great time for that aforementioned genre, introducing America to the endless possibilities of dance music that Europe had been experiencing for quite a while. There were record boxes full of great cuts everywhere, and in many ways the people making them were just getting started.

But let’s face it, there was a lot of bad dance music going around at that point in time. In an era where alternative music slowly began to dominate MTV and metal fans were turning to Pantera to fill the void left by the steep decline in the quality of Metallica’s music, the canyonesque distance between good product and audio hogwash was widening on a daily basis. This caused record labels to once again crank out a bunch of sub-par tunes by less than inspiring artists, and nowhere did it hit harder than in the control rooms and British flats where nineties dance music was being made. The result was a legendary shitstorm of buttfuckery, so here is just a small sample of the many terrible tracks cut during that period beginning with one of the worst songs ever put to tape.  

Rednex – Cotton Eye Joe

Rednex Melodifestivalen-Globen - genrep 2006-03-17 (c) Karin Törnblom / IBL

Think I’m going to dole out a free pass here because these cats are from Sweden? Think again. There’s this horrid school of thinking that exists in certain music circles which suggests that if you mix different genres it automatically makes you a genius. We need to find that school and set it on fire as soon as possible, because the music students of the future don’t need to think that it’s okay to mix bluegrass with Scandinavian club tunes. These guys’ Wikipedia page is almost worth the visit just to laugh at the fact that someone put all that work into documenting the history of a group of individuals that should have never been allowed into a recording studio to begin with. This song sounds like the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack got bent over a hay bale and gangraped during a Raging Slab concert. Wherever these guys are I hope they’re about to do a shot of lead mouthwash, and for the sake of everybody who has suffered through having to hear this song more than once I really hope somebody gets it on videotape.

The five Jock Jams CDs that were released from 1995 to 1999

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At some point in the mid-nineties, somebody who was affiliated with Tommy Boy Records who currently has more money than anybody reading this blog made all of that scratch by putting together a massive pile of shit entitled “Jock Jams”.  The concept was simple:  Take twenty of the worst dance and hip hop tracks from the previous twenty years, and sample sportscasters in their forties barking their signature catchphrases at key points during the mix.  Although this combination sounds like it could have significantly altered the success rate of suicide hotlines nationwide in a very negative manner, these discs were all a huge hit. That doesn’t change the fact that it’s a terrible program, and it still ends with “Rock N’ Roll Part Two” by Gary Glitter and the Child Splitters so you can make whatever joke you want to about that one. To be honest with you, the Jared Fogle thing has bled me dry so I don’t have any more zingers on that topic.

Deee-Lite:  Groove is at the Heart

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I’m going to get put up against a wall and choked at some point for saying this, but this is the most overrated dance track in the history of music.  Yes, at the time it was innovative and it is catchy as hell…And yes, I have a bit of a personal issue with Lady Miss Kier that I won’t get into here. But seriously, this song gets way too much undeserved credit. I get that Bootsy Collins from Parliament Funkadelic played bass on this cut, but how many live sets do you think he did with the rest of the outfit? Probably about as many other Deee-Lite songs as you can name, but that’s kind of my point. I’ll take anything that the Scissor Sisters are currently working on over this track any day of the week, and I’m not even gay.

Suzanne Vega – Tom’s Diner

She looks thrilled, doesn't she?

Out of all of the nineties dance songs that I can’t stand, this one puzzles me the most. This song has been sampled extensively, most notably by Fall Out Boy for their 2014 arena rock hit “Centuries” and by Hyper Crush in their G-rated family friendly anthem “Fuck Beast”. But the fact is that the original track isn’t all that good. I guess that’s the point of sampling – to take some small snippet of something that isn’t the greatest as a whole and make part of it work in a loop – however a lot of really awesome songs in the history of dance have been sampled and this sure as shit isn’t one of them. This is a white woman documenting the meaningless goings on at the place she gets the breakfast she’ll vomit up in an hour, all of which is far from exciting and never needed to be written down for any reason. Put it over a boring beat and a forgettable synth, and you’ve got the recipe for why poetry and dance music shouldn’t ever be mixed in the first place.

Right Said Fred – I’m Too Sexy

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This song is the sole reason I support of the death penalty. Although this song was originally intended to make fun of the vanity it displays in the video, nobody got the joke and this song became the soundtrack to everything that happened on a runway over the following forty-eight months. Twenty-five years later, people still don’t get the joke and these guys are nowhere to be found. I’m not losing any sleep over it, that’s for sure.

Eiffel 65 – Blue

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Ever wonder what a scat musician would sound like if he did eight grams of Ketamine in one sitting? Neither do I. Hey, we have a lot in common. Maybe the two of us should go get coffee with Suzanne Vega sometime. I hear there’s all sorts of exciting stuff going on at that restaurant…

Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400

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Haven’t we had enough of this song being played at sporting events? Isn’t it time to just cut these guys a fucking check for services rendered and just be done with it? Same thing goes for “Seven Nations Army” by The White Stripes. But where as the White Stripes song is actually decent, Kk400 only has about seven seconds of usable material. Quick:  Think of one other part to that track. See… Enough already.

So as you can see, the road to nineties dance music glory is paved with plenty of unworthy skeletons of the damned. Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. There were a lot of killer dance tracks that were released in the nineties that I still listen to on a daily basis, and that’s why I’ve decided to dedicate my next playlist to the songs that made me move my ass with a lack of class. I’ve made a list directly below, and then hopefully I did the YouTube playlist that appears afterwards correctly so you can move it like Technotronic. This is Ragged Records Playlist Six:  Nineties Dance Club Jams.

  1.  The KLF “3AM Eternal” – 1991
  1.  Cathy Dennis “Just Another Dream” – 1991
  1.  Utah Saints f/Kate Bush “Something Good” – 1992
  1.  Corona “Rhythm of the Night” – 1993
  1.  Haddaway “Life” – 1993
  1.  Daft Punk – “Da Funk” – 1997
  2. Stardust – “Music Sounds Better with You” -1998
  1.  Madison Avenue – “Don’t Call Me Baby” – 1999
  1.  Armand Van Helden – “U Don’t Know Me” – 1999
  1.  LA Style – “James Brown is Dead” – 1991
  1.  Planet Soul featuring Nadine Renee – “Set You Free” – 1996
  1.  Bucketheads – “The Bomb (These Songs Fall into my Mind)” – 1995
  1.  Bad Yard Club featuring Crystal Waters – “In The Ghetto” – 1996
  1.  Basement Jaxx – “Rendez-Vu” – 1999

Once again thanks for visiting First Order Historians and enjoying more of the internet’s finest in user generated content.

 

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