It was March 1997.
I was fourteen, and my musical taste had been strongly shaped by the previous year's so-called Britpop revolution. 'Everything Must Go' and 'Different Class' were my most-played records, but pretty much everything I liked at the time was played by white dudes with guitars. Then, one day in March '97, ten years ago, I heard 'Block Rockin' Beats', and it's not exaggeration to say it changed my life.
The Chemical Brothers' new single combined in in-your-face aesthetic of rock music, but you could dance to it. It had so much energy. I honestly had not heard anything like it before. I know they weren't really pioneers or anything, but this song was given a lot of attention at the time (it made it to number one), and once I bought the parent album 'Dig Your Own Hole' (on day of release, suckers!), it did what no other album ever has - made me want to discover lots of new music. All the samples and breaks they lift from old-skool hip hop led me to getting into stuff like Ultramagnetic MCs and Public Enemy, leading to A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Black Star etc etc. 'Dig Your Own Hole' was like a key to a new world for me. And indie hero Noel Gallagher sang on it! Come on!
Ten years on, the album still sounds fresh and can rock a party, I presume. I presume since I never have parties, but that's because I'm a law student. Enjoy the simple but effective two-note riffing on 'Piku'. And seek 'The Private Psychedelic Reel', the incredible album closer, featuring a man who a couple of years later would become another of my heroes, Jonathon Donahue of Mercury Rev. And do they really say "fucking" on 'Elektrobank"? Can they do that?
Even though the ChemBros have sort of fallen off the wagon more recently (although 'Believe' off their last record, with Bloc Party's Kele on vocals, had a badass video), I can point the blame for my interest in hip-hop, and to a lesser extent, the late 90s big beat phenomena (see: Lo-Fidelity Allstars) at their feet.
Nostalgia, sure, but it brings back good memories, so shut up.
[download The Chemical Brothers - Block Rockin' Beats]
[download The Chemical Brothers - Piku]
It was March 1997.
- ► 2010 (12)
- ► 2009 (62)
- ► 2008 (139)
- You were the rope around my neck
- Get out his gun 'cos he's shooting quail
- Tuesday Miscellaneous
- You never said too much
- Right back where we started from
- I killed the teacher's pet
- Something of an end
- We were as bald as pharoahs
- I really should do something about it
- But are apologies really accepted?
- This one's for Scotland, man, Scotland
- Being a Nazi's just not cool anymore, baby
- Go to hell cos that's where you took me
- It was thirty years ago today...
- And we will rise again
- Where Do I Start? Where Do I Begin?
- Eating in the ghetto on a hundred dollar plate
- Feel like a Chinese burn on top of you
- Just look into her false coloured eyes
- Hair Like Monkey, Teeth Like Dog
- Even the Puerto Ricans listen to Journey
- I cause upset without trying
- You are the unforecasted storm
- ▼ March (24)
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