Friday, February 02, 2007

Deee-Lite Theme

Song: Deee-Lite Theme
Artist: Dee-Lite
Album: World Clique

As I started this week I thought I was going to have just a ton of great pop music from the 90’s that I could highlight and spark the memory of my dear readers with tunes from times gone by. As the week is now at a close, I found myself searching through my CD collection for my final song and came up a bit short. It became very apparent to me that while I was still in tune to the pop music of the day, I was clearly into the “alternative” scene as that is what comprises the majority of my collection. Sure, bands like Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and R.E.M. were the pop music of the day… but it was pop as in POPular. Most of the novelty one-off hits of the 90’s are super dated and/or not even worth discussing. Some are just plain BAD, what were we all thinking?

As I went through my collection I came across the very first CD that I ever owned… Deee-Lite’s “World Clique.” I got the CD along with my first SONY boom-box style CD player (with the push and lift top loading tray) as a Christmas gift. I literally can still remember that day and how unbelievably excited I was. So while you ALL know “Groove is in the Heart,” one of the oddest hit songs to some along since… well probably “Love Shack,” I am instead highlighting the first song on the album, and by default… the VERY first song I was to hear on CD and my first CD player… “Deee-Lite Theme” or Track One. This song is a bit personal to me, as is the album, because it was a window to the multi-cultural “Global Village” of New York City… the town I now call home. This is an absolutely silly song but it’s got a great beat and groove and I continue to play it now and again when I DJ.

Deee-Lite never got another shot in the spotlight post the success of “Groove is in the Heart,” their second album, the super-politically correct manifesto “Infinity Within” failed to ignite a hit and neither did the third, 1994’s “Dewdrops in the Garden.” They released a remix record and then in 2001, a new millennium, they released the best-of and soon disbanded. It’s too bad, both follow-up albums were actually very good and helped bring the New York underground to this country’s collective consciousness in a way that had not been done before. They were truly cutting edge in their attempts to bridge gaps between cultures and sexual identities. I miss them.

So as this week ends and I reflect on the 90’s as a whole it occurs to me that, despite a few exceptions, that the beginning of the decade sparked an openness to something new and different that slowly died despite “alternative” taking over the airwaves. I feel like gruge-rock dominated the “out-there” scene in music and bands like Deee-Lite, Seal, EMF, KLF, etc. couldn’t fit in. Does this have to do with marketing? Or the media telling us what we should listen to… what is “now” what is hot? I’m not sure. But a lot of things changed in the 90’s as pre-millennium tension seemed to have record buyers looking for something new and then suddenly comfortable. Why does it feel further away than it actually is?


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