The 20th Smash Hits album was released in December 1999. 32 of its 42 tracks had already been compiled and discussed. Check out these reviews for more information:
The 1999 Brit Awards: Fatboy Slim – Praise You.
New Hits ’99: Shanks and Bigfoot – Sweet Like Chocolate.
Now That’s What I Call Music 42: 911 – A Little Bit More, Spice Girls – Goodbye, Boyzone -When The Going Gets Tough, Cartoons – Witch Doctor.
Smash Hits Summer ’99: Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now.
Fresh Hits ’99: Westlife – Swear It Again.
Now That’s What I Call Music 43: S Club 7 – Bring It All Back, Backstreet Boys – I Want It That Way, Alice Deejay – Better Off Alone, Adam Rickitt – I Breathe Again.
Big Hits ’99: Sixpence None The Richer – Kiss Me, Stereophonics – I Wouldn’t Believe Your Radio, Moloko – Sing It Back.
Now That’s What I Call Music 1999: The Millennium Series: , DJ Jean – The Launch, Shaft – (Mucho Mambo) Sway, Lolly – Hey Mickey.
Now Dance 2000: Ann Lee – 2 Times, Britney Spears – Sometimes, Tin Tin Out featuring Emma Bunton – What I Am (Groove Chronicle Remix), Geri Halliwell – Mi Chico Latino (Charlie Rapino Version), Bob Marley vs Funkster De Luxe – Sun Is Shining, Alice Deejay – Back In My Life (Thrillseekers Remix Edit).
Huge Hits ’99: Steps – Love’s Got A Hold Of My Heart, Tom Jones & The Cardigans – Burning Down The House.
Now That’s What I Call Music 44: Tina Cousins – Angel, Geri Halliwell – Lift Me Up, Melanie C – Northern Star, Bran Van 3000 – Drinking In L.A., Robbie Williams – She’s The One.
Hits 2000: Phats & Small – Tonite.
We start with a brand new tune. Kiss (Where The Sun Don’t Shine) was the lead single from Vengaboys’ Platinum Album. The end result is far less annoying than usual – for about the first 30 seconds – before descending into hell. As an added bonus, the video shot in Tokyo. Meanwhile Martine McCutcheon remade the Bee Gees’ Love Me which also doubled up as the BBC Children in Need single for 1999. Our Tiff’s performance of the song at the telethon saw her supported by 100 children between the age of 8 and 13. Proving that they’re just a flash in the plan are BB Mak with the bland Still On Your Side. Upping the quality is Beverley Knight with a supreme slice of heartfelt soul, Sista Sista.
Arrival: Atomic Kitten’s Right Now. Natasha Hamilton, Kerry Katona and Liz McClaron. All the way to #10, a catchy and well-performed debut single. Into the dance zone with Perfect Phase’s lost continent stadium trance of Horny Horns. Inspired by the film Contact, Paul Van Dyk’s Another Way works as a melodic and less frantic anthem for an exclusive superclub. Elsewhere Michael Moog gets wild and reaches for the skyline with the delightful That Sound which contains a sample of The Detroit Spinners’ I’ll Be Around. Less fondly remembered are Solid Gold Chartbusters (Guy Pratt and Jimmy Cauty) whose creation of the Nokia ring tone menace I Wanna 1-2-1 With You still makes me wince in grim recognition. Trigger Happy TV meets the Moody Boys uptown. Make mine 1999.
The closing track on Smash Hits 2000 is by the Cuban Boys. Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia topped both John Peel’s Festive 50 and my own top 50 of 1999. You know the score, the song is based on one of the first internet memes, Hampster Dance, which itself was based on Roger Miller’s Whistle Stop. Peel played the demo heavily from spring onwards and it became continually requested. The single was eventually released at the beginning of December in a effort to became the Christmas #1. It got fourth place. I was obsessed with them all through the year and wrote about them extensively in Analogue Bubblebath.
Oh My God! They Killed Kenny: “If Rome burns it’s because we dropped the match”, the message of the inner label reads. Bold statement. Unfortunately for all you cynics out there, those who believer The Cuban Boys to be mere media / cyber hype, this record more than lives up to the rumours. Originally recorded for a one-off John Peel session in 1998 (it reached #6 in his Festive 50), those good people at For Us have decided to press just 500 7″ singles coupled with (Let’s Get) Raunchy and sell them exclusively through Rough Trade’s London shop. The song in question is filled with obvious South Park samples and glides along like a glam rock pastiche with a house beat in the background. A communal chorus gives the mayhem a nice touch. The B-side is a hybrid of dancehall and big beat and “it’s so fresh!” samples.
Blueprint For Modernisation EP: Foggy Mountain Breakdown is the opener, a banjo-fuelled bastardisation of a certain Rednex track complete with euphoric and blissful banjo breakdown. The Helium Hardcore Remix of Kenny comes next, old-style rave complete with rude samples. I Like Everybody shows that Les Rhythms Digitales isn’t the only one stuck in an early ’80s vibe with cheesy synths and futuristic vocal samples that remind me of Visage crossed with Air. Last year’s “hit” Cuban Boys appears again in remixed form taking in dancehall and swingin’ London ’60s style vibe – like Lionrock with a sense of humour. And the vocal samples, cliched and corny as hell (“It’s time to get busy”) complementing the big band swing sound so well. “I have come here to chew bubblegum and kiss ass” announces the sampled man on the beginning of the best track here, Stardust (Part 1 – They Came From Outer Space) before it blends into a gorgeous joke-house tune with a deadly sampled female vocal talking about “the meadows of her heart”, the perfect comedown track for the millennium celebrations. Finally the CD ends with a computerised accapella, Message One. Press skip and play again.
“And this is your Uncle Dan saying good night.
Good night, little kids, good night.
We’re off? Good, well that oughta hold the little bastards.”
Cuban Boys – Cognoscenti Vs Intelligentsia
Robbie Williams – She’s The One
Paul Van Dyk – Another Way
Atomic Kitten – Right Now
S Club 7 – Bring It All Back
Lest we forget
Michael Moog – That Sound