Thursday, March 16, 2006

Basement Jaxx's Kish Kash

It's easy to dismiss club music as weightless, but it's really some of the most utilitarian music around. Many get lost in trying to find hidden depth or meaning to the genre, overlooking it's primary purpose: it's music to dance to!

Granted, there's a horrible amount of shite out there that's so undigestable that it deserves rampant criticism, but it's still rooted to that primary purpose. That glut of horrible club music is horrible for the fact that it's so cheesy that no person with any shame would feel comfortable dancing to said music. When club music is good, then, it's good solely because, man, you really, really want to shake ass to the shit. When club music becomes excellent, then, it's excellent because, well, you really, really want to _____ to this shit.

Basement Jaxx have always been forerunners of the genre because, for the most part, they understand this objective completely. It's rare to find a single that doesn't have its adrenaline ramped up to steroid-dependent level, while somehow avoiding the druggy and relatively aggro sound of the more revered Chemical Brothers. This might because the duo rely so heavily, particularly on Kish Kash, on 80s Prince, updating it with post-Outkast beat programming, wherein each beat sounds overly anxious to get to the next. The programming is where Basement Jaxx deserves much credit, as the two are forward thinking enough so as to achieve a rarity in club music: their albums don't sound overly dated.

The Prince homage gets particularly heavy with the only slow songs on Kish Kash - indeed one of the few slow songs in the Basement Jaxx catalog - "Feels Like Home," featuring MeShell Ndegeocello, who's been having a habit of turning everything she appears on to gold. The song's been often panned for being too blatant of a Prince rip-off, but let's face it, we're not talking about D'Angelo or Andre 3000 here, and relative to both Basement Jaxx and the genre, it's a huge achievement.

Kish Kash, like all of Basement Jaxx's output, is solid fun, and that's a huge achievement as well. It's hard to do fun without achieving the juvenile as well, and Basement Jaxx does so. It might not be earth-shattering stuff, but when one can finally put everything else aside and just friggin' dance, it's excellent.

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