on 21 June 2004
I first listened to this album in 1999 and it was this album that introduced to me to the then snow-balling phenomenon that is chill-out music. I was instantly converted.
All of the tracks on this album are original, different and individual.
So many artists have a song or songs that they create in a moment of inspiration, then every ensuing song seems to be a rehash or remix of that moment of brilliance, never quite managing to live up to the quality of the predecessor.
This is where Groove Armada breaks the mould. Each track has a different angle to it. Each track takes you down a different path. You meander through, at your leisure, a lovely summer's day of track like 'At The River' then are forced to tap your feet to the addictive 'If Everybody Looked The Same'.
I always feel that songs have achieved their goal if they make you feel something and each song manages to ‘do it’ for me.
For the connoisseurs of the genre among you, you could argue that the album is not a chill-out album and shouldn’t really fall into that category. 'I See You baby (Shakin' That Ass)', 'If Everybody Looked The Same','House Music (In my Bones)' and 'Whatever, Whenever' are not technically chill-out tunes. Both the first two tracks could be played in nightclubs, I’m sure of the reaction they would receive now, but at the time of the release, I remember them being quite popular with the mainstream crowd. The third is more of a laid back housey track that hints at the prospect of breaking into something racier, but never quite does and the fourth is very much a hip-hop effort with great MC-ing over the beats.
I've always wondered if, as an artist and wanting to remain 'chic' (I use the word tentatively), whether having your music in television adverts is a good thing. Yes the revenue is an undoubted bonus, but then the die-hard critics will surely label you as committing yourself to the commercial machine. Then does it not depend on what your song is advertising....well I wont bore you with the debate, but will happily let you know that at least 3 of the songs from the album (to my knowledge) have been used to sell products and used by American and British television programmes as background music.
Every so often I will listen to a song and I will feel uplifted. I will completely understand (or believe) I understand what the artist(s) were trying to convey when they wrote it. The song on the album that most people will quote as being their favourite or the song that particularly sticks out for them (by and large) will be 'At The River'. This song, in my humble opinion, is one of the best chill-out tracks of all time. Almost hypnotic in quality, it is ground breaking stuff. The song transports you to a place and time (wherever that may be for you) that is comfortable and beautiful.
The song trips in on a heavy yet welcoming beat, then slides into one of the best samples ever used in a song. The beat continues and the sample echoes, lulling you into a trance-like state. The song literally drags you under (in the most wonderful way) and just when you are at your most lucid the lyrics drift in, beautifully. And they are simple but have substance: 'If you're fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there.'
Those lyrics will echo in my head for many years to come and if ever I find myself seeing red or wanting to inflict damage on someone or something I always remind myself how this song makes me feel.
So this song and this album, for me, means something and I hope it will to you too.
Best Track: ‘At The River’, Worst Track: (If I Have To) ‘Chicago’.
on 31 October 2003
This album is amazing. My favourite always has been, always will be.They manage to mix jazz, funk, rap, and instramental all in one and it is delightlful. Im fed up of using words which dont give this music the gratitude it deserves just bye it you will see what i mean.
on 17 October 2003
It was after a free CD off the music magazine 'Q' that I heard
'At the River'.
On the strength of this, I bought the album and after the first listen
I wasn't too sure I liked everything,I was expecting the rest of the album to be like 'At the River' but on the second listen I liked all of it.
Its Not just a chillout album, it mixes light Rap, with great sampling, especially the last track 'Inside My Mind' (Blue Skies), with great vocals on 'Your song' but this is a truly great album, worth buying just on the strength of the haunting beauty of 'At the River'.
on 20 October 2001
Before this CD my music selection only contained a contrast in music genre, with many rock albums littering my room. Then I decided to go for a new taste as many people were raving on about these Chilled compilations. Groove Armada hits the spot! My personal favourites "If Everybody Looked The Same" and "Chicago" along with the rest provide many hours of easy listening with catchy beats and superb samples. Well I'll have to leave this review now and go and order "Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub)" Vertigo is a must have in everyones music collection!