Basement Jaxx, Remedy

basement-jaxxWarning: hype busting to follow.

Yes, I will admit to a tremendous weakness in my record buying: I am an anglophile. And also sometimes i am vulnerable to hype. It usually goes like this:

Mediocre indie-rock with a girl singer? sorry who cares… wait, they’re from England?! Gimme gimme ..
Witness: Sleeper, Echobelly, Geneva, etc … all in my cd collection.

Basement Jaxx is neither rock nor a girl group.. as for mediocre… well.. in England they’ve been on the covers of all the music press for the last year. Q magazine listed them in the Top 50 Albums of 1999. “They saved house music…” Q declared. Yeh, but it’s still house music. I should have known better when it said they were from Brixton.

Remedy sports two brilliant singles: “Rendez-Vu” and “Red Alert.” “Yo-yo” and “Jump and Shout” are pretty good too. but getting real: Basement Jaxx are dance music. And what good is dance music you can’t dance to? Like the last three tracks…

The album is certainly well-crafted. But as for the English press’s claims that it’s noisy and a “brazen, distorted mish-mash” (Q, January 2000), I have to say: bollocks. It may be noisy compared to other house music, I wouldn’t know. I’m not even sure what house music is. But Remedy is nothing revolutionary outside the house music genre.

Basement Jaxx’s inclusion on so many “Best of…” lists seems to me to be an example of what I’ll call “the Grammy Paradox.” The Paradox goes like this: someone is nominated and wins “Best Country Artist” in the Grammy Awards. Big Deal. That person probably isn’t a better country singer than Dolly Parton or Merle Haggard or George Jones or Charlie Louvin. Just the better person that particular year. Let’s all recall this is the same organization that chose to award the significant contribution of Milli Vanilli to the music world.

Likewise, Basement Jaxx have a few catchy tunes but nothing as good as Daft Punk, or even Fatboy Slim. So why should they be so touted as “Best”? Best of a bad year does not make you good. Buy the singles. Bin the album.