Wednesday, January 09, 2008

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #42 - Picnic In The Summertime by Deee-Lite

Tina T: Contrary to popular belief, the early 1990s weren't some barren musical wasteland while everyone was sitting around waiting for Nirvana to invent themselves and hair metal to die out. In fact, in Australia, it was a magical time for pop, although a nostalgic fondness for youth blots out the worst excesses of the day. Fine to focus on Girlfriend, say, or Melissa, but Phil Collins was still a viable artist, and so was Michael Jackson. However, the one musical trick an early 90s pop fan could count on was a languid summer jam at some point. Contrary to popular belief, not all "songs of summer" ring with bombast and hystrionics. There are days of lying around in the heat that require a soundtrack as well. After invocations from DJ Jazzy Jeff and De La Soul (not pop but the groove was), the practice more or less died with Inner "sounds of summer my arse" Circle in 1993, but there is still a great attraction to a song that invokes the feelings of summer in the same way an early 90s summer jam does.

Deee-Lite, of course, remain one of the best bands of all time. Certainly it's a strange mystery than none of their other songs kicked into the higher reaches of the charts. In Lady Miss Kier, self styled after the drag queen Lady Kier (a man, baby), they had someone with the requisites to be a superstar. Fashionable, beautiful, and a fantastic dancer, backed up and connected with the likes of Bootsy Collins and DJ Towa Tei, it's strange Deee-Lite rank as one hit wonders, but still, what a one hit. They carried on making sumptuous music to those of us still listening however, and the majesty of LMKs harlequin jump suit shimmying to the beat is enough to assure them a forever glorious status within the pop community.

One of the non hits (remember, we're as dedicated to them as were hits, although if Groove...isn't on this list, something is very wrong), 1994s Picnic In The Summertime (from the album Dewdrops in the Garden) is the most undeserving of it's commercial failure. Perhaps more than anything else, it's fantastically stylish and cool, subtle and funky without ever over playing it's hand. It's unsurprising that a Lady Miss Kier song should have such a fantastic groove, although it's lazy and loping rather than loud and proud. The songs light, breezy qualities perfectly invoke a feeling of long days in the sun, thinking the world will never end. LMKs vocals are delightfully laid back and tropical, and the song radiates with positive energy without ever sounding like the work of hippies. In short, it's absolutely magnificent.

One hit wonders on sad VH1 lists maybe, but devotees know better. Deee-Lite always groove just right. In the heart, and in the park.


Post a Comment

<< Home