Tuesday, October 11, 2011

90's Hit Parade #22

De La Soul - A Rollerskating Jam Named Saturdays

1991 seemed like a disappointing year at the time. A lot of new albums from bands that had put out really hot albums in the previous year or two that failed to live up to expectations. What was interesting was that they all failed in such similar ways. Long, sprawling, directionless albums whose momentum was held up by countless skits and filler bits. Everyone was making their "White Album." I remember hanging with my friend Ric, and he put a bunch of new CD's in the CD changer, and somehow they all kept landing on the skits and intros and outros, for like 15 minutes. Needless to say, I was not entertained.

Well, De La Soul is Dead gets better with a little perspective. In fact, a lot of what I disliked about it initially is what I like about it now. The skits, digressions and seemingly unfinished songs add to the album. Recurring bits, like the samples and bites from Slick Rick's "La Di Da Di" that turn up throughout, serve the same role as recurring themes in classical compositions. Once you get your head around it, it's actually a very cohesive work of art.

The standout, of course, is "Saturdays." I've put it on almost every party mix I've ever made. Constructed from at least half a dozen disco samples, it's as perfect a party track as has ever been recorded, a pumping, danceable record but also loose and relaxed.


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