Friday, December 25, 2009

2 Unlimited - Jump For Joy (Original TC Review)


Best Price: $39.99












Popular Records: Cat. # PR2S 3050
Released 1996

Track List:
1. Jump For Joy (Edit) (3:42)
2. Jump For Joy (Digidance Happy Hardcore Edit) (3:19)
3. Jump For Joy (Armand's Dutch Touch Mix) (7:51)
4. Jump For Joy (Itty-Bitty-Boozy-Woozy's Dub 4 Joy) (5:25)
5. MTV Partyzone Megamix (4:55)


(2010 Update:
How can you tell I'm still in "be objective" mode here? The Klubbheads are mentioned, and there's nary a snarky snipe to be had. Seems to be a very rare single now, as the only copy available on Amazon goes for $40. Hah!)



IN BRIEF: One of the biggest euro dance acts attempts to tap into the underground. They nearly succeed, too.

The euro craze of the early 90s was at an end and one of the biggest names of that scene, 2 Unlimited, was splitting up. Before that quite happened, however, they released a greatest hits collection which included a couple new tracks that they had been working on before parting ways. One such track was this little oddity.

After the group had managed to prove they could remain afloat amongst the many imitators with their previous album, it would seem producers Phil Wilde and Jean-Paul de Coster looked back to their roots, where they would tap into the dominate underground rave sounds to use for their mainstream music. The first single to emerge was Do What's Good For Me, a simple, dirtied-up house track that may have drawn a bit of influence from the burgeoning French sound.

Another genre that was set to explode upon the mainstream was trance. Wilde undoubtedly saw potential in the sound and the result was this single: Jump For Joy.

Bear in mind though, that this is by no means anything like the form of trance that actually did go on to achieve mainstream recognition. Rather, this borrows more from the faster eurobeat style of music for its rhythms, a perky form of EDM that seems to be lost somewhere between the lands of euro and happy hardcore. Where the trance influences come into play is with its main lead. Using a sound that was quite dominant in the quicker forms of trance at the time, the synths are filtered, filled with reverb, stuttering, and oscillating with great gusto here.

Still, this is an intended mainstream dance song so you won't get any deep, thought provoking lyrics. Really, with this track's spastic speed, it'd be hard to take seriously anyways. As such, when at one point Ray raps, "Butterflies are moving fast" you can't help but laugh at the absurdity of it all. Was this meant to be tongue-in-cheek? Perhaps. Maybe it's best to just do as Anita says and, "Jump for joy!"

The Klubbheads (going by Digidance here) were tapped for remix duties this time (What!? No X-Out?), giving us an even sillier happy hardcore version for their troubles. As can be expected, everything gets pitched up with infantile organ leads and super fast pianos playing little melodies. I have to admit it does work on a harebrained level, but then that's all happy hardcore ever set out to achieve, wasn't it? It only lasts a little over three minutes anyways so it's not like you have to endure it for long.

In case there is still a lot of leftover sugar in your mouth however, Armand van Helden is here to the rescue to provide us with a bottle of Jack Daniels straight from the ghetto to wash it out with.

Armand's Dutch Touch Mix pretty much gets rid of all the elements of Jump For Joy in favor of booty shaking house rhythms and slight melodies. Only a sample of Anita's voice either saying "Jump" or "Free" in time to the rhythms (amongst some other unintelligible things) keeps this mix tied into the original. Time to grab a fine lady and get wild.

The *deep breath* Itty-Bitty-Boozy-Woozy's Dub 4 Joy mix *exhale* (also done by the Klubbheads) is a fairly minimal affair, at least compared to what's already been offered on this single. Take some stock techno rhythms (the real stuff), add some negligible, looping sounds, and utilize even less of the vocals than Armand did, and you have this mix. It might work as a transitional track in a set but there really isn't much more worth noting.

There's also a megamix included on this single, done by the MTV Partyzone. I'm not really familiar with that program but then I'm Canadian -we had our MuchMusic X-Tendamix and Electric Circus shows to keep us up to date on dance music instead. This megamix tosses in pretty much every single 2 Unlimited hit ever released and crams it all into something of a mess that runs just under five minutes. Some pieces only get brief vocal snippets while others get portions of their main riffs played out in rather disjointed merging of others. It might have worked had they used more time to arrange the tracks better but as far as 2 Unlimited megamixes go, this one doesn't nearly stack up as well to the rest.

As one of the final singles to come from the original lineup, it's a shame this track doesn’t have nearly the catchiness to carry it as many of their earlier hits. Jump For Joy just carries far too much un-mainstream baggage from its eurobeat and trance samplings for it to have made much of an impact.

Except in Japan, perhaps.


Score: 6/10

Written by Sykonee. Originally published 2005 for TranceCritic.com.© All rights reserved.

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