Essential albums: Ministry of Sound - Anthems II

ARTIST: Various Artists.

ALBUM: Ministry of Sound: Anthems II 1991-2009.

RELEASED: December 2008.

GENRE: Dance (Electronica, House, Techno, Trance etc).

MY ALBUM RATING: ****

PLEASE SCROLL DOWN TO THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE FOR TRACK LISTINGS*

 "Dance to disco and you don't like rock," said Neil Tennant, the other half of the electronic dance music duo, Pet Shop Boys on their 1993 hit, Can You Forgive Her. Those sentiments are echoed here on Ministry of Sound's second Anthems package, Anthems II 1991-2009. Many people who purchase this album are sure to have a clear distaste in rock's stylings of greasy long hair and tattoos and a far greater lust for glow sticks and ecstasy.

It is therefore the notion that Anthems II represents the latest catalogue of what could be described as some of the ultimate dance hits of the 1990s and the current decade. From London to Manchester and to the foreign climes of Italy and er, Belgium, the monstrous efforts of dance producers in the company of an everlasting supply of electronic knobs to twiddle and keyboards to tinkle with, can be heard on this reminder of national hedonism and decadence.

Whilst elderly and otherwise inclined men and women when vox-popped by the media complained of loud, incessant dins emanating from underground car parks, disused warehouses and secluded fields surrounding the M25, the majority of young McDonalds workers and other public sector servants were deliriously bopping to the sounds of the rave culture.

John Major's Tories remained in contempt of what the emerging culture of dance music represented, whilst many police officers had to deal with gun crime and an escalating drugs destroyal many youths were imposing upon themselves. Arrests and fines were commonplace at illegal raves, but in the clubs allowed to pound out the defining beats of the 1990s and today, many of the clubbers instead became immersed in the music.

It is Anthems II which along with its partner, Anthems I, demonstrates the versatility of dance production groups and the guest artists often required to perform the vocals to the euphoric basslines and instrumental passages present here. Anthems II contains 60 tracks of quality examples of House, Techno, Trance alongside all the other well used genre terms coined by many a music journalist. It is in effect the most luscious mixture of hi-hat, clap infested and emphatic looped synthetic textures you are ever likely to encounter on a compilation.

Whether it be New Order's 1983 bass-driven DMX drum machine delivered single, Blue Monday - which was remixed in 1988 and re-released three years later - which has since become the best selling 12 inch single of all time, or the funky hooks used in Mylo featuring The Miami Sound Machine's 2005 number, Doctor Pressure - which covers Gloria Estefan's Dr Beat - there is a track for everyone of all ages on this record.

Some of the best examples of the "Madchester" scene and the "Acid House" genre which lead to the curious mashings of scratchy guitar and string sections are available in the tracks by Leftfield & John Lydon's Open Up and A Guy Called Gerald's Voodoo Ray. The former's guest appearance from the ex-Sex Pistols frontman and nutter, Lydon, blends the chanted nature of punk with the repetitive ambience and drum-drive common on a Roland rhythm composer and is the nearest thing Leftfield got to sounding like The Prodigy's grimey Electronica type Techno, before Keith Flint and his mad hair even arrived on the scene. Furthemore, A Guy Called Gerald's almost robotic percussion rhythm intertwined with the world music style vocal samples, demonstrated the emergence of this unique dance style beginning to arrive in the UK.

But if it's more familiar hits you're after, Anthems II has them in abundance, with old favourites from Faithless, Robert Miles and Snap all part of the set list. Although whilst this is a nostalgic trip delving in to the sounds which helped inspire those of the late 1990s and current decade to dance frenetically and mix on the turntables, the package isn't without its fair share of recent offerings.

Armand Van Helden's hypnotically catchy drum crashing and ear-to-ear vocal panning track My My My and Ida Corr Vs Fedde Le Grand's Let Me Think About It, with its rasping orchestral hits and nylon guitar licks on a bassy layering, trigger the present generation with the sounds which may well become tracks they, as future parents, will annoy their rebellious punk-type offspring with in later life.

Despite some criticism that Anthems II is littered with too much fussy mixing and for not allowing the tracks to breathe - instead on one incessant waveform on each CD with the smallest gaps between each "anthem" - those captured by Orbital's simple-but-effective rave classic, Chime or De Boulevard's ambient string-struck hit, Point Of View will not care one iota of any supposed deficiencies.

Those who admire dance music in its best rhythmic and melodic forms will appreciate the intellectually crafted subtle grooves of House to the booming basslines of Techno on Anthems II, of which there is a neverending outlet.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS: Billie Ray Martin - Your Loving Arms; D:Ream - U R The Best Thing; Modjo - Lady (Hear Me Tonight); Robert Miles - Children; Rosie Gaines - Closer Than Close; Eric Prydz - Pjanoo.

TRACK LISTINGS:

CD1

1. New Order - Blue Monday
2. Orbital - Chime
3. S' Express - Theme From S'Express
4. Deee-Lite - Groove Is In The Heart
5. Xpansions - Move Your Body
6. Bizarre Inc - Playing With Knives
7. Rozalla - Everybody's Free
8. Billie Ray Martin - Your Loving Arms
9. Snap! - Rhythm Is A Dancer
10. D:Ream - U R The Best Thing
11. Clivilles & Cole - A Deeper Love
12. A Guy Called Gerald - Voodoo Ray
13. Guru Josh - Infinity
14. The Future Sound Of London - Papua New Guinea
15. Leftfield Feat. John Lydon - Open Up
16. N-Joi - Anthem
17. Byron Stingily - Get Up (Everybody) (Parade Mix)
18. Pulse Feat. Antoine Robertson - The Lover That You Are
19. Full Intention - America (I Love America)
20. Masters At Work Presents India - To Be In Love (MAW '99 Mix)

CD2

1. Faithless - (Insomnia Monster Mix)
2. Robert Miles - Children
3. Tori Amos - Professional Widow (Armand Van Helden Mix)
4. Livin Joy - Dreamer
5. Ultra Naté - Free
6. Modjo - Lady (Hear Me Tonight)
7. Kings Of Tomorrow - Finally
8. Olive - You're Not Alone
9. Ruff Driverz - Don't Stop
10. Energy 52 - Cafe Del Mar (Three 'n' One Remix)
11. Underworld - Dark & Long (Dark Train)
12. SASH! - Encore Une Fois
13. Nalin & Kane - Beachball
14. York - On The Beach (CRW Radio Edit)
15. Southside Spinners - Luvstruck
16. Agnelli & Nelson - El Nino
17. Planet Perfecto - Bullet In The Gun (Saturday Mix)
18. Veracocha - Carte Blanche
19. Public Domain - Operation Blade

20. Jurgen Vries - The Theme

 CD3

1. Stardust - Music Sounds Better With You
2. Daft Punk - Around The World
3. Azzido Da Bass - Dooms Night (Timo Maas Remix)
4. The Prodigy - Firestarter
5. Basement Jaxx - Rendez-Vu
6. Blue Boy - Remember Me
7. Indo - R U Sleeping Bump & Flex Remix
8. Rosie Gaines - Closer Than Close (Mentor Original Mix)
9. Junior Jack - Thrill Me
10. Bel Amour - Bel Amour
11. Goodfellas - Soul Heaven (Bini & Martini's Club Mix)
12. Martin Solveig - Rocking Music
13. Mylo Feat. Miami Sound Machine - Doctor Pressure
14. Armand Van Helden - MyMyMy
15. DB Boulevard - Point Of View
16. Ida Corr Vs Fedde Le Grand - Let Me Think About It
17. Alex Gaudino Feat. Crystal Waters - Destination Calabria
18. Mason Vs Princess Superstar - Perfect (Exceeder)
19. Utah Saints - Something Good '08
20. Eric Prydz - Pjanoo

Comments

This CD is also enough to make me commit suicide. The text talk in the title of track 10 (corr, say that 10 times in a row) makes me want to cry.

 

By Rebecca Hughes

One, please don't commit suicide, two, I have no idea what you're on about with the text talk, as I'm thick, don't know which CD you mean as to the track, and the boxes were unintentional and three this CD is superb, in my opinion. Although obviously this was not aimed at you Becci for its purchase as you might have gathered, so don't worry :).

By stuartwilson

Sorry for being unclear - 10. D:Ream - U R The Best Thing. Personally I'd be very upset if someone text me saying "u r the best thing" without even being bothered to write "you are" out in full...

By Rebecca Hughes

But then again most people tend to write U R or "ur" these days, or is it just me? It's quick and saves money (well, the odd pence here and there if you're a cheapskate haha). At least in my opinion the song is good...

By stuartwilson

It's you :).

By AlanMcGuinness

It does depend on who it is. If it's someone who doesn't understand text speak or who I feel isn't a chav/or is relaxed about text speak, then I'll use U R...otherwise I'll just spell "you are". ANYWAY, back to the album haha :).

By stuartwilson

Check the songs out in the radio studio... some are shockingly poor!

 

By Rebecca Hughes

Are they worse than this album or is that going too far? haha.

By stuartwilson

Oh gosh no, they're not THAT bad. I'll leave you lot to it, I'm off for a cup of green tea and a chick flick.

By Rebecca Hughes

To be honest, I thought you would say as much. Don't worry I'm going to depart myself. Hope the tea and the film, whatever it is, is good.

By stuartwilson

I saw Ministry of Sound and decided I would just skip down to the bottom and add this comment.

 

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

 

Jesus, stuart if you EVER play anything from that CD or the millions of others that are pretty much identical to it.. I will actually slam your hand in a door and then I would do the same to myself out of guilt and regret. Then I won't be able to work and won't be able t earn money therefore my car will be off the road and I will turn into a hermit and start feeding stray cats... do you want that on your conscience? Didn't think so. I will look forward to NOT hearing anymore of it.. 

 

Thanks :) 

By robhayes

But that won't stop millions of musically insipid mugs (like me) from buying such commercially targeted franchises haha. Besides, you surely cannot deny that despite the regurtitation of the set list which often appears on these compilations, that at least some of the tracks aren't at least mildly catchy, especially when you're sozzled? :)

If I do play it, it will be with the volume down to 0.1 and I will make sure it's with the headphones on, as so you don't turn turn clinically insane haha.

:)

By stuartwilson