ARTIST: Various Artists.
ALBUM: Ministry of Sound: Anthems IIÂ 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*
Â "Dance to disco andÂ 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 sentimentsÂ 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 AnthemsÂ IIÂ represents the latest catalogue of what could be describedÂ 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 inclinedÂ 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 wereÂ 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,Â Trance alongside all the other well used genre terms coined by many a music journalist. It is in effectÂ the mostÂ 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 -Â 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'sÂ grimey Electronica type Techno, before Keith Flint and his mad hair even arrived on the scene.Â Furthemore,Â A Guy Called Gerald'sÂ almost robotic percussion rhythm intertwined with the world music style vocal samples, demonstrated the emergence of this unique dance style beginning toÂ arrive in the UK.
But if it's more familiar hits you're after, AnthemsÂ IIÂ 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 tripÂ delving in toÂ 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 andÂ ear-to-earÂ vocal panning trackÂ 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,Â trigger the present generationÂ with the sounds which may well become tracks they, as futureÂ parents, will annoy their rebellious punk-type offspring with in later life.
Despite some criticism that AnthemsÂ IIÂ 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'sÂ simple-but-effectiveÂ rave classic, Chime or De Boulevard's ambient string-struckÂ 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.
|1. New Order - Blue Monday|
|2. Orbital - Chime|
|3. S' Express -Â 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 -Â Voodoo Ray|
|13. Guru Josh - Infinity|
|14. The Future Sound Of London -Â Papua New Guinea|
|15. Leftfield Feat. John Lydon - Open Up|
|16. N-JoiÂ -Â 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)|
|1. FaithlessÂ - (Insomnia Monster Mix)|
|2. Robert Miles -Â Children|
|3. Tori Amos - Professional Widow (Armand Van Helden Mix)|
|4. Livin Joy -Â Dreamer|
|5. Ultra NatÃ©Â - Free|
|6. Modjo -Â Lady (Hear Me Tonight)|
|7. Kings Of Tomorrow -Â 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 -Â Dark & Long (Dark Train)|
|12. SASH! - Encore Une Fois|
|13. Nalin & Kane - Beachball|
|14. York - On The Beach (CRW Radio Edit)|
|15. Southside Spinners -Â Luvstruck|
|16. Agnelli & Nelson -Â El Nino|
|17. Planet Perfecto -Â Bullet In The Gun (Saturday Mix)|
|18. Veracocha - Carte Blanche|
|19. Public Domain - Operation Blade|
20. Jurgen Vries - The Theme