ALBUM PIAS, PLAYGROUND RELEASE:
JUNE 18, 2002 REVIEW: JULY 16, 2002
is a very unfashionable album. Trends in dance music pass so fast, and
this man has been around for about three decades. Imagine that. He has
been at the forefront, always one step ahead of us serving us the future.
Why would Paul Oakenfold who practically taught Britain to love house
give us this album?
I guess it is just a case of jumping the bandwagon. Like so many before
him, Oakenfold has chosen to embark on his journey to maturity. This involves
proving that youre a proper musician with many strings on your lyre,
demanding an album of great stylistic variety and a whole bunch of famous
people doing vocals. Instrumental tracks have no place in this new concept
of "DJ as singer-songwriter". Perhaps you need to sing a sexy
French duet, associate with new, promising rappers or confess a life long
secret obsession with Pink Floyd. Anything to prove the point: I am different
from the old, outdated nineties DJ:s youre all so tired of.
This is exactly what makes Paul Oakenfold sound so old, not just unfashionable
(which is not a bad thing in itself). His musical voice is so tired that
it is hard to hear him behind the army of rappers and songbirds clogging
up the studio. Among the multiple styles represented, from funky big beat
through hip hop to ethnic chic, no consistency or character can be discerned.
The production is faultless, of course, and the guests, from Ice Cube
to Grant Lee Phillips, are all famous folks. But the cooperation does
not sound inspired, and the idea to team Nelly Furtado and Tricky in a
melancholic slow song is just plain silly. A more energetic - and much
better - track like Ready Steady Go still falls short of even
the latest work of Fat Boy Slim and the Chemical Brothers. I find some
relief in listening to the pleasant voices of Carla Werner and Tiff Lacey,
both of whom we are sure to hear more from in the future.