The Good: Good sound, Some passable lyrics
The Bad: Nothing terribly melodic, repetitive sound, mostly vacuous lyrics
The Basics: A lyrical disappointment filled with listenable but unimaginative tunes, World Clique Deee-Lite has faded and fast; this album is easy evidence as to why.
You can usually tell has-beens by the fact that they've been on VH1's Where Are They Now? twice. Or they never shake the label "One Hit Wonder" and we remember them as anything but wonderful. The real tragedy of being labeled a "One Hit Wonder" is that later works which showcase growth from a band may go neglected and they may improve. Nevertheless, this review is of Deee-Lite's debut and what comes after World Clique does not matter for our purposes.
Other than the excessive use of "e"s in the band's name, Deee-Lite doesn't have a whole lot going for them. World Clique is their first album and if you haven't heard the magnificent "Groove Is In The Heart," this is dance music. Not ballroom dancing, but rather techno, bass pumping, get you on your feet dancing like an idiot in some club dance music. "Groove Is In The Heart" is pretty much a modern disco standard, where every d.j. who does clubs will have. It's a decent song, but it's pretty solid dance music without any substance.
Outside "Groove Is In The Heart" (which is a catchy tune and has a wonderful psychedelic, convulsion-inducing strobe effect and such) and the very cool "Try Me On . . . I'm Very You," World Clique is filled with limply written, vacuous songs. While the title track has a great deal of idealism, it can't save its lousy antecedent "E.S.P." which is lyrically lame and impossible to enjoy. At no point on this album does the group try for a clever lyric or a pun or anything even remotely insightful. Instead, it has chosen a niche - dance music - and decided to stick with the bottom line of that: get people to dance, not think. Songs like "Smile On" result.
That is not to say that Deee-Lite does not try. It's singing about world problems and weird telepathic abilities, but it doesn't do justice to either in that the lyrics and message are sacrificed for sound. These tunes are designed to get you to dance, not to make you sit and think. Yet, the subjects ought to be going the other way. Perhaps the reason Deee-Lite never went anywhere was because of this; it's hard to make a catchy tune about respecting diversity and everyone getting along (which seems to be the message of "World Clique's" repetitive refrain).
Most of the songs lack a theme or are weakly themed or sound like other songs on the album. Most all of the tracks have a pounding bass and it's easy to imagine this music in the context of a night club. The synthesizers and music samples are similarly unimaginative and have that throbbing sound one now associates with dance and techno music. The music lacks substance, replacing it instead with sound.
World Clique is impossible to recommend to anyone who isn't a fan of techno or dance music. I'm not, so I don't even know if it's good for that. If you're looking for different, this is it, but it lacks the humor of, say, "Monty Python Sings," or the intelligent satire of "Crash Test Dummies" or even the quirky brilliance of "They Might Be Giants." In fact, my recent appreciation for Moby's album Play - The B-Sides (reviewed here!) allows me to go so far as to say that if Techno is supposed to be innovative instrumentals, looping and vocals, Deee-Lite's dance music doesn't come close. Don't buy this album - odds are it will be quickly traded in for a more permanent album.
The best track is "Try Me On . . . I'm Very You" and the weak link is the sickeningly sweet, nauseating "Smile On."
For other quirky albums, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Icon - Imogen Heap & Frou Frou
Then: The Early Years - They Might Be Giants
Good News For People Who Like Bad News - Modest Mouse
For other music reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2011, 2003 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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