The gargantuan success of Adele last year etched the UK deeper into the consciousness of today’s music-loving mass.
Indeed, prior to then, modern Britannia routinely churned out acts whose success was largely of the critical persuasion – with limited global presence.
And, yet while our charts naturally boast a heavy US presence, it’d be criminal to overlook the contained contributions which have made our industry one of the most revered in the world.
This week, Best You Never Heard, celebrates those contributions with a special Best of British Edition.
So without further adieu…
Will Young – Your Game
Hailed as of the first “credible” talent show winners, Will Young hit a homerun with his sophomore set ‘Friday’s Child’. Indeed, the 2004 album saw the Pop Idol winner ditch the cover-heavy material of his first LP in favour of flavoursome Pop; songs which really spotlighted the soulfulness of his voice.
And while the album as a body of work was stellar, no track stood out louder nor brighter than ‘Your Game’. Penned by Young and Taio Cruz, the cut is a delicious melody of Pop, Funk, and Soul.
Upon release, the track respectably charted at #3 on the Official UK Singles Chart. Although, it so clearly was worthy of nabbing the top spot. A stance the BRIT Awards seems to concur with; the song was honoured with the ‘Best Single’ gong at the 2005 ceremony.
All Saints – Under The Bridge
The 90’s pervasiveness of Girl Power saw the Spice Girls overshadow many female groups – both home and away. However, for many, London collective All Saints provided the perfect antithesis to the cheese and camp Ginger, Sporty and co served up for mass consumption.
Gritty, edgy, and devoid of the bells and whistles which defined Pop acts of that era, the Saints were wholly compelling. For, not only were they able to fuse R&B and 90’s Pop, they did so while remaining markedly “British”.
Ironically, one of the best examples of this is their unique take on the Red Hot Chilli Peppers‘ rock hit ‘Under The Bridge’.
While lyrically and melodically identical to the original, the 1998 track evokes an air of “fresh” – recooking a well-known rock smash into an Urban number which still goes hard today.
Keisha White – The Weakness In Me
2006 saw R&B chanteuse Keisha White deliver her best effort yet with ‘The Weakness In Me’.
A stirring cover of Joan Armatrading‘s song of the same name, White laced the track a new layer of authenticity, delivering the lyrics with ample conviction. With her vocal emotion set to production which built into a rousing climax, this had all the makings of blockbuster ballad – a fact which makes its #17 charting still hard to swallow.
Nonetheless, as we’ve made common-practice here at That Grape Juice, it’s important to celebrate “good music” – irrespective of its charting. And this, right here, is timeless.
Misteeq – Scandalous
As far as UK Urban acts go, Misteeq are as noteworthy as noteworthy gets.
Rising to prominence in 2001 (as part of the UK’s growing Garage scene), the trio scored a total of 9 top ten singles, a Platinum certification for their debut effort ‘Lickin’ On Both Sides‘ and Gold status for its follow up ‘Eye Candy‘. However, it’s ‘Scandalous‘ which cemented the ladies in the British history books.
Released March 17th 2003, the Stargate produced cut peaked at #2 in the UK and #35 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively, spearheaded by a scorching hot video, courtesy of Jake Nava who later went onto direct Beyonce’s ‘Crazy In Love‘.
Picked up Giorgio Armani’s ‘Armani Code‘ ads in 2007 and Halle Berry‘s ‘Catwoman’ three years prior, ‘Scandalous’- in its own strange way- is just as celebrated by Pop culture as it is overlooked, even today.
Yet, with all three members credited for penning the track, we’re sure it is giving them just as much to celebrate today as it did when it turned them into Brit Pop icons almost a decade ago.