Stereo MC's - Connected (Vinyl)

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Vocalist Rob Birch and DJ/producer Nick Hallam founded their Gee Street recording studio and record label with money they were given to leave their London flat and, dispensing with using a backing band, travelled to early gigs on public transport.
As Birch & Hallam they recorded two synth-pop singles in 1983: "What You Say" and "Pray For Me", both released on the A&M label. When Gee Street attracted the attention of 4th & Broadway, they recorded the debut Stereo MCs' album, 33-45-78 (1989), on a shoestring budget with DJ Cesare, drummer Owen If and backing vocalist Cath Coffey. In 1990, "Elevate My Mind" by the Stereos was the first British hip hop single to reach the United States R&B record chart. 
This record is a 180gram version for the band’s seminal 3rd LP from 1992. Features 4 Top 20 singles, “Connected” ( #18 in September ’92 ), “Step It Up” ( #12 in December ’92 ) and “Ground Level” ( #19 in February ’93 ) and “Creation” ( # 19 in May ’93 ) Contains a Download Voucher.


I seem to have a strong attraction to the dance music which was popular in the late 80's and early 90's, specifically music that is laced with hip-hop and sprinkled with electro-pop. I am referring to albums that I have from that period by artists such as Soul II Soul, C&C Music Factory, Neneh Cherry, Deee-Lite, Madonna and EMF. They have an aura for me that is hard to define, but I seem to associate it with exciting, adventurous nightlife in the club dens. This 1993 album by Stereo MC's falls into this category. The hit title cut "Connected" leads the way, with cool, unemotional lead vocals (delivered with an irresistible British accent) and a generally laid-back vibe. Those qualities apply to most of the tracks. The beats come in a variety of manifestations. Some are similar to that in "Connected", and others are funkier ("Ground Level"), slightly slower ("Sketch"), or busier and more manic ("Creation"). There are 2 instrumental tracks: "All Night Long" and "Chicken Shake". They have background vocals but no lead. About half the tracks feature the club piano sound I like so much. "Everything" and "Creation" have some nice "cool jazz" flutes. "All Night Long" has a Middle Eastern flavor. And one little detail that delights me is the backup vocals in "Don't Let Up": they remind me of the backups on vintage tracks by The Supremes. This track also happens to be probably the "hardest" one in its sound.

The lyrics touch on some weighty subjects. I like these lines from "Connected": "Won't someone try open up your eyes/You must be blind if you can't see/The gaping hole called reality". In "Ground Level", youth and minorities are getting a bad deal: "We're sick of seein' poverty/We're sick of seein' misery...They'll use you as artillery/They want you in the military". "Everything" includes a shot at our materialistic society: "So check the hardline we all be carrying/Seems like the dollar bill we be marrying". The Establishment takes a hit in "Fade Away" ("Is this the way it's meant to be/Generation gap is all I see"), and in "Playing With Fire" ("It's a dog eat dog world/That's the truth/Especially to the youth/You're playing with fire/You'll end up on the funeral pyre/And now you've lost your soul"). These pointed lyrics dovetail nicely with my conviction that pop/rock music + social comment = compelling art. So, get connected!

By: Steven Haarala

A1 Connected
A2 Ground Level
A3 Everything
A4 Sketch
A5 Fade Away
A6 All Night Long
B1 Step It Up
B2 Playing With Fire
B3 Pressure
B4 Chicken Shake
B5 Creation
B6 The End

Record Label : Island

Cat No: 774 564-2