SONG OF THE DAY: #16 JAMIROQUAI

Jamiroquai is a British band led by singer Jay Kay. The band started in the acid jazz genre, but gradually developed its own sound with various influences. This is partly due to Jay Kay’s interest in funk and disco music from the seventies and eighties.  Jamiroquai’s first single ‘When you’re going to learn?’ was released in 1992 with the British label Acid Jazz. After this successful debut single, Jay Kay signed a contract with Sony for eight albums. In 1993 the debut album ‘Emergency on Planet Earth’ was released with the aforementioned ‘When you’re going to learn’ and the equally successful successor ‘Too young to die’. After that, the first occupancy changes took place. For example drummer Nick van Gelder was replaced by Derrick McKenzie; percussionist Kofi Kofi Kari also left. In 1994 the album The return of the space cowboy was released, the first single of which, the title song Space Cowboy, became a big hit. After that, guitarist Gavin Dodds left the band to make room for Simon Katz. The third album Travelling without moving from 1996 included the big hits ‘Virtual Insanity’ and ‘Cosmic Girl’. Around this time, percussionist and fellow text writer Sola Akingbola took place in the band. The hit single ‘Deeper underground’ from their fourth cd Synkronized from 1999 was the title song of the movie Godzilla. Together with ‘Canned Heat’ these were the biggest hits of the CD. That same year bassist Stuart Zender left the band in 1999; he had a relationship with All Saints singer Melanie Blatt and became the father of a daughter. The transmitter was replaced by Nick Fyffe. The band still exists to this day and still makes acid jazz, disco, and funk music.

Written by Jamiroquai frontman Jason Kay and keyboardist Toby Smith, “Virtual Insanity” warns against the threat of insidious technology and its increasing control over humanity. Kay sings:

Futures made of virtual insanity
Now always seem to be governed by this love we have
For useless, twisting, all our new technology

“But I’ll never get the credit for it,” Kay tells Esquire, calling to mind his prescient concerns over third world debt and environmental issues from the group’s debut album, Emergency on Planet Earth. “Just like I’ll never be credited for releasing a song called ‘Virtual Insanity’ about genetic engineering the day before Dolly the sheep is on the front of every newspaper.”

This song is known for its innovative music video, directed by Jonathan Glazer with creative assistance from Smoke & Mirrors founder, Sean Broughton. It shows Jay Kay dancing across what appears to be a shifting grey floor while furniture around him stays still, unless he bids it to move. While Kay looks like he’s gliding along a giant conveyor belt, the trick didn’t lie in the floor at all, but in the walls, which were built to move around the stationary floor.

May we meet again!

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