Today’s POP RESCUE from an uncertain future, is the 1995 debut eponymous album Whigfield by Italian dance act Whigfield. Should this album hit the Big Time, or will it ruin your Saturday Night? Read on…
This 10 track CD opens with the synth burst of third single Think Of You and it soon gets right down to business. The simple euro-dance key sequence works perfectly as Danish singer Sannie Carlson drops her unmistakable vocals on top. The synths bleep as the song effortlessly step from verse to chorus and back. She even throws in some familiar ‘dah dah be dum’ lyrics, reminiscent of her debut hit Saturday Night (featured here later) Rightly, this track was a hit, reaching #7 in the UK singles chart.
Next up is Another Day and this is a very Saturday Night-sounding track – the bouncy synths, house piano, and handclaps makes it very reminiscent to the hit, or maybe something that the Vengaboys might have made. The track isn’t quite as catchy though despite its similarities, and Sannie isn’t given quite as much to work with here lyrically. Still, it gave them a #7 UK hit single when it was released as the album’s second track.
Then it’s on to Don’t Walk Away, and we’re taking a slight shift in tempo and style. Here, Sannie really gets to show off her vocal range and her ability to sing heartfelt slower lyrics. The song shuffles along as synths bubble and whoosh around her, reminding me a bit of PM Dawn’s Set Adrift On Memory Bliss (itself a drum sample from Soul Searchers 1974 hit Ashley’s Roachclip). It’s a nice showcase of the group’s wider ability.
Big Time follows this, and this was the group’s fifth single, albeit as a double-A side single with a cover of Wham!’s Last Christmas (not included here). This song definitely takes a leaf out of the Vengaboys’ playbook. The novelty ‘hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-hi-de-ho’ all help to make it catchy, even if it grammatically doesn’t fit correctly – ‘we’re gonna have big time’ and if musically it’s fairly simple.
It’s then on to Out Of Sight which opens with a heavily sampled giggle from Sannie as some house pianos drop in with some handclaps. We’re soon joined by a nice fat euro-dance set of synths. I found this song to be a bit of a foot tapper as it has quite a pace, and a pretty nice little pop/dance song.
Piano leads us gently into next song Close To You. This is a lovely slow ballad, giving Sannie another chance to show off those vocals in this gushing love song. The vocals soar, carried up by the piano, the gentle beat and sweeping strings. It really is a wonderful track.
Contrasting that, it’s followed by Sexy Eyes, which returns us to a similar beat and synth sequence as Saturday Night, but vocally similar to something that you might expect from Aqua or Vengaboys. It merrily bounces along though, as Sannie promises to ‘take you to paradise‘. The track was eventually charted in the UK in 1998 with a load of remixes, however it got stuck at #68.
Then it’s Ain’t It Blue, which returns us to a slower song, but this time Sannie’s vocals don’t quite work here, possibly because of the need to hold her notes for so long. It sounds more like school concert singing, right before someone presses a stupidly fast keyboard ‘demo’ button. It’s a stinker.
I Want To Love follows that, returning us to form. There’s some really nice vocal layers here, with an almost 2 Unlimited level synth sequence beneath it. It gallops along, giving Sannie a few chances to show off her vocal power, but it’s mostly about the synths and bass drum.
The album closes with the massive debut hit Saturday Night, instantly recognisable from those boingy duck sounds throughout and whatever Sannie says at the beginning (‘de de da bo dar?). I remember visiting a bar once in London, getting a drink, as while i’m ordering, this song comes on. I finish paying at the bar, turned around, and the entire bar was doing the dance routine. Inevitably, the dance routine helped this song no doubt, as well as the ‘it’s part time’ feel good factor, and its unmistakable intro that could cause all to rush to the dance floor. Masterpiece!
Over all, this album is a cheerful euro-dance album, that unlike most others, has enough catchy and distinctly different sounding energetic tracks to make it wonderful and uplifting.
Keeping Saturday Night until the end is perfect – it allows the rest of the tracks to have space and time to breathe whilst the listener takes them all in. Sannie’s vocals are strong, aside from the awful off Ain’t It Blue, and there are some particularly wonderful vocal moments throughout.
The highlights are clearly Saturday Night, but also Think Of You, and Close To You are equally deserving of 5 stars each, with the latter being an unexpectedly slow and beautiful track. There’s a few tracks that are very similar to the big hit, but even those are able to hold their own merits too.
The lowest point is definitely Ain’t It Blue, for the wonky vocals and half-baked feel to the song. Whigfield clearly also enjoyed the keyboard sequences, and at times it’s a little bit similar, but they’re able to just about get away with it.
If you bought in to the whole Saturday Night song, then this album is definitely worth a listen. It’ll cheer you up at the very least.
- POP RESCUE 2021 RATING: 4 / 5
- 1995 UK ALBUM CHART PEAK: #13, certified Silver by the BPI.
- POP RESCUE COST: £2.07 from an eBay seller.