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Root Beer

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Album Review

For those who can't get enough of Jimmy Somerville's soulman falsetto but who don't have easy access to record stores that specialize in dancehall esoterica, this compilation of 12" and U.K.-only remixes will be a godsend. The album's ten tracks stick pretty close to winning club formulas — thudding house beats, bleepy keyboard riffs, tempos that hover consistently around 120 bpm — but also departs from them occasionally, as on the dark, unconventionally funky "Blame" and on a Todd Terry mix of the tender ballad "Safe" (which is rendered in a much more muscular Todd Terry house mix elsewhere on the program). Many of the album's best tracks are remixes of songs originally found on Somerville's Manage the Damage; these include two mixes of the soulful "Something to Live For" and a nice realization of "Dark Sky," but not the charmingly dubwise "Tear Fool," which was previously unavailable in the U.S. For those old enough to remember Somerville's work with the Communards, there's a line in "I Believe" that talks about being "tired of fake democracy" and putting a "bullet through your corporate head." So the struggle continues, and it's still funky.


Born: 22 June 1961 in Glasgow, Scotland

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer Jimmy Somerville lent his soaring falsetto to two of the premier dance-pop outfits of the '80s, Bronski Beat and the Communards, before embarking on a solo career. Born in Glasgow, Scotland on June 22, 1961, he co-founded Bronski Beat in 1984; from the band's debut single "Smalltown Boy" onward, Somerville's songs dealt openly with his own homosexuality, a recurring theme that met with surprisingly little commercial resistance, as both the record and its follow-up, "Why?," cracked the U.K....
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Root Beer, Jimmy Somerville
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