Red Alert (song)

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This article is about the Basement Jaxx song. For other songs with the same title, see Red Alert (disambiguation).
"Red Alert"
Red alert (single).jpg
Single by Basement Jaxx featuring Blue James
from the album Remedy
B-side "Yo-Yo"
Released 19 April 1999 (1999-04-19)
Genre House
Length 4:17
Label XL
Writer(s)
Producer(s) Basement Jaxx
Basement Jaxx chronology
"Fly Life"
(1997)
"Red Alert"
(1999)
"Rendez-Vu"
(1999)

"Red Alert" is a song by English electronic music duo Basement Jaxx. It was released on 19 April 1999 by record label XL as the first single from their debut album, Remedy. The vocal from the track was provided by Blue James.

It reached number 5 in the UK Singles Chart[1] and became their first number 1 hit on the U.S. Hot Dance Music/Club Play.[2]

Musical style[edit]

Craig Roseberry from Billboard cited Parliament and Funkadelic as inspirations for the track.[3]

Content[edit]

Red Alert contains a clean sample of the 1980 Locksmith single release on Arista records titled 'Chinese Funk Song'. This track, subtitled 'Far Beyond', was the 'B' side of 'Unlock the Funk' ID number K-8081. The intro section of the "Jaxx Club Mix" contains several electronic sound effect samples from various sources like the audible beeping sound used at pedestrian crossings for blind people in many countries including Australia.

Basement Jaxx remixed the track themselves calling it "Miracles Keep on Playin'". It appears on the "Rendez-Vu" single and samples The 'Jackson Sisters' track "Miracles".

Critical response[edit]

"Red Alert" received critical acclaim from music critics. Joshua Klein from The A.V. Club stated: "For the BPM-minded, the retro single "Red Alert" has more than enough faux funk and chic camp to keep the masses moving, proving that Buxton and Ratcliffe know well enough to think with their feet as well as their heads."[4] Robert Christgau and AllMusic's John Bush both chose the song as one of their track picks from Remedy.[5][6] Writing for Rolling Stone, Barry Walters called the song a "sharp, steady groove is subverted by a succession of P-Funk chanting, G-funk synth screeching, string-section interludes, furious bass doodles and sassy diva wails."[7] Marc Savlov from The Austin Chronicle described the track as a "club staple" with "the propulsive, feel-fucked-up joy."[8] USA Today's Edna Gundersen said the song along with "Rendez-Vu", "have personality as well as slapping bass lines and deep grooves."[9] The Village Voice listed the track at number 27 on their annual Pazz & Jop poll.[10]

Bill Werde, assistant editor of CMJ New Music Monthly listed the song as one of his best tracks of 1999.[11]

Commercial performance[edit]

As April 2014, the single has sold 270,000 copies in the UK.[12]

Music video[edit]

The song has two different music videos, one for the UK and the other for the US. In the UK version, which was directed by Dawn Shadforth, Basement Jaxx work at a diner that is hit by a meteor that turns everyone into robot-like people. The US video takes place in a world where music is outlawed and follows cops as they find and bust musicians, similar to the plot of Fahrenheit 451 but substituting books with music. The video includes cameo appearances by other musicians being arrested, most notably Moby.

The U.S. version was shot in New York City, directed by Brian Beletic with creative direction by David Levinel, features the Giuliani-era NYPD busting musical instrument owners.[13][14][15][16]

Legacy[edit]

Pitchfork ranked the song at number 69 in their list of the "Top 200 Songs of the 1990s".[17][18][19]

Dutch author Ray Kluun's first and well-known novel Komt een vrouw bij de dokter (Love Life) quoted the lyrics from the song.[20]

Track listing[edit]

CD 1
  1. "Red Alert (Jaxx Radio Mix)" – 4:17
  2. "Red Alert (Razocaine)" – 8:25
  3. "Red Alert (Jaxx Nite Dub)" – 6:19
CD 2
  1. "Red Alert (Jaxx Club Mix)" – 6:19
  2. "Red Alert (Eric Morrillo + Harry Romero Dub)" – 6:33
  3. "Red Alert (Steve Gurley Mix)" – 5:29
US/Australian Maxi-single
  1. "Red Alert (Jaxx Radio Mix)" – 3:38
  2. "Razocaine" – 8:27

Charts[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[21] 36
Canada Dance/Urban (RPM)[22] 9
France (SNEP)[23] 70
Ireland (IRMA)[24] 22
Italy (FIMI)[25] 40
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[26] 41
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[27] 5
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[28] 1
US Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales (Billboard)[28] 15

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Basement Jaxx | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Hot Dance/Disco: 1974–2003. Record Research. p. 30. 
  3. ^ "Billboard". 
  4. ^ Klein, Joshua (19 April 2002). "Basement Jaxx: Remedy". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2017. 
  5. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Basement Jaxx". robertchristgau.com. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  6. ^ Bush, John. "Remedy – Basement Jaxx | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 September 2011. 
  7. ^ Walters, Barry (19 August 1999). "Album Reviews: Basement Jaxx — Remedy". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 12 November 2007. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Savlov, Marc (10 September 1999). "Record Reviews (Basement Jaxx: Remedy)". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on 27 December 2002. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Gundersen, Edna (31 August 1999). "Basement Jaxx, Remedy". USA Today. Retrieved 30 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Robert Christgau: Pazz & Jop 1999: Critics Poll". 
  11. ^ "CMJ New Music Report". 
  12. ^ Myers, Justin (25 April 2014). "Official Charts Flashback 1999: Westlife – Swear It Again". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 18 December 2015. 
  13. ^ "Billboard". 
  14. ^ "Basement Jaxx - david levine". 
  15. ^ http://adage.com/article/tech-page/petal-metal/91702/
  16. ^ "BUG XL Recordings Special – Review". 
  17. ^ "Staff Lists: The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 100–51 | Features | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  18. ^ NME.COM. "NME Reviews - Basement Jaxx : Red Alert - NME.COM". NME.COM. 
  19. ^ Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy. "We Looked Back on All 27 of Basement Jaxx's Singles - and They're Fucking Brilliant". Thump. 
  20. ^ "Love Life". 
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Basement Jaxx – Red Alert" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  22. ^ "Dance/Urban – Volume 69, No. 18, August 23 1999". collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Basement Jaxx – Red Alert" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  24. ^ "Search the charts". The Irish Charts. In the box under "Search by Song Title", put in Red Alert. Then click the button next to that box, where it says Search. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  25. ^ "Tutti i successi del 1999". Hit Parade Italia (in Italian). Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Basement Jaxx – Red Alert" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  27. ^ "Basement Jaxx: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  28. ^ a b "Remedy – Basement Jaxx Awards". Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 

External links[edit]