The Return of the Space Cowboy

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The Return of the Space Cowboy
A white silhouette of a human male with buffalo horns, his head slightly tilts to the left. Above him is text of both the band name and album title. The background is a closeup of the moon.
Studio album by
Released17 October 1994
RecordedJune–October 1994
Genre
Length65:44
LabelSony Soho Square (UK)
Work (US)
ProducerMike Nielsen and Al Stone
Jamiroquai chronology
Emergency on Planet Earth
(1993)
The Return of the Space Cowboy
(1994)
Jay's Selection
(1996)
Jamiroquai studio album chronology
Emergency on Planet Earth
(1993)
The Return of the Space Cowboy
(1994)
Travelling Without Moving
(1996)
Singles from The Return of the Space Cowboy
  1. "The Kids"
    Released: 30 June 1994
  2. "Space Cowboy"
    Released: 26 September 1994
  3. "Half the Man"
    Released: 7 November 1994
  4. "Light Years"
    Released: 2 May 1995
  5. "Stillness in Time"
    Released: 19 June 1995
  6. "Morning Glory[4]"
    Released: 6 September 1995

The Return of the Space Cowboy is the second album by British funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai. The album was released on 17 October 1994 in the United Kingdom under Sony Soho Square and on 9 May 1995 under Work Group in the United States.

Background[edit]

Production[edit]

After the success of the band's debut album Emergency on Planet Earth, Jay Kay was eager to work on a follow-up. At the time, the band's drummer Nick van Gelder had been on holiday for longer than expected, which caused conflict between him and Kay.[5] This led to Jamiroquai recruiting Derrick McKenzie who played with the band while recording the first track "Just Another Story" in one take for his audition. Kay became more confident with the band's new drummer and the recognition Jamiroquai had begun to receive. However, Kay suddenly fell into a sophomore slump which was worsened by his increasing drug use.[5] The songwriting process was complex for the band, as Kay was often unhappy with the results and songs were often scrapped or rewritten.[5] When the group presented Sony a few songs, the label told the band that "none of [them] sounded like singles".[5] The band soon found their turning point when they wrote "Space Cowboy" which Kay called his "comeback anthem" and became the album's lead single.[5] The writing of the song helped the band to finish the album, which Kay retrospectively called "one of our most creative and accomplished albums."[5]

Composition[edit]

"Stillness in Time" was written when Kay was at his lowest point. He said that "the sweetness of [the song] was really wishful thinking; a hope that things would get better."[5] "Half the Man" is about Kay's twin brother who died shortly after birth and also "doubles up really nicely as a love song";[5] The seventh track "Mr. Moon" tells of a girl who Kay met at a rave, but eventually ended up with the band's keyboardist Toby Smith. Kay praised Smith for his "incredibly complex chord structure[s]" in the song.[5]

With the band's songwriting going back and forth between harder and softer songs, they shifted to writing the "very heavy [and aggressive]" songs "Light Years" and "The Kids". The latter track was meant to "[capture] the feeling of the streets[,]" and was about youth protests against the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act of 1994, a bill that outlaws unrestricted raves.[5] The fifth track "Manifest Destiny", a mellow song with "a brass heavy coda[,]"[6] was written when Kay read of the mistreatment and massacres of Native Americans.[5] The ninth track "Morning Glory" was according to BBC Music, a "laid back, a blissed-out joy; perfect comedown music with percussion darting from speaker to speaker."[6]

Singles[edit]

  • "The Kids" was released as the album's lead single on 30 June 1994, exclusively in Japan. The track was recorded shortly after the Emergency on Planet Earth sessions. "The Kids" was written and performed during the 1993 Emergency on Planet Earth tour. It may either have been an outtake from the album, or simply a song written after the album was fully produced and released. The live versions played during the tour had a different chorus when compared to the album version. After "The Kids" was recorded with previous drummer, Nick Van Gelder, Derrick McKenzie replaced Nick and the rest of the of the tracks were recorded with McKenzie on drums, aside from "The Kids".
  • "Space Cowboy" was released as the album's international lead single on 26 September 1994. The single peaked at #17 on the UK Singles Chart and was their first #1 on the U.S. Dance Chart. Two very distinct versions of the song exist. One was recorded with Stuart Zender on bass, has a greater tempo, and uses a 'bass slap' technique during the chorus. This version is commonly known as the "Stoned Again Mix", even though it is the original version. The second version, the one that appears on the album is considerably different, with a lower tempo, and a completely dissimilar bassline. The bass on the album version was not played by Zender, but by an unknown artist only credited as "Mr. X" in the booklet. Only recently Zender himself on Instagram has revealed that the bass player who played on the song is Paul Powell.[7][better source needed]
  • "Half the Man" was released as the album's third overall single on 7 November 1994. The track peaked at #15 on the UK Singles Chart. The song was featured on the soundtrack of cult British surf movie Blue Juice. The song gained recognition for its popular B-side, "Space Clav", which has never been included on any other Jamiroquai release. With the exception of its inclusion on both regular and deluxe Japanese pressings, it is one of nine singles that does not appear on the group's greatest hits album.
  • "Light Years" was released as the album's fourth overall single on 2 May 1995. The song did not chart on the UK Singles Chart due to little promotion of its release. In the United States, the song peaked at #6 on the U.S. Dance Chart. The American version of the single features three mixes of the song by David Morales. The American album release features a live version of "Light Years", performed in Marseille in December 1994, as a bonus track. Two main versions of the song exist - a radio edit, running at 3:59, and an album version, which lasts for 5:53.
  • "Stillness in Time" was released as the album's fifth overall single on 19 June 1995. The track peaked at #9 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the group's highest charting release to that date. The song was covered by Calvin Harris on the Radio 1 Established 1967 collection, which was released in 2007. Three versions of the track exist: a radio edit, which runs at 3:43, the album version, which runs at 4:11, and the vinyl version, which runs at 6:13. The music video strikes some similarities to the video for "Light Years", as they both feature Jamiroquai snowboarding down a mountain.

Legacy[edit]

Missy Elliott and Chance the Rapper had both respectively sampled the track "Morning Glory" for 1997's "Bite Our Style (Interlude)" from Supa Dupa Fly and the 2015 song "Israel".[8] 2Pac had also sampled from the track "Manifest Destiny".[9]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[1]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[3]
The Guardian3/4 stars[10]
Q3/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[2]
Select4/5[12]

Rolling Stone wrote, "Jay Kay is a wonderfully nimble singer with a Stevie Wonder jones, and Jamiroquai parlay jazzy soul pop so tight it crackles... Nowadays, when most funk comes out of cans, Jamiroquai's live spark glows."[2] Entertainment Weekly described the band as "a funk-making machine with a bright future in the past",[3] while The Source said that they "may still be light years ahead of the hip-hop world."[13] Q called the album an "ebullient follow-up" to Emergency on Planet Earth.[11] Musician wrote that it "sounds like a bastard spawn of Stevie Wonder and Mandrill with its vintage keyboards, jazz harmonies and fondness for rambling, jam-oriented arrangements".[14] Writing of the lyrics, Sonia Murray of The Atlanta Constitution opined that "Jamiroquai challenges our numb response to violence, the lure of material trappings, even 'the shame of [his] ancestry' with a spirit so unencumbered and personal that these searing messages feel like engaging talks over coffee."[15] In a negative review, Mark Jenkins of The Washington Post described the album as "one of 1995's least digestible servings of leftovers."[16]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Jay Kay and Toby Smith, except where noted.

Standard edition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Just Another Story" (track 11 on US version) 8:49
2."Stillness in Time" 4:15
3."Half the Man" 4:48
4."Light Years" 5:53
5."Manifest Destiny" 6:19
6."The Kids" 5:08
7."Mr. Moon"Kay, Smith, Stuart Zender5:28
8."Scam"Kay, Zender, Smith7:00
9."Journey to Arnhemland" (instrumental)Kay, Wallis Buchanan, Smith5:19
10."Morning Glory"Kay, Zender6:21
11."Space Cowboy" (Track 1 on US version)Kay6:25
Total length:65:44
Japanese edition bonus track
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
12."Space Cowboy" (Stoned Again Mix)Kay6:32
French edition bonus track
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
12."Space Cowboy" (David Morales Mix)Kay4:59
American edition bonus track
No.TitleLength
12."Light Years" (Live at the Theatre Du Moulin, Marseille, December 1994)5:53
LP version bonus track
No.TitleLength
12."Stillness in Time" (Extended Mix)6:13
20th anniversary reissue bonus disc[17]
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Light Years" (4 to Da Floor Mix) 5:21
2."Space Cowboy" (David Morales Mix)Kay4:59
3."Space Cowboy" (Demo)Kay4:18
4."Morning Glory" (instrumental)Kay6:21
5."Stillness in Time" (Edit) 4:15
6."Space Clav"Smith, Zender, Gary Barnacle4:54
7."Light Years" (Live at the Theatre Du Moulin, Marseille, December 1994) 5:53
8."Scam" (Live)Kay, Zender5:13
9."Journey to Arnhemland" (Live)Kay, Smith, Buchanan5:19
10."We Gettin' Down" (Live) 9:46

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
France (SNEP)[29] Platinum 347,000[28]
Japan (RIAJ)[30] Platinum 200,000^
Netherlands (NVPI)[31] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[32] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[33] Platinum 300,000^
Summaries
Worldwide N/A 1,300,000[34]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bush, John. "The Return of the Space Cowboy – Jamiroquai". AllMusic. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Evans, Paul (23 March 1995). "Jamiroquai: The Return of the Space Cowboy". Rolling Stone. No. 704. Archived from the original on 6 May 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Woodard, Josef (10 March 1995). "The Return of the Space Cowboy". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  4. ^ "Jamiroquai – Morning Glory". discogs.com. Retrieved 28 August 2011.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kay, Jason (March 2013). The Return Of The Space Cowboy 20th anniversary reissue booklet – Sony Music Entertainment
  6. ^ a b Easlea, Daryl. "BBC - Music - Review of Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy". BBC Music]. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  7. ^ "Jamiro-Mistery Solved!". reddit.
  8. ^ Hunter, James (August 1999). "JKNY". Vibe. pp. 112–116.
  9. ^ Easlea, Daryl. "Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy". Review. BBC Music. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  10. ^ Sullivan, Caroline (21 October 1994). "Jamiroquai: The Return of the Space Cowboy (Sony Soho Square 477813 2)". The Guardian.
  11. ^ a b "Jamiroquai: The Return of the Space Cowboy". Q. No. 187. February 2002. p. 122.
  12. ^ Hall, Matt (November 1994). "Jamiroquai: The Return of the Space Cowboy". Select. No. 53. p. 101.
  13. ^ "Jamiroquai: The Return of the Space Cowboy". The Source. No. 67. April 1995. p. 84.
  14. ^ "Jamiroquai: The Return of the Space Cowboy". Musician. June 1995. p. 76.
  15. ^ Murray, Sonia (22 April 1995). "The Return of the Space Cowboy". Atlanta Constitution: Section WL, p. 20.
  16. ^ Jenkins, Mark (1 September 1995). "Jamiroquai's Stale Leftovers". The Washington Post: Section WW, p. 16.
  17. ^ "JAMIROQUAI 20TH ANNIVERSARY REISSUES | The Official Sony Music Ireland Site". Sonymusic.ie. Archived from the original on 30 May 2013. Retrieved 30 August 2014.
  18. ^ "australian-charts.com Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy" (ASP). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  19. ^ "austriancharts.at Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  20. ^ "dutchcharts.nl Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy" (ASP). Hung Medien. MegaCharts. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  21. ^ "InfoDisc : Tous les Albums classés par Artiste > Choisir Un Artiste Dans la Liste" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original on 10 September 2013. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  22. ^ "Album Search: Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy" (in German). Media Control. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  23. ^ "スペース・カウボーイの逆襲レビュー一覧". Oricon Style (in Japanese). Oricon. Archived from the original on 21 January 2014.
  24. ^ "swedishcharts.com Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy" (ASP) (in Swedish). Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  25. ^ "Jamiroquai - The Return of the Space Cowboy - hitparade.ch" (ASP). Hung Medien (in German). Swiss Music Charts. Retrieved 1 January 2014.
  26. ^ "The Return of the Space Cowboy". Official Albums Chart. Official Charts. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  27. ^ "Les Albums (CD) de 1993 par InfoDisc" (in French). infodisc.fr. Archived from the original (PHP) on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
  28. ^ "Les Albums Platine". infodisc.fr. SNEP. Archived from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  29. ^ "French album certifications – Jamiroquai – The Return of the Space Cowboy" (in French). InfoDisc. Select JAMIROQUAI and click OK. 
  30. ^ "RIAJ > The Record > September 1999 > Certified Awards (July 1999)" (PDF). Recording Industry Association of Japan (in Japanese). Archived from the original (PDF) on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  31. ^ "Dutch album certifications – Jamiroquai – The Return of the Space Cowboy" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Vereniging van Producenten en Importeurs van beeld- en geluidsdragers. Enter The Return of the Space Cowboy in the "Artiest of titel" box.
  32. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Jamiroquai; 'The Return of the Space Cowboy')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  33. ^ "British album certifications – Jamiroquai – The Return of the Space Cowboy". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 15 September 2013. Select albums in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type The Return of the Space Cowboy in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  34. ^ "Who's Selling Here". Billboard. 17 February 1996. p. 58 – via Wayback Machine.