In praise of Sophie

For the first time since 'Wannabee', the record at number one is totally brilliant. You know what I'm on about, that splendid mix of Italian laid back beats crossed with English insouciance that is Groovejet by Spiller. The Mambo drums, the bell-like synth, the breakdowns cutting into the smooth suave flow, the ridiculous instrumentation on TOTP (a harp! for god's sake), the whole Moloko-ish relaxed floating across the chimney pots sunset/sunrise summer ambience. Make mine a Pimms 'n' Margarita.

And I almost forgot. The entirely wonderful Ms Sophie Ellis-Bextor - the indie doyenne turned rave goddess. When she sang: "I know enough, I know enough, I don't get enough", it was in the same sardonic laconic way. Nowadays, instead of “If this aint love, why does it feel so good?”, her tone of voice could be singing: "This aint love and you don't feel good" - the same nonchalant manner. She's straight from the Sterolab/Black Box Recorder school of dead-pan vocalising. When her voice swoops a half octave on “Why does it fee-eel so good”, as she tries to inject a sexy note, it's marvellously false, like a school girl playing at being Madonna. Her presence bucks up TOTP, CD-UK, T4; her waxy face and squirrel cheeks, her refusal to dance, her black shift dress and opaque tights....even her middle-class self-assurance, so different from Victoria Beckham and her desperate posturings and minimalist clothing. Sophie does not stick her tits out, she practically pulls them in. A popstar called Sophie....who'd've thought it?

May it remain at number one until Greenwich Meantime takes over.

© 2000 Rachel Stevenson