onsdag 19 oktober 2011

"If it ain't rough, no, it ain't no thing"

2 Unlimited - Real Things
Released on the 6th Jun 1994

Label: Various

The first album I ever bought was 2 Unlimited - Get Ready. It was in the spring of 1993 and I were 11 years old. The album had been out for over a year and almost two years had passed since hits like Get Ready For This and Twilight Zone began taking over dancefloors all over Europe. However this was way before the golbalism of the medias and internet was still something only computer nerds had heard of. If an artist or a group wanted a big break through, it took something extra. No Limit came out in late 1992 and became the break through factor for 2 Unlimited. Now everybody knew them, and just like me, many people started to explore their earlier work. During the early summer of 1993 the album Get Ready got a sequal and No Limits were released, the success was immediate!

During 93/94 2 Unlimited were highly productive. No Limit were followed by Tribal Dance, Faces and Let The Beat Control Your Body. During this period the group also released a spanish version of the album called Sin Limites. Throw The Groove Down came out as an US-only release were the Quadrapack edition featured 4 12"s containing 13 versions of Throw The Groove Down plus 6 versions of No Limit '94. The ballad Where Are You Know were released in some parts of Asia and tons of remix albums and compilations came out all over the world. As a result of this, the album Real Things were surrounded by insane expectations. No Limits reached the number 1 spot in 7 European countries and the first single of the new album promised big things. The Real Thing reached equal success as many of the earlier hits and the song was launched with an amazing video.

Real Things were produced by the duo Jean-Paul De Coster and Phil Wilde and the vocal performences were still made by Raymond Lothar Slijngaard and Anita Dels. It was recorded at Soundsational Studios and released in june 1994. I still remember the day, I were so excited and together with a friend we went down to the city to buy the album. And i still remember the dissapointment!

During the spring of 1994 the eurodance scene exploded with thousands of new projects releasing thousands and thousands of singles. 2 Unlimited didn't really have anything to proove but still it seems like Real Things were released to distinguish some kind of uniqueness thowards the big mass. Rumours say: "The title was aimed as a dig at the several other similar sounding eurodance acts who had appeared to copy the 2 Unlimited sound" refering to The Real Thing. During a period were simplicity gained massive success on the eurodance scene, 2 Unlimited released an album with complicated melodies and diffuse messages. Not that any of 2 Unlimiteds earlier work made any sense, I mean "No limits allowed, cause there's much crowd".. wtf?! But while Get Ready and No Limits were dumb yet still fulfilled a purpose, Real Things tried to be smooth and intelligent but ending up beeing even dumber.

After The Real Thing, 2 Unlimited choose to release No One as a second single. No One is a slow tempo pop house track and a piece of crap tune to release as a follow-up to The Real Thing. Who got that idea? Here I Go came out as a third single, which made a bit more sense, too bad that the only good thing about Here I Go is the refrain! Fourth single; Nothing Like The Rain, a downtempo song!? The maxi contained two euro influenced versions plus the original album version. In the UK The Real Thing reached the gold status in sales, Nothing Like The Rain didn't even get a release.

Now weren't there any positive aspects of the album? The Real Thing a side, there were a few. Do What I Like is a great track and could easily had been released as a single. Here I Go and Burning Like Fire has promising elements and the refrain of Burning Like Fire is amazing! What's Mine is Mine is a hidden gem and a fantastic track. In fact I can listen to the album today and appreciate many things that I hated back in the 90's. Age makes us forgiving and understanding, but it didn't help when I was 13 years old back in 1994.

2 kommentarer:

  1. Personally, the "Real Things" era of 2 Unlimited reminds me a lot of what happened with Haddaway's album "The Drive". Once the Euro genre kicked in high-gear near the end of 1993/beginning of 1994, Eurodance has started to develop at a rapid scale and said "pioneers" couldn't seem to keep up. When Haddaway released "The Drive", it had good singles, but nothing that impressing, and as the case with 2U, he tried to produce something that was somewhat "smarter" than typical Eurodance (I'm especially thinking of Italian Eurodance, which I consider "dumb" in comparision). The pioneers kinda lost of their edge and fell into mediocrity by the release of their sophomore strictly-Eurodance albums (which I don't consider "Get Ready" to be since it sounds more "Rave" oriented to me). Same happened with Snap!, and a handful of other artists I can't name out of not remembering them. Eurodance evolved too fast for everybody, and unfortunately we know where it landed it a few years later...

    My two cents on your review, which I judge to be fair even if you diss "No One", which is a favourite track of mine (The Unlimited Mix of course, slightly faster and better!) It's not exactly the mightiest 2 Unlimited album around, but still somewhat enjoyable for a fan!

  2. I agree on all points, the Haddaway thing as well. To me it was very obvious that Haddaway didn't want to do eurodance at all, he got stuck with it and had dreams to break in other genres. It's not nice to speak bad about the dead, but Melanie Thornton is also a good example of this.