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October 9, 2017 | by  | in Music | [ssba]

Cuts From the Deep: An Ode to My Favourite Song

Approaching my last article for Salient as music co-editor, I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of things that I still wanted to write about and haven’t (a love letter to Kate Bush, a robust appreciation piece about the Spice Girls — I could go on). But I couldn’t pass up the chance to write a tender ode to my most loved pop song, nay, song in general, of all time. This is such an unbelievably bodacious banger that all of my nerve endings jump up and stand at attention every time those glorious first notes tickle my eardrums. Especially if I’m not the one who has induced it to play, which is a rarity. It creates what is probably the most instantaneous and potent rush of dopamine I’ll ever experience. Yes friends: forget poppers, forget MDMA, forget coffee, forget sugar, forget your Garage Project New Wave English Pale Ale; all you need is the magnificent “Pure Shores” by English girl group All Saints.

Let’s forget for a moment that it’s strongly associated with that travesty of a Leo Dicaprio film where a bunch of entitled hippies take ownership over a remote Thai beach, and appreciate it for its musical value. It is genuinely the perfect pop song. I challenge you to put it on at a house party without getting at least five compliments and/or exuberant grunts/shrieks. Soft, relaxed dream-pop is so highly underrated and criminally missing from our current musical era, at least in the popular charts.

That blissfully tranquil guitar riff, the lapping of the rising and falling synths, those wonderfully twangy modulated guitar chords, the bass that seems to reverberate out at you from the deep sea, the way the vocals seamlessly wend their way around each other, the unhurried pace of the song, the giddy swell of the chorus; it all spells a recipe for a song that slouches towards paradise. The choice of William Orbit as producer was bang on. As a musician with deep roots in techno and ambient, he brought the exact right kind of mellow to balance out All Saints’ airbrushed pop. Apparently Madonna was livid Orbit didn’t give the track to her after they worked together on “Ray of Light”, but despite my love of Madonna, I wouldn’t change this song for all the cone bras in the world.

For girl groups, reaching this level of sleek, sophisticated grace is no easy feat, but this song reaches it with such ostensible ease. Even the strange video, with its woozy shots of the band in trench coats on the beach at night, intercut with shots from the Film That Shall Not Be Named, kind of adds this air of mystery and bizarre cool. Sure, the lyrics are completely inane, but they are sufficiently positive to add to the beachy paradise vibe established by the instruments and vocal melodies, and to be honest most people are probably too blissed out by the time the vocals come in to even notice what they’re saying.

This song is a heady concoction of ambient pop that perfectly captures the 2000 zeitgeist; a beautiful meld of ecstasy and naïveté. It’s becoming increasingly important to have these slices of bliss in our current world of bleak-and-getting-bleaker, and this is one of those rare songs that can transport you to a different time, place, and state of mind by caressing your eardrums in just that exact right way. It is a dream-pop orgasm, nourishing music for the soul, and I will always hold it in my heart and in my Top 25 most played tracks on iTunes.


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