My, I get the best gigs. This was originally published on bbc.co.uk/music and was suprisingly hard to write. I mean, c’mon, how much can a girl say about East 17.
Back in a dim and distant land known as the 1990s, a
style of music existed which holds little place in today’s
charts…that of the boy band. Take That, Boyzone, 911, Let Loose
were all groups of attractive young men who initially built up their
fanbases in gay clubs before swarms of screaming teenage fans began to
follow them across the land.
An infamous part of this boy band era were 4 young men who mixed rap
with their pop melodies and took a more ‘street’ attitude to life. They
were called East 17.
Tony, Brian, Terry and John originated from the London postcode their
name describes and were famous for not keeping the squeaky clean
lifestyle their contemporaries claimed to uphold. From 1992 to 1997,
they chalked up 16 Top 30 hits, including one number 1, the 1994 Xmas
hit "Stay Another Day".
So, 8 years after their split, quite where the idea to release a
freshly packaged Greatest Hits compilation came from is unfathomable.
But that’s not to say the songs on the album weren’t good. They were
great…in their day.
The album will raise a smile on the face of anyone who grew up with
the sound of East 17 around them. While you might remember your first
kiss to the romantic sounds of "Stay Another Day", or the soulful "If
You Ever" (featuring Gabrielle),
classics like "House Of Love" and "It’s Alright" can still be found on
the dance floors of alcohol-fuelled Students’ Unions across the
country. And without a doubt, the dirty basslines on tracks like
"Steam" paved the way for late 90s boy band 5ive.
Coupled with the good comes the bad, and the Hi-NRG sounds of tracks
such as "Let It Rain" do make you reach for the fast forward button on
your stereo. This album isn’t going to win the group any new fans, nor
is it going to herald a great comeback. Instead, it’s an album you will
play once or twice when you want to have a good giggle at what music
was like in the good old 90s.