Everything is subjective in the music world. But if we’re being honest, like, really honest, ‘You Gonna Want Me’ was everyone’s favourite song for a reason. The exact sound of a million bottles pouring a million drinks on a million sweaty dancefloors with a million jacked up guys grinding up against slinky girls (or boys, for that matter), Tiga’s official entrance after a decade of producing and releasing music for other people was nothing if not brutal. Like the Bodyrox track which may have come before or after it (ask my brother for clarification on that one, I was most certainly on a different planet for most of 2007), the success of this song comes down to the fact that nobody wants to remember a lot of words when they’re partying, but they want to remember the right ones. More ‘Let’s Get Retarded’ than ‘I’m Sexy and I Know It’, ‘You Gonna Want Me’ seemed to possess at least a thin film of authenticity that made it that much easier to love even when you hated everything around it. Tiga’s pedigree certainly helped – though not for me, I had no idea who the guy was – but if you stack this up against anything else on a Ministry of Sound mix from this era, it’s one of the few that really doesn’t sound dated.
I’m fascinated with what makes certain tracks work and others flop, even when they’re essentially made up of the same core material. Much of it has to do with the way words are phrased in relation to the accompaniment, something our sporadic contributor Tim wrote about far better than I ever could when analysing the amorphous concept of artistic credibility in contemporary pop. But it cannot only be that, surely. In the case of Tiga, for instance, we have clear indicators of survival outside of the omnipresent bass line. Tiga has his voice is pitched in the verse at such a depth that even though he’s singing in tune, it kind of sounds flat and toneless. This is excellent for the 85% of Australians who are completely tone deaf, as well as the higher proportion who forget how to sing when drunk. They forget the contours and hone in the one note (where they approximate it to be) and hit the entire lyric that way. It’s actually a really sexy move by Tiga as a way of matching himself to the bassline and appearing almost as one with it, which makes for a dramatic shift when the chorus enters. This is important, because many dance producers who had a hook this good would leave it at that and not even worry about changing anything. Indeed, that’s where all of Tiga’s competitors lapsed into flashes in the pan rather than longterm propositions.
Jake Shears, who at this time had only just burst into the mainstream following the UK-conquering debut from Scissor Sisters, darts in with his falsetto come chorus time, following the arc of the chords rather than hovering like Tiga does. Though it sounds utterly simplistic (and yes, I am only realising this with a clear mind and no intoxicants), turning the phrase on itself is a small apark of genius. ‘I know, you gonna want me/but when you want me/ it might be/a different story’ is not actually that easy to sing. It’s a bit counter-intuitive to the brain, and I distinctly remember tripping up on it the first few times and not being able to make it past the first line. Whereas Tiga’s train is easy to board, Shears; is more difficult, but because of the relentless bass, it seems stupid not to. I’m probably giving it far too much credit but I really do think it’s things like this that have ensured that I was walking down the street in a completely different context five years later and started hearing it in my head. Of course, the big drawcard is that half-step bass figure, which a monkey could arguably play with a hand tied behind his back. But I’ll be damned if the first time you hear it it isn’t the most glorious thing your ears have ever witnessed. Between that and the flanged hi-hats and the haunting mellotrons and Jake Shears, it was hard for this song not to take over your favourite club half a decade ago. But it’s still a certified banger, and Tiga is still in seriously high demand. Not sure I can say the same for Bodyrox.
Tiga – ‘You Gonna Want Me’