old music monday: groovejet (if this ain’t love)

On this day, in the year of our lord 2000AD, Spiller had Sophie Ellis Bextor feature on a track that was rumoured to be the first song ever played on an iPod.

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Aug 20 2018, 2:50pm

Image via YouTube

So, it’s August 2000. A hot, sticky first summer in London for many (well, me). You can’t buy skinny jeans because they haven’t been invented yet. Jeans are baggy and everyone wears Stan Smiths or £5 plimsolls from Brick Lane. The bus is 70p. The Millenium Dome — not yet turned to a mecca of capitalism — is filled with it’s original giant statues sponsored by M&S. You take pink Es and live for the party that only happens once a month when the tide goes right out on the bank of the Thames. Soho is grimy and untouched by chains and gentrification and the tube has been reupholstered with fabric that says “London 2012 Olympics, back the bid.” You can’t even imagine 2012 — it seems impossibly far in the distance, like looking out at the sea and knowing another continent is on the other side of it.

The city stinks in summer. And everywhere you go, shuffling from student halls to the front steps of college, all the shops and all the cars are blasting out one of two songs that tune into the modern lust for vocals atop a drum and bass instrumental: True Steppers and Dane Bowers’ Out of Your Mind ft. Victoria Beckham or Spiller’s Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love) ft. Sophie Ellis Bextor.

2000 was a mixed bag for music -- number ones included but were not limited to -- Independent Women, Who Let The Dogs Out, The Real Slim Shady, Toca’s Miracle, 7 Days, Re-Rewind, Rock DJ and Sex Bomb. It was a time midway between the grimy end of the 90s and the optimistic futurism of the 00s. Saccharine manufactured pop had a stronghold on the charts -- S Club 7, Britney, Destiny's Child and Christina Aguilera feature heavily in the list of number ones. But it was also before shows like Popstars and X-Factor became generation X’s version of Top Of The Pops. There was still mystery in Svengalied pop land, but it was sweet and kind, all sugary kisses on boys cheeks.

Looking back, it feels like a weird dreamy time, one where John Lennon and Martine McCutcheon could sit next to each other in the charts, where the Twin Towers still stood and a million people had yet to take to the streets to protest the war on Iraq. You could still stub your cigarette out indoors and run upstairs to the top deck of the old Routemaster, dodging the conductor and avoiding your 70p fare.

Truesteppers and Spiller went head to head in the UK charts; with Groovejet ultimately taking the top spot, handbag house winning out over drum and bass. Groovejet actually became the number one selling vinyl of the millennium (lol) and, according to reddit, was the first song ever played on an iPod. But that’s not really what matters. Because in the summer of 2000, that long lost and hopeful time ago, music had none of the dark and powerful edge it carries now. The music might have been shit, but at least the people were happy.