The Chemical Brothers “Go”
The Chemical Brothers have teamed up with Q-Tip again, and like Mario Puzo’s “The Godfather,” some will argue that the sequel is better than the original. You’ll find me in that camp.
On Monday, the duo released the track “Go” along with a video directed by Michel Gondry. The video feels painfully disappointing, so let’s get that part out of the way first. Simply put, the video feels like a college kid’s entry into a film contest sponsored by Vimeo. For a song that packs the energy of a 20-minute chase scene in the Bourne Identity, it feels like Gondry produced the video before he heard the song or even discussed it with the Brothers. The song’s vibe gets left at the altar, so I recommend consuming the song through a download or Spotify. Now to the good stuff.
This track wastes no time in getting to the point, and once the baseline serves its first measure, you’ll find yourself doing whatever you’re doing with a bit more punch. I was driving into Chicago in 5 lanes of congested highway traffic when I started it last night, and suddenly thought I was Mario Fucking Andretti. The build up in the first minute or so of the track took me from “Little Old Lady From Pasadena” to “Born to Be Wild.” It’s just got that undeniable element to it. This makes the flub of a video all the more a shame because there is so much energy in this song to be capitalized on.
It’s part vintage Chemical Brothers in the vein of the heavy bass foundation of “Block Rockin’ Beats” and the booming, tribal dance inducing drums of “Hey Boy Hey Girl,” and part hip hop party anthem. Speaking of the bass and drums, they sound like real instruments on this track, and they communicate the power of real instruments accordingly. The layers of drums are responsible for a large portion of the strength of this track, which reminds me… The audio production of this song is stellar. You can hear layers upon layers of sound when you turn it up in your car or a pair of solid headphones.
Outside of the video, one chief complaint I have is that the lyrics from hip hop royalty Q-Tip leave a whole lot to be desired. With most Saturday night bangers, especially of the electronic variety, that’s all but the norm. But this is Q-Tip, the man behind “Find A Way” and “Electric Relaxation” amongst countless others. This song won’t be a part of his inevitable show at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but the quality of the track overall has enough in its pocket to more than cover the lyrical shortcomings.
Make no doubt about it, this song was created to sell records. In this case, there is nothing wrong with that, and I have zero doubt it will accomplish its goal. Chemical Brothers hardcore fans will long for one of those seven minute, 60s psychedelic meets modern synth euphoria tracks, but I suspect that will come in many doses when Born In The Echoes is released in July. You’re more likely to hear it in Brixton than Brooklyn, which has always been the case with the Brothers, but in a sea of former underwear model, laptop DJs vomiting their predictable bottle service, Ed Hardy, Vegas strip EDM garbage, it’s nice to have the elder statesmen of the dance synths remind us that some artists are still around to show us how shit is done.