I fell in love with Basement Jaxx for a reason. I needed release and they provided it in abundance. Songs like "Set Yo Body Free," "All U Crazies," "Same Old Show," "Yo Yo Yo," "Don't Give Up," "Being With U," "Lonely," "Bongoloid," "Razocaine," "Romeo (Beats Mix)," "Breakaway," I Want U," "Jump N Shout," and "Flylife (Xtra)" -- these are just my personal "essentials," there are, of course, quite a few others I love -- these songs rocked my world, changed my world, made my world a wonderful place.
And then they changed a whole lot with the album Kish Kash (though, they were ahead in predicting the curve of this necessary change, later followed by pretty much everybody else).. With songs like "Plug It In," and "Good Luck," and "Oh My Gosh," to me, it seems they began to go overboard, losing sensibility. Their music-production values remained amazing, there were even two songs I really loved -- and consider to be right up there with their best -- "Lucky Star" and "Right Here's The Spot." But it seemed, to me, that they lost focus in their "everything including the kitchen sink, actually, let's throw in ten kitchen sinks" stylings.
(Side note(s): I love that they got Solid Groove to Remix "U Don't Know Me," a song I don't like in it's original version, but the remix ROCKS. And I REALLY love the Jaxx's remix of "Like I Love You" by Justin Timberlake.)
On this album, Crazy Itch Radio, there are three songs I'd consider right up there with their best: "Hey U" (i can't even explain it, it's SO good) and "Everybody" (makes a few references to other Basement Jaxx tracks, the overall sound is a little like Jamiroquai mixed with Scissor Sisters and a hint of Daft Punk -- it's SO good) and "Run 4 Cover" (sounds like Gwen Stefani mixed with MIA performing at Karneval in Rio de Janero -- it's SO good)... I really love these songs.
"Intro" (featured twice on the album) is interesting... Thomas Bangalter used a direct sample of the last few measures of Mahler's 9th symphony (last movement) in a song on the Irreversible soundtrack. Here, there are very-highly-inspired repeated chords (and chorus) from the beginning of the Dies Irae of Verdi's Requiem, except it's "original performance" (not a sample)... I love this.
"Take Me Back to Your House" (very fun, excellent use of mandolins) and "Keep Keep On" (it uses samples similar to those in Kanye West's "Gold Digger," the song is, unfortunately, too damn short) and "Smoke Bubbles" (has a Bernard Herrmann "Psycho" type sample, and a little tiny hint of the choral-part from the Bjork song "Oceania" -- the rest is very animated, lively, fun) and "Lights Go Down" (has some very interesting sounds, and some amazing chorus work, reminding me of something from Bjork's "Vespertine" album) and "U R On My Mind" (neat sounds of whistles and beeps and strings and gurgles) are really good, as is "Hush Boy, though this song, in particular, takes a little getting used to (what, with its at-first-annoying talk of chicken fajitas and margaritas and the internet, and its at-first-awkward, almost nagging, chorus of "if you want to be my boyfriend") but it's very fun once it's won you over... I really like these songs.
The unnumbered untitled hidden track, at the end of the album (it goes: "As the Night Moves On") -- it has a sort of Bjork feel to it (electrical storms and machine beats from the "Homogenic" album and harmonies from the "Medulla" album), only, of course, it isn't Bjork singing -- is good, as is "On the Train" ... I like these songs.
"Zoomalude" and "Skillalude" serve their purpose (interludes). Not much to mention.
After a few dozen listenings, I finally "feel" and "understand" the album, each song individually, and the album as a whole. It's taken some adjustment, this ever-changing Basement Jaxx process-of-music-making. Overall, a "fantastic voyage," definitely recommended.
I'm very much looking forward to the singles' remixes. I pray Soulwax AND Solid Groove are chosen to do them!