Why have a Top Ten when you can have one more? Ranking the best tracks from the Superstar DJs
Do The Chemical Brothers need any kind of introduction?
Big beat pioneers Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, AKA The Chemical Brothers (or ‘Chems, if we’re keeping it casj while raving in a field) have been instrumental in shaping the world of dance music, for this generation and beyond.
Formed in 1989 (but officially becoming The Chemical Brothers in 1995 after dropping their original moniker, The Dust Brothers, due to the existence of another act with the same name) they’ve had nine studio albums – with a tenth on the way – and have won an incredible six Grammy Awards.
Known for their shattering live performances, massive bass cannons and mind-altering visuals, no Chems concert is ever the same. It gets into the fabric of your being and leaves you breathless. Luckily, between festivals and headline tours, they’re on the road again this year with another fat case of beats. Here’s hoping these 11 tracks are among them…
11. Gotta Keep On
(No Geography, 2019)
The third single from 2019 album No Geography, this track’s disco vibe is guaranteed to get you grooving. Its catchy hook, together with the choral vocal line. makes it perfect for lit dancefloors, long road trips and larging it at a festival. Great fun.
10. Wide Open (feat. Beck)
(Born In The Echoes, 2015)
The last track on Born In The Echoes features the ethereal vocal stylings of Beck, making for a slower, sexier tune that breaks open the Chems’ sensitive side. The gradual build, the sweeping synths. It touches our vulnerabilities without leaving us alone once the house lights come up. Beautiful.
The Chemical Brothers are known for their epic live performances and ‘Swoon’ has become a mainstay in their most recent sets, and one that sends fans home with their hearts wide open. Just remember to play very loud and sing its mantra – “Just remember to fall in love. There’s nothing else. There’s nothing else”’” – with your arms in the air and a smile on your face.
8. Star Guitar
(Come With Us, 2003)
Boasting an acoustic Bowie guitar sample (from ‘Starman’, obviously), this races along like the freight train of life, only seen through a lens of a disco ball. It set the bar for a new direction in noughties dance music, and you can’t help but feel this track opened the door for the new-gen of artists like Jamie XX. Also, it’s great fun to groove to.
7. One Too Many Mornings
(Exit Planet Dust, 1995)
The Chemical Brothers’ debut album is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential dance records of all time, and ‘One Too Many Mornings’ is one of its many stand-out tracks. Dreamy and summer-soaked, it’s like waking from a fever dream.
6. Out Of Control
From the thumping bass intro to the sinister synths, this is the Chems track that brings together Bernard Sumner (New Order) and Bobby Gillespie (Primal Scream) to create a massive beat stomper of a track. Taken from 1999’s Surrender, ‘Out Of Control’ claimed the number one slot on the UK Dance Chart, and felt like a dizzy sign off to the millennium. Hold tight people.
5. Do It Again
(We Are The Night, 2007)
Oof. This intro. ‘Do It Again’ (2007) saw the duo take a different approach to their usual big beat sensibilities. The disparate vocal lines that call back and forth urge this track forward with a bouncy, almost hip hop-esque bop, while that relentless synth line gives the whole song an eerie dark undertone. Classic Chems.
4. Block Rockin’ Beats
(Dig Your Own Hole, 1997)
Ferocious and downright heavy as f*ck, ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ (1997) cemented the Chemical Brothers as an outfit that could take a music genre, bash it to bits, then reform it in their own image. From the bass riff to the screaming, crunchy sonic soundscape, this track sounds like a fusion of techno, hip hop and heavy rock. It thumps, it wails, it kicks the door in.
(Push The Button, 2005)
With Q-Tip on the vocals and a plethora of string samples, ‘Galvanize’ takes some time to get going, but when it does. When it does… Best heard live in a field, this certified banger switches time signatures to keep ravers on their toes, while the chorus heard three minutes in – “World, the time has come to. World, my finger is on the button. Push the button…” – feels like a call to arms. Sensational.
2. Setting Sun
(Dig Your Own Hole, 1997)
Arguably the coolest thing Noel Gallagher has ever done, ‘Setting Sun’ featured the unmistakable voice of the Oasis co-founder together with big bass cannon riffage, shrieking klaxons and sirens going off everywhere. It’s like a playground gone wrong. A skew-whiff nightmare of sounds and hallucinatory jailbreaks that just break the rave apart. It writhes. It twists. Hectic. Beautiful. Wow wow wow.
1. Hey Girl, Hey Boy
It has to take the number one spot, right? This is probably The Chemical Brothers’ most recognisable track, and the one you’d probably stick in a time capsule to show our intergalactic cousins how to get down. It calls you in, spits you out, and leaves you wanting more. Thrilling, relentless, ‘Hey Girl, Hey Boy’ is one of the finest dance singles of all time. Grab a glow stick. Get in a field. Lose your damn mind.