I ranked my favourite Jamiroquai albums in reverse order for you to debate or agree with.
My list of best to worst Knxwledge albums was tongue in cheek but Google Analytics suggests people are taking it seriously enough to search for his best albums and finding the article. I was tempted to do the same for Jamiroquai but decided against it. And rather than have a best to worst list, I wrote a favourites list. You can’t argue with someone favourites but goddamn it somebody will. Anyway, here they are.
There isn’t a “worst” album in Jamiroquai’s discography. This was the first full album that made me a fan. For that reason, it should be higher up. But it isn’t. Why? It was a disjointed album. It featured a lot of session bassists who were brilliant (Derrick McIntyre played on 4 of them, including Time Won’t Wait where he excelled the most) but it affected Dynamite’s cohesion. It was a collection of singles rather than a gelled body of work. The loudness war also took some audible casualties but that’s the producer in me talking. Onto the positives: Feels Just Like It Should packs a dirty funk punch. The title track is a smooth disco number that doesn’t push as hard as previous attempts but it’s still worthy. There’s also a very special track on this album called Starchild. It’s where I got my production name. It’s cute and funky and almost gospel. All in all, a good musical menagerie but missing some sonic glue.
Other notable tracks: Seven Days in Sunny June, Electric Mistress, Tallulah, (Don’t) Give Hate A Chance, Hot Tequila Brown
This album took a while to grow on me. It was their most electronic-sounding album since A Funk Odyssey. The synth-centric tracks were back and a few disco songs to boot. The title track drew comparisons to Daft Punk but after a few spins, that notion dissipates. I loved the middle breakdown with some classic Jamiroquai strings and Jay Kay rapping(?!) Cloud 9 is a soft house track ripe for remixing and some great hooks. Summer Girl is pure disco through and through. Dr Buzz is my fave off the album though. The orchestration is superb, with slight theme variations across an array of soundscapes. Vitamin is D&B-esque, something the band haven’t dabbled in since Do You Know Where You’re Coming From back in 1996.
Other notable tracks: Superfresh, Nights Out In The Jungle
6. Rock Dust Light Star
5 years is a long time for an ageing band. The only people checking for them were the South American fans and me. When I heard about the debut single, White Knuckle Ride, I was beyond excited. It showed they hadn’t lost their magic, and I could hear the early “organic” vibe again. The tightness of previous albums remained but determined by experience rather than expression. There were throwbacks to their old days. She’s A Fast Persuader was very Travelling Without Moving. Hey Floyd was another modern version of Just Another Story, blending cinematic funk with a funky reggae mid-section. Again, it’s so low on the list because there were 5 albums I preferred more. When a discography is this good, you have to make tough choices.
Other notable tracks: All Good In The Hood, Hurtin’, Blue Skies, Goodbye To My Dancer
5. Emergency On Planet Earth
I predict a lot of older UK music listeners would have put this as their #1. The only reason it’s so low on my list is because there were 4 other albums that captured me more. That’s not to say EoPE was poor by any means. The killer-to-filler ratio was very high and catapulted the band into stardom. The conscious themes still ring true today. When You Gonna Learn and Too Young To Die were millennial anthems before millennials were a thing. In fact, a lot of the tracks on this album could be anthems for that generation. It’s a growing up album of sorts, with musical acts of rebellion and free spirits. Horns were a major melodic focus and the expansive drumming of Nick Van Gelder. Zender’s bass play was very open too as everyone tried to find their way in a new genre: acid jazz.
Other notable tracks: Hooked Up, If I Like It, I Do It, Blow Your Mind