Last week, I threwback to a song that would be a good fit for 4/20. This week, I’m throwing back to a song I found myself seeking out on 4/20. As my friends and I dived back into obscure 90’s alternative songs, I brought up this unique combo of rock, hip-hop, and soul that was pure 90’s weirdness from a band that has almost completely disappeared from most people’s memories (or may have never been there at all).
Urban Dance Squad was formed in Amsterdam, originally as an informal side project, but once their live performances received rave reviews, they toured and recorded their first album, Mental Floss for the Globe. On it was “Deeper Shade of Soul”, which would go on to be a Top 30 hit in the U.S. UDS would go on to release 3 more albums throughout the 90’s, but none received the same critical or commercial success.
What made “Deeper Shade of Soul” stand out? It mixes island guitars and rhythms with a rapper’s delivery and a jolly gang chorus that is just shy of being goofy. It would play just as well at a dance party as it would at a skate park (where the group filmed the song’s video). It’s sounds like a more melodic version of early Red Hot Chili Peppers melded with the Beastie Boys.
Then again, you can listen to yourself and get nostalgic for the weirdness of alternative radio all those years ago.