Our top 10 songs from The Chemical Brothers list presents the songs of an electronic music duo famed for its influence in the big beat genre. The duo was formed by Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, who started as DJs at a club in Manchester. Hip hop, house, and techno music were the duo’s primary choice of songs in the initial stages of their DJing career. Rowlands and Simons picked out the moniker the Dust Brothers after the US production duo, famed for its work with the Beastie Boys. This caused controversy between the two acts, forcing Rowlands and Simons to change their name to The Chemical Brothers.
The proverb “Necessity is the mother of invention” best describes the transformational moment of The Chemical Brothers in the early stages of the duo’s career. Running out of suitable instrumental hip hop tracks to use had the duo make their own. It all started with recording “Song to the Siren,” which sampled a song with a similar title by This Mortal Coil. The duo then recorded its first remixes sampling songs from The Sandals, Leftfield, and Republica. Released in January 1994, Fourteenth Century Sky was the duo’s first official EP, which contained hits that epitomized The Chemical Brothers’ big beat sound. The EP featured “Chemical Beats,” which became the duo’s groundbreaking release having it used as part of the soundtrack to the Wipeout video game series.
The Chemical Brothers went on to release a debut album, Exit Planet Dust, in July 1995. Beth Orton appeared as a guest vocalist in the album’s song “Alive Alone.” “Alive Alone” sold over a million copies and was eventually used on the soundtrack of the sci-fi TV series pilot Virtuality. After tons of releases, The Chemical Brothers toured the United States, where they would meet The Dust Brothers, who asked them to remix “Elektrobank.”
Success followed The Chemical Brothers since the early 1990s, having them regarded among pioneers of the big beat genre alongside Fatboy Slim, The Prodigy, and The Crystal Method. The duo has received many award nominations, bagging quite a significant number of accolades from these nominations. Since the release of Exit Planet Dust (1995), The Chemical Brothers have released eight other studio albums and a few EPs. Here are the ten best songs of all time from The Chemical Brothers.
#10 – Eve of Destruction
Ushering us to the ten best songs from The Chemical Brothers is the hit “Eve of Destruction.” The song is featured on the duo’s latest album, No Geography (2019). “Eve of Destruction” is an awe-inspiring soul thriller that blends the vibe of the rave glory days with the futuristic electronic music sound. Tom Rowlands reveals that the song is a future funk odyssey that alludes to the angst of the present times in which a character by the name ‘Eve’ is the purveyor of destruction.
“Eve of Destruction” is an original composition by The Chemical Brothers, Akane Kato, James Calloway, and Leroy Jackson. Some have confused this song with the famous Barry McGuire protest ballad going under the same title. Norwegian singer Aurora featured on the vocals, with Japanese rapper Nene dropping a brief verse in this song. Both singers are dressed as sci-fi fantasy superheroines in the song’s video.
#9 – Let Forever Be
“Let Forever Be” is a perfectly arranged and delivered song from The Chemical Brothers’ third studio album, Surrender (1999). The song was written by Noel Gallagher of the band Oasis, having him also deliver his crisp vocals for the hit. Credit to music video director Michel Gondry for the magnificent work on the song’s video. “Let Forever Be” peaked at number nine on the UK Singles Chart.
#8 – Block Rockin’ Beats
The Chemical Brothers released the song “Block Rockin’ Beats” on their sophomore album Dig Your Own Hole (1997). “Block Rockin’ Beats” is a truly unique big beat ballad thanks to the tons of elements the duo got to feature without putting the song’s quality at jeopardy. It is amazing how the duo makes a siren from a police pursuit blend in so well with other tunes. Without a doubt, the song lives up to one of its greatest lyric “Back with another one of those block rockin’ beats.”
Thanks to its cool grooves and magnificent riffs, the song became a favorite for many, having it top the UK Singles Chart. “Block Rockin’ Beats” received a Grammy Award for the Best Rock Instrumental Performance in 1998. The song samples the hit “Gucci Again” by Schoolly D, featured on his album Am I Black Enough for You? (1989).
#7 – Get to Keep On
“Get to Keep On” finds The Chemical Brothers urging us to persevere. The song takes on the concept of persistence, hence maintaining the theme of the human apocalypse in the album No Geography (2019). “Get to Keep On” sampled the 1977 disco-funk hit “Dance with Me” by Peter Brown. The song won the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. No Geography (2019) also won a Grammy for the Best Electronic/Dance Album.
#6 – The Salmon Dance
Number six on our top 10 songs from The Chemical Brothers is “The Salmon Dance.” The Chemical Brothers and Fatlip penned the song for the duo’s sixth studio album, We Are the Night (2007). “The Salmon Dance” features the vocals of the hip hop artist, Fatlip, who started his career in the hip hop group The Pharcyde. The song peaked at number twenty-seven on the UK Singles Chart while its video was nominated for an MTV Europe Music Award in 2007.
#5- Do It Again
“Do It Again” is one of the best releases by The Chemical Brothers from the album We Are the Night (2007). The Chemical Brothers uses the song’s bridge to deliver one of their most thoughtful lyrics. “Do It Again” has its bridge describe how it remains easy to visualize the similarity of the human thought process and its mild absurdity whenever we step away from the typical conscious state.
The song features Ali Love of the house music act Hot Natured and the duo Infinity Ink. “Do It Again” was nominated for the Best Dance Recording Award at the 50th Grammy Awards ceremony. However, the song lost the award to “Lovestoned/I Think That She Knows” by Justin Timberlake.
After touring the world and enjoying tons of accolades, The Chemical Brothers recorded and released the album Born in the Echoes (2015). The album featured the song “Go,” which perfectly blends the electronic dance music vibes and retro instrumentation. “Go” is delivered in a human locomotive-themed music video directed by Michel Gondry, who has helmed music videos for other reputable artists such as Björk. The Chemical Brothers featured former rapper of A Tribe Called Quest, Q-Tip, on the vocals. “Go” peaked at number forty-six on the UK Singles Chart, having it nominated for the Best Dance Recording Grammy Award in 2016.
#3 – Wide Open ft. Beck
“Wild Open” is a tuneful hit from the duo’s album Born in the Echoes (2015). The Chemical Brothers teamed up with the multiple Grammy Award-winning singer, Beck in this release. “Wild Open” features a dancer performing in a warehouse with her body undergoing phases of mystical transformation. The Chemical Brothers’ long-term visual collaborators, Dom and Nic, were the force behind the visually appealing music video.
#2- Hey Boy Hey Girl
“Hey Boy Hey Girl” is one of the duo’s awe-inspiring ballads from the third studio album, Surrender (1999). The song has its vocals and drums highly inspired by “The Roof Is On Fire” by Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three. “Hey Boy Hey Girl” is an outright dance stomper that has been remade by several electronic music enthusiasts like David Guetta.
Number one on our top 10 songs from The Chemical Brothers list is “Galvanize.” The song was released on The Chemical Brothers’ album Push the Button (2005). Q-Tip made an appearance on the song with his vocals. “Galvanize” features a string sample from “Just Tell Me The Truth” by Najat Aatabou, a Moroccan pop artist. The song peaked at number three on the UK Singles Chart and won the Grammy Award for the Best Dance Recording in 2006. “Galvanize” helped the album Push the Button (2005) bring home a Grammy for the Best Electronic/Dance Album for the big beat duo.
Top 10 Chemical Brothers Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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