Our top 10 Jamiroquai songs list digs deep into the music of a British outfit famed for epitomizing the acid jazz music genre. Since its formation in 1992, Jamiroquai has maintained its impact on the acid jazz scene, adding enthralling disco and funk grooves to its signature sound. Together with The Brand New Heavies, Us3, and Incognito, Jamiroquai played a central role in the flourishing of the European acid jazz scene. Thanks to the charismatic leadership and musicianship of the band’s lead vocalist Jay Kay that the band managed to become a global powerhouse of acid jazz music.
Jamiroquai’s Career Beginnings and Breakthrough
Jay Kay remains the key figure in the formation of the band Jamiroquai back in the early ‘90s. The singer went on to bag a recording contract with Acid Jazz Records after he sent a demo tape featuring his cover of a song by The Brand New Heavies to the label. Jay gathered up other instrumentalists to form the band Jamiroquai. However, the band’s big break came after the release of its debut single “When You Gonna Learn,” through Acid Jazz Records. The song guided the band to signing a recording contract with Sony Soho Square, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment.
Jamiroquai went on to release its debut album, Emergency on Planet Earth, in June 1993. The album featured the band’s debut single “When You Gonna Learn,” and other musical gems including “Too Young to Die,” “Blow Your Mind,” and “Emergency on Planet Earth.” The album catapulted the band to mainstream and commercial success, topping the UK Albums Chart and receiving Platinum certification in the UK, Japan, and France. Us3’s debut album, Hand on the Torch, issued in November of the same year rivaled Jamiroquai’s success, especially in the US.
Hand on the Torch, managed to rise to the Billboard 200 (peaked at number thirty-one), a feat Jamiroquai had not yet attained. The album is to Us3’s signature hit “Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia),” a song that samples Herbie Hancock’s 1964 song “Cantaloupe Island.” However, Emergency on Planet Earth was just the start for Jamiroquai with the band’s later releases crowning them the princes of acid funk in the UK.
Jamiroquai’s Album Releases over the Years
After the success of its debut album, Jamiroquai returned with its sophomore studio album, The Return of Space Cowboy, in 1994. The Return of Space Cowboy was also critically acclaimed, rising to the second spot on the UK Albums Chart. Jamiroquai saw the album receive Platinum certification in the UK, Japan, and France, proving to have been of almost similar impact to Emergency on Planet Earth. “Space Cowboy,” Stillness in Time,” “Half the Man,” and “Light Years” are some of the best Jamiroquai songs from The Return of Space Cowboy.
Cometh the hour, cometh the band’s most successful and defining studio album, Travelling Without Moving. Released in 1996, Travelling Without Moving is by far the most critically acclaimed acid jazz album of all time. The album holds a Guinness World Record for the best-selling funk/acid-jazz record of all time, selling over eight million copies. Travelling Without Moving was Jamiroquai’s first album to make it to the Billboard 200, peaking at number twenty-four.
Amazingly, the album earned Jamiroquai a Platinum certification in the US, selling about a million and a half copies. Traveling Without Moving was also Platinum-certified (once or severally) in the UK, Switzerland, Japan, Italy, France, Canada, Australia, Argentina, and Belgium. The album is home to Jamiroquai’s signature hit “Virtual Insanity,” “High Times,” “Cosmic Girl,” and “Alright.” Traveling Without Moving went on to be nominated for Grammy Award in the Best Pop Album category in 1998. However, Travelling Without Moving lost to Hourglass by James Taylor. Other albums that were nominated for the award include This Fire by Paula Cole, The Dance by Fleetwood Mac, and Surfacing by Sarah McLachlan.
In 1999, Jamiroquai issued its fourth studio album, Synkronized. Synkronized was a fairly successful release, topping the UK, German, and European Albums Chart. The album also made it to the Billboard 200, peaking at number twenty-eight. Despite its mainstream and commercial success, Synkronized failed to live up to the feats achieved by the band’s third studio album, Travelling Without Moving. “Deeper Underground,” “Supersonic,” “Canned Heat,” and “King for a Day” are the most popular songs by Jamiroquai from the album, Synkronized.
A Funk Odyssey, issued in 2001, marked the band’s fifth studio album. Unlike previous albums by Jamiroquai, A Funk Odyssey finds the band exploring nu-disco music with traces of its acid-jazz/funk sounds. The sonic experimentation by Jamiroquai was a success, with the album topping the UK, Swiss, Italian, French, and Australian Albums Charts. A Funk Odyssey also managed to rise to number forty-four on the Billboard 200. “Little L,” “You Give Me Something,” “Love Foolosophy,” and “Corner of the Earth” are some of the best Jamiroquai songs from this two-time BPI Platinum-certified album.
Jamiroquai explored an amalgam of acid jazz, post-disco, soft rock, and nu-funk sounds with its 2005 sixth studio album, Dynamite. The album was fairly successful in the mainstream, peaking at number three on the UK Albums Chart, and at number one hundred and forty-five on the Billboard 200. Dynamite is home to popular songs by Jamiroquai including “Feels Just Like It Should,” “(Don’t) Give Hate a Chance,” and “Seven Days in Sunny June.”
Rock Dust Light Star, issued in 2010, marked Jamiroquai’s seventh studio album. With this album, Jamiroquai sought a blend of funk, rock, and soul sonic influences. Despite missing entry to the Billboard 200, Rock Dust Light Star managed to rise to the seventh spot on the UK Albums Chart. “White Knuckle Ride,” “Blue Skies,” “Smile,” and “Lifeline” are some of the best Jamiroquai songs from the album.
Automaton, issued in 2017, is the band’s eighth and most recent album release. The album saw Jamiroquai make a return to the Billboard 200, peaking at number ninety-four. Automaton was a success in the UK where it managed to rise to the fourth spot on the Albums Chart. This BPI Silver-certified record is home to musical gems including “Cloud 9,” “Automaton,” and “Superfresh.”
Jamiroquai’s Accolades and Legacy
Bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden almost put acid jazz to its deathbed thanks to the immense mainstream appeal and commercial success of the alternative rock scene. However, unlike outfits like Young Disciples, Guru, and The Brand New Heavies, Jamiroquai was able to survive the blow served to the acid jazz genre by alternative rock. The band rose to become the epitome of acid jazz music, especially with its massively acclaimed 1996 third studio album, Travelling Without Moving. Jamiroquai has won eighteen awards out of forty-one nominations, including a Grammy Award for the Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals in 1998, thanks to “Virtual Insanity.” Here we present the ten best Jamiroquai songs of all time.
# 10 – Cloud 9
Ushering us to the top 10 Jamiroquai songs list is the impressive record “Cloud 9.” Written by Matt Johnson and Jay kay, “Cloud 9” is the best cut from Jamiroquai’s most recent album, Automaton. The song brings out the band’s best amalgam of funk and nu-disco sonic influences. “Cloud 9” finds singer Jay Kay crooning about his thrill after getting his feet out of a toxic relationship.
The song features a superb bassline that’s a big plus to its groove! You ought to love the futuristic yet funk-driven sonic impression in this arresting hit. “Cloud 9” was fairly successful on the charts, peaking at number forty-six on the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs Chart.
# 9 – Seven Days in Sunny June
After experimentation with nu-disco sounds on its fifth studio album, A Funk Odyssey, Jamiroquai returned to its signature acid jazz sounds on the album, Dynamite. “Seven Days in Sunny June” is the most evocative hit of the band’s acid jazz sound of all songs on Dynamite. The song starts with some alluring acoustic guitar tunes, progressing quickly to the band’s usual funky/acid jazz sounds.
“Seven Days in Sunny June” sounds like a perfect kick-off tune into summer! Special credits to the song’s basslines and soul-influenced piano melodies. The song made it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number fourteen.
# 8 – Deeper Underground
Coming in at the eighth spot on our ten best Jamiroquai songs is the anthemic hit “Deeper Underground.” The song was issued by Jamiroquai for the soundtrack of the 1998 monster film Godzilla. “Deeper Underground” would later be featured on the band’s fourth studio album, Synkronized. The song’s main catch is its haunting beat and the energy expressed in Jay Kay’s singing and dancing on top of theatre seats.
“Deeper Underground” is the only song by Jamiroquai to have made it to the top of the UK Singles Chart. This track made it to the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart, peaking at number twenty-two. “Deeper Underground” was a commercial success, earning a Silver certification in the UK. The song has been covered by Ten Masked Men, a British death metal cover outfit.
# 7 – Space Cowboy
“Space Cowboy” is among the timeless hits by the English acid jazz/funk legends Jamiroquai. The song serves as the lead single of the band’s sophomore studio album, The Return of the Space Cowboy. “Space Cowboy” was penned by the band’s frontman, Jay Kay, who revealed it to be an analogy of getting high as a result of drugs.
The song marked Jamiroquai’s first number one hit on the Billboard Dance Club Singles Chart. “Space Cowboy” also made it to the UK Singles Chart, peaking at number seventeen. This funk song was a commercial success in the UK where it was Silver-certified. “Space Cowboy” was covered in 2006 by Eve St. Jones.
# 6 – Too Young to Die
Number six on our top 10 Jamiroquai songs list is the stunning hit “Too Young to Die.” While “When You Gonna Learn” might have been a more popular pick from the band’s debut album, Emergency on Planet Earth, we choose this anti-war song that was a definite hit. “Too Young to Die” unbridles the signature soul jazz and funky sonic potential of Jamiroquai.
The song has its lyrics allude to the dread of hostilities and demise as a result of political plots. “Too Young to Die” went on to top the UK Dance Chart, rising to the tenth spot on the UK Singles Chart. We can’t seem to move on from Jay Kay’s Stevie Wonder-like vocals on this hit!
# 5 – Alright
Travelling Without Moving was the epitome of Jamiroquai’s rise as an unrivaled acid jazz icon. Thanks to songs like “Alright” the band rose to the status maintaining its consistency in the acid jazz/funk scene to date. “Alright” is among the few songs by Jamiroquai that pay tribute to work by other artists. The song samples the 1975 hit “It’s All Right Now” by Eddie Harris and the 1977 song “Could Heaven Ever Be Like This” by Idris Muhammad.
While “Alright” is a full-fledged jazz-funk ballad, it finds a way to incorporate some R&B sonic influences. This bass-driven ballad stands out thanks to its luscious retro funky grooves! “Alright” managed to enter the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number seventy-eight. The song also topped the UK Club Chart and UK Hip Hop/R&B Chart, rising to the ninth spot on the UK Singles Chart.
# 4 – Canned Heat
“Canned Heat” is arguably the best Jamiroquai song from the band’s fourth LP, Synkronized. This idiosyncratic funk ballad is among the few songs that made the cut to be featured in the 2004 comedy film, Napoleon Dynamite, a dance gem in the cinematic scene. Its extremely funky instrumental made it a perfect choice for a dance routine in the film! “Canned Heat” cruised all the way to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart, peaking at number four on the UK Singles Chart. The song won the Best International Song accolade at the 1999 Žebřík Music Awards ceremony. Its music video was directed by Jonas Åkerlund, who has also successfully worked with Madonna, Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, and Robbie Williams.
# 3 – Cosmic Girl
The third pick on our ten best Jamiroquai songs list is the outstanding hit “Cosmic Girl.” “Cosmic Girl” was the second single from the band’s most acclaimed album, Travelling Without Moving. Jay Kay collaborated with Derick McKenzie in penning the lyrics to this musical gem. This disco-influenced hit features some soul-styled harmonies evocative of Earth, Wind and Fire.
“Cosmic Girl” boogied to the top of the UK Club Songs Chart, rising to number six on the UK Singles Chart. The song is among the most commercially successful hits by Jamiroquai in the UK, where it achieved Gold certification.
# 2 – Little L
“Little L” is a musical gem penned by Jamiroquai’s frontman Jay kay and Toby Smith. The song is among the top hits from the band’s fifth outing, A Funk Odyssey. “Little L” had its lyrics inspired by Jay Kay’s breakup with his fiancée Denise van Outen. The two were rumored to have parted ways following infidelity claims from both ends. However, Jay was quick to defend their reputation claiming that the breakup was harmonious.
“Little L” is a day in the life of Jay Kay in a relationship with Denise. The song rose to number five on the UK Singles Chart, earning a Silver certification by BPI. “Little L” entered the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart, peaking at the second spot.
#1- Virtual Insanity
Number one on our top 10 Jamiroquai songs list is the striking hit “Virtual Insanity.” The song was written by Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay and his long-time songwriting collaborator Toby Smith. “Virtual Insanity” stands out from every song on the band’s most acclaimed album, Travelling Without Moving. The song’s lyrics serve as a warning against treacherous technology and its impact on the human race.
“Virtual Insanity” interpolated the disco song “Somebody Else’s Guy” by the R&B/dance artist Jocelyn Brown. The song guided the band to its first and only Grammy Awards in the 1998 ceremony, winning in the Best Pop Vocal Performance by Duo or Group category. Other songs that had been nominated for the award include “Silver Springs” by Fleetwood Mac, “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt, “MMMBop” by Hanson, and “Anybody Seen My Baby?” by The Rolling Stones. This BPI Platinum-certified hit topped the UK Hip Hop/R&B Chart, rising to the third spot on the UK Singles Chart. The song is Jamiroquai’s highest charting hit on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number thirty-nine.
Top 10 Jamiroquai Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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