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Wiley ft. Emeli Sandé - 'Never Be Your Woman'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:00 UK time, Sunday, 21 February 2010


In these globally conscious times - where wasting precious resources on trivial things would be a shooting offense, if we could only spare the bullets - everyone loves a good recycler. Music is no different, in this regard. You can recycle old sounds, or old guitars, old ideas, old clothes or old poses. You can re-use the swagger of an olden-days singer or the hairstyle of some rock grandad or other. It's all there for the taking.

The trick is to find something which hasn't been recycled so often it loses its original shape and starts to get a bit baggy at the seams, so you end up having to basically remake the whole thing from scratch (Glee people, I am looking at you).

Credit to wiley old Mr Wiley then, for finding a sample of a late '90s hit which itself contains a sample of an old song from the past. This is therefore double recycling. He can basically drive a Hummer into a panda now, and he'll still be ahead of most of us.*

(Here's the video. It's a mini-biopic.)

The sample in question is from White Town's 'Your Woman', a No.1 hit in 1997. It was notable at the time for being an early example of a home studio hit, as it was recorded entirely using a free music software program which was free on the cover of a magazine.

'Your Woman' used a sped-up sample from a song called 'My Woman', as written by Bing Crosby and sung by Al Bowlly in 1932. New song, new title. And now it's happened again. This time, the tinny brass and clarinet refrain has been sped up (still) further, and welded to some...well it's a modern production compared to that of either previous version of the song, but defiantly old school techno/drum & bass by anyone else's standards.

And what better setting to tell a story as old as time itself. Men wandering around, picking up girls, leaving chaos in their wake. Girls pining after the man that got away. Air freshener, wild orchid. We've all been there.

In fact, put this up against Alexandra Burke's 'Bad Boys' and you've got yourself an ethics class debate, set to music. AND some musical history too. Isn't education amazing?

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: February 28th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

* No he can't, and nor should you.


  • Comment number 1.

    A good follow up to 'Take That'. Hope the album is a success.

  • Comment number 2.

    erm, Fraser, i hate to disappoint you, but i dont think he spent hours searching for old songs that would fit with the lyrics and message of his own song in some way. I think, and i may be wrong but i'm about 90% sure that the 90s song has been on at least one advert recently. So we can't give him too much credit. Or am i just being cynical and bitter after my crummy Sunday?

    The song does fit quite well though, its not bad. 3/4 stars. 2 if he did nick it off an advert... ;)

  • Comment number 3.

    Ahhhhhhhh, where to start with this song. Oh I know how about at the fact that this is a sample with someone talking in between the stolen hook from a fantastic 90's tune. I swear Wiley used to be more interesting not only musically but lyrically. It feels as if this song is not entirely his and not just in the sense that he has stolen someone elses song. More like the idea was put in fron of him by someone else and that Wiley is only getting half the say in what is happening here. And the rant dosn't end there. The whole interesting thing about this song was the sexual ambiguity and the idea of looking at a relationship from other angles except your own. It was also sung by a man, adding to this feel of miscommunication through lines such as " I could never be your woman". Without the original meaning this song looses its soul and with that I can only afford to give the song 1.5/5.

  • Comment number 4.

    So where is this gonna chart this Sunday ?
    I seem to be hearing it everywhere .
    Definite top 20 , and a good chance of cracking the top 10.
    Won't outsell Tinie Tempah though !

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm hoping this track will fair better than Take That and crack the top 20, it certainly deserves to. I'm also expecting a top 20 hit for Daisy Dares You and a top 10 hit for Boyzone with Gave It All Away (it's rubbish but with Stephen Gately death surrounding it I'm expecting it to do well).


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