Why is Jamiroquai’s Emergency on Planet Earth on my best 1,000 albums ever list?
When you gonna learn?
What does Jamiroquai’s Emergency on Planet Earth mean to me? What does it make me feel? Why is it exciting or compelling?
When I entered college, the predominant kinds of music that you might hear at a local live music show were funk, alternative rock, or perhaps some hybrid of one of those genres.
From that standpoint, it makes perfect sense that the unique blend of funk, R&B, updated disco, and acid jazz that Jamiroquai brings to bear would become popular among the college-y and hipster youth set of the day (a little more about how Jamiroquai entered my life below).
“Too Young to Die” is the standout song on Emergency on Planet Earth, Jamiroquai’s first album, and a confident salvo that the band was taking its place on the scene. I had to look up how to describe my favorite thing about “Too Young to Die,” which is when lead singer Jay Kay sings without using words… and it turns out that, if the Internet is to be believed, there’s no better term than vocalizing for this. So, yes, “Too Young to Die” thrives on Jay Kay’s vocalizations and a funk meets acid jazz meets dance music-lounge vibe thing.
“When You Gonna Learn?” is the album’s opening track, and it’s a risky and bold statement that what we hear prominently for the first ten seconds or so is the didgeridoo (and if you think this is just a gimmick, I invite you to check out Track 10, which goes by the name of “Didgin’ Out”). Quickly though, it pivots to an upbeat combination of stringed instruments and a funky-disco groove that is both smooth as all get out yet exciting at the same time.
“Hooked Up” adds wild horns and one of the grooviest yet avant garde yet awesome organ things I’ve heard in a long time. This is dance music that rivals anything the band has produced since.
Pop culture stuff that’s somehow related to Jamiroquai’s Emergency on Planet Earth
I can see how casual observers of Jamiroquai’s music might think Jay Kay sounds like the legendary Stevie Wonder – and perhaps even be fooled into thinking that Jay Kay is Wonder. And while there are certainly some similarities in terms of sound and style, I think the more you listen to Jamiroquai you see it and Jay Kay as distinct and unique entities and performers.
Personal stuff that’s somehow related to Jamiroquai’s Emergency on Planet Earth
It was my man Adam who turned me onto Jamiroquai. My memory is hazy as to exactly when, but it must have been sometime between the 1993 release of Emergency on Planet Earth and 1996’s Traveling Without Moving. That latter album became important to our group of friends for a period of time, and especially Adam, our friend Nirav, and I when we lived over in England for a spell.
In any event, I vaguely thought of Emergency as Jamiroquai’s “older stuff” even back then, and specifically associated the album with the great song, “Too Young to Die.” I also have a note in my research for this album: “This album reminds me of going out with Adam in NYC in the early ’90s, staying with his fam in SoHo, checking out the Village Voice for shows, etc.”
Some stats & info about Jamiroquai – Emergency on Planet Earth
- What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? British Bands, R&B, Dance Music, Pop Music, Alternative Dance, Acid Jazz, Funk, Neo-Disco
- Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
- All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
- When was Emergency on Planet Earth released?
- My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #775 out of 1,000
Jamiroquai’s Emergency on Planet Earth on Spotify
What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?
Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.
But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.