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Desert Island Thursday • Republica

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but I believe enough in it to shine a light on an album that still gets the heart racing…

Who here remembers that late 90’s “one hit wonder” group, Republica? Come on. Think long and hard. Here’s a hint: the group’s one hit was “Ready to Go”. In the late 90’s, it seemed like no could get away from that song. It’s a shame that this group is even considered a one hit wonder considering that their 1996 album, Republica, is chockfull of dance hits. The album consists of 11 tracks of bad ass 90’s electro pop dance tracks, but it seems like people stopped listening to the album after that initial first track when they should have kept going. No one gave Republica the love they deserved and that’s why after their sophomore failure of an album, they were relegated to a quickly forgotten relic. I say fuck that. For this week’s edition of Desert Island Thursday, it is my goal to resurrect the greatness of the group’s first album. America wasn’t clearly listening to what a gem this album was back in 1996, but I believe enough in it to shine a light on an album that still gets the heart racing courtesy of Republica’s futuristic (late 90’s version of the future, that is) beats.

The song is bottled up aggression that’s been spilled over.

Republica made its US debut on July 30, 1996 and immediately shot to the musical stratosphere on the overblown popularity of “Ready to Go (Original Mix)”. This might need some explaining. The album is listed as having 11 tracks, but you can count one of those tracks out as a throw away. The album starts with “Ready to Go” which is the dance-y version of the “hit”, and it ends with “Ready to Go (Original Mix)”, which is the track that we all remember and love, with its dirty guitar riff that gets us ready to go and do something: dance, start a fire, I don’t know, it just makes us want to do something. The song is bottled up aggression that’s been spilled over. Okay. That’s it. I’ve already spent 320 words on one song. That’s enough.

it couldn’t be considered a bona fide hit until an artist of the Caribbean persuasion had his moment in said song.

Other notable tracks on the album include, “Out of the Darkness”, a song that has the obligatory 90’s staple of a reggae artist doing a looped voice over. Laugh if you want, but that’s how it was back then. If you were doing dance music, it couldn’t be considered a bona fide hit until an artist of the Caribbean persuasion had his moment in said song . Then and only then were you assured that you had a potential hit on your hands.
Get Off” was another track on the album that had this killer techno beat that just made you want move. The words didn’t make all that much sense, but lead singer/ resident hottie, Saffron (birth name: Samantha Sprackling), somehow tried to make the connection between putting the brakes on her wild child kind of life and “getting off” with a bloke. Not a very clever attempt at a double entendre, but point well made; and the music is the song’s saving grace, because if Republica had anything it was the aforementioned hot techno beats and when you take techno and mix it with electric guitar, something that Republica does very well, you’ll get pure magic. Every time.

Republica released their second album, Speed Ballads, in 1998. When that album didn’t chart in the US and could only get up to number 37 on the UK charts, it wasn’t too long before the group fell apart. Republica went on hiatus in 2001. In 2002, the group released Ready to Go: Best of. Republica officially ended their hiatus in 2008, and nowadays, this UK group sticks to their own European shores where they have a strong following. In March of this year they released Live At The Astoria on an independent label.

… this American is waiting for Republica to find American success once again with their brand of electro-pop/rock fun stuff.

Proven time and again that there is nothing new under the sun, and that everything gets recycled, this American is waiting for Republica to find American success once again with their brand of electro-pop/rock fun stuff. I’m not holding my breath, of course, but hey, one can dream, can’t they?
If you do not own this fantastic 90’s album and you’re like me where you like a little techno pep in your guitar-tinged music, then why not give Republica another listen. You’ll be surprised that you wrote them off as quickly as you did. Feel free to pick the album up here. Thank me later.

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