Dee-Lite may be a good candidate for being music’s true “cult of personality”. For a very early 90s dance act based in the US where very little house music was being produced and coming from a background in drag acts there is absolutely no way that Dee-Lite should have had a hit, let alone one that is just this good. Just hearing rough demos was enough for Bootsy Collins to drop everything and fly out to play with them on their album, Maceo Parker played the sax on Groove is in the Heart and A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip wanted in as well and you don’t pull that caliber of talent without having something truly special up your sleeve.
Calling it “Special” may actually be doing Groove a disservice, this song is as close to a perfect pop song as it is possible to get and still be crafted by humans and not some musical deity. I don’t know of anyone who has a bad thing to say about this song and I honestly don’t know what I’d say to one if I encountered someone who did. Everything about this song is so tight and laser-focused yet sounds like it’s loose and carefree, it makes me want to dance and I have an entire wardrobe of left feet to overcome. Every single piece of this song works with every other part to keep your heart grooving and extremities moving and it’s all propped up by one of the truly great bass lines of all time, but hey, that’s Bootsy baby. This, some great arrangement, a cacophony of random noises and some bafflingly charming lyrics delivered by the Lady Miss Kier all blend so seamlessly to create this heady mix of sixties influenced funk with modern sensibilities that truly give Groove a timeless quality. And not “timeless” in a way that makes it seem like a throwback no, I mean that I’m confident that Groove is in the heart could be released tomorrow and still be as popular and big and respected as it was way back in 1990 it’s just that good. This is a quality seldom matched in mainstream music except perhaps for Mark Ronson & Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk that shares many of the qualities I love about this musical masterpiece, but that’s another article.
Sadly Dee-Lite never really followed up on Groove and never had another hit as big and that’s a little sad. It’s easy to look at Groove and wonder why they weren’t the biggest stars of the 90s but alas, the pop gods ordained that it was not to be, but after you debut with the perfect pop song, what else is left to accomplish?
Thanks for reading.
Martin Dixon ( @BunnySuicida )