Girls On Top – Being Scrubbed / I Wanna Dance With Numbers
Produced by Richard X
7″ Single Original White and 2nd Edition Red pressings
“The worst record I have heard but in the best sleeve” Wolfgang Flur 2001
REVIEW: NME SINGLE OF THE WEEK – Girls On Top : Being Scrubbed
After V/Vm and their vicious assault on the sacred cows of nostalgia-pop, along comes avant-terrorist Rich X in his Girls On Top guise, to further disrupt the fabric of sonic spacetime. The concept here is so artfully executed that it’s enough to rewire your synapses: ‘Being Scrubbed’ locks together The Human League’s ‘Being Boiled’ with TLC’s vocal from ‘No Scrubs’, a fit so perfect that you’re suddenly shifted into an entirely alternate universe where the R&B classic is no longer an insouciant funky strut through hyper-beats but a menacingly apocalyptic goth-pop mantra.
This is nothing, however, compared to the B-side, the real reason that this is Single Of The Week. ‘I Wanna Dance With Numbers’ overlays Whitney Houston’s diva croon from ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ onto Kraftwerk’s ‘Numbers’, and the result, far from being the genre-clash mismatch you might expect, is astonishingly moving. Whitney’s vocal floats over the proto-electro beats and looped synth pulses, creating a kind of euphoric techno-soul hybrid. That such a simple idea could produce something so profoundly affecting, and from something so gut-wrenchingly banal as an ’80s Whitney Houston performance, suggests that Rich X is some kind of decks Duchamp. It’s a juxtaposition of the mundane and the sublime, creating a third aesthetic that transcends both original sources and allows you to see the world in a new way. Quite a feat for an unassuming act of turntable trickery.
The icing on the culture-jamming cake is the 45’s sleeve, which parodies the cover to Kraftwerk’s ‘The Man Machine’, only with the unsmiling faces of Germany’s finest faux-robots replaced with Whitney’s cheesy-grin visage. Messing with heads that’s Girls On Top all over.
Christian Ward NME