Music / Jamiroquai

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The patron saint of Nice Hat...

Jamiroquai is an English band formed in 1992 with singer Jay Kay as frontman. The original line-up included Jay Kay (vocals), Toby Smith (keyboard), Stuart Zender (bass), Nick Van Gelder (drums), Wallis Buchanan (didgeridoo), and Alec Moran (pipeau), though as of 2011 the only original members left are Jay Kay and Derrick Mc Kenzie (drummer circa 1994). The band was formed after Jay Kay's unsuccessful attempt to become the lead singer of fellow Nineties jazz/soul band The Brand New Heavies. Jamiroquai has released eight studio albums, the latest of which was released in March 31st 2017.

Discography of Albums
  • Emergency on Planet Earth (1993)
  • The Return of Space Cowboy (1994)
  • Travelling Without Moving (1996)
  • Synkronized (1999)
  • A Funk Odyssey (2001)
  • Dynamite (2005)
  • Rock Dust Light Star (2010)
  • Automaton (2017)

Discography of Songs

The band Jamiroquai provides examples of the following:

  • AcCENT Upon the Wrong SylLABle: Automaton. Though, given the lyrics suggest the point of view of an android or other synthetic being, pronouncing it "auto-MAY-ton" is likely a deliberate thematic choice.
  • Album Title Drop / Title Track: Every album in their discography except for Synkronized and A Funk Odyssey have a track in their listing that shares their name.
    • The Return of Space Cowboy comes from the lyrics of Space Cowboy.
  • Animal Motifs: Buffalo Man as seen below.
  • Author Appeal:
    • Apart from the usual funk music themes such as romance, independence and dancing, their music has several quite diverse interests crop up repeatedly.
      • One is concern about scientific progress going too far, environmental concerns and problems on a global scale eg Emergency On Planet Earth, Corner Of The Earth, Virtual Insanity, Too Young to Die, Planet Home, and Automaton.
      • Another is getting high eg High Times, Space Cowboy, Travelling Without Moving, and Dr. Buzz. High Times and Dr. Buzz do show a more serious side to drug usage, with the latter exploring the use of drugs as an escape mechanism, specifically among the American youth.
      • A third is arguably a subset of the scientific side of things, but they also have a lot of references to space. Cosmic Girl, Return Of The Space Cowboy, Mr Moon, Light Years.
    • In video clips, fast cars. Cosmic Girl and Cloud 9 have video clips which could be simply described as "Jay Kay drives cars fast". Which is a little odd considering their stance on the environment. Travelling Without Moving has an intro which is a Lamborghini going up to 5th gear.
  • Break Away Pop Hit: Virtual Insanity in the UK, Canned Heat and Deeper Underground in the United States.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Jay Kay and how.
  • Cool Car: Jay Kay enjoys collecting sport cars.
  • Conveyor Belt Video: For Virtual Insanity.
  • Cult Soundtrack.
  • Funk: Most of the band's singles fall into this category.
  • Greatest Hits: High Times: The Singles, which covers most of their singles up until 2006. However, it omits one of their greatest hits, You Give Me Something, for reasons which have never been made clear.
  • I Am the Band: To a lot of people, Jay Kay is Jamiroquai. To be fair, the band members started disappearing from promotional material as early as the second album (and they make only a 10-second cameo in the "Virtual Insanity" video.) However, the other band members are quite happy to stay in the shadows whilst Jay does all the promotion. In recent years, the band members have been more likely to respond to fans' questions about potential new albums/tours than Jay is.
  • Insistent Terminology: Do NOT call Jamiroquai a pop band in earshot of their diehard fans. They are a funk group thank you very much.
    • Their early work is Acid Jazz. Not pop, not disco, not electronic dance music.
  • Jazz: The other category into which most of the band's singles falls into.
  • Loudness War: To an extent, especially on A Funk Odyssey, where the multitracks were actually delivered clipped and distorted. This is particularly obvious when hearing a track like Main Vein and any of its remixes, where the distorted vocals stand in contrast to the usually well produced backing tracks.
  • Mascot: BuffaloMan is the band's mascot.
  • Melting-Pot Nomenclature: The name of the band was constructed from "jam" as in jam sessions and "iroquai" as in the name of a Native American Iroquois tribe.
  • New Sound Album: Travelling Without Moving introduced pop-dance elements in tracks like "Virtual Insanity" and "Cosmic Girl", which would generally become the sound Jay would pursue and become known for over the next few years. Previously, the band's music had been in a very jazz-funk and jam type style.
  • Nice Hat: And how! Look at this page's image for just one example. Just as the picture quote says, if there's space in the Tropes pantheon for a representative for this category, Jay Kay would arguably be heading the queue.
    • To the point where a common nickname amongst people who don't like him is "the twat in the hat".
    • It was seven years between their latest two albums, Rock Dust Light Star and Automaton. When the video for the latter's Title Track showed up a month or so before the album's release, a new Nice Hat was very much present and correct, built from plastics and incorporating LEDs and moving fins!
  • The '90s: The decade in which Jamiroquai had its biggest success. They were introduced to an American fanbase by riding on the waves of the then Brit-pop phenomenon pushed by bands like the Spice Girls and Oasis.
  • Overcrank / Undercrank: Used in alternating capacities in the video for "You Give Me Something". An entire sunset is undercranked during an instrumental passage, followed by Jay overcranking his way to a car full of women. The technique was used in their earlier video "Stillness in Time".
  • Rearrange the Song: The band did this constantly in live performances, frequently extending songs, and making the songs more jazzy or more hard rocking. For instance, compare the studio version of Use The Force to the one on Live At Montreux.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Several examples:
    • "Music Of The Mind" was written with lyrics, but the band decided to make it a instrumental.
    • "Scam" from "The Return Of The Space Cowboy" is a condensed medley of the tracks "Do That Dance" and "Life Goes On" that had been done live in 1993.
    • "Slippin And Slidin" was rush released before vocals could be added, but they were included when it was performed live.
    • "Love Foolosophy" was based on the jam track "So Good To Feel Real" that was used as a Hidden Track on "A Funk Odyssey".
    • The intro to "Corner Of The Earth" was originally written for the unreleased "A Funk Odyssey" era song "Cannabliss". The band did play "Cannabliss" live in 2002, but had rearranged it into a much rockier song without the intro. This rockier version was later partly reworked into "Radio".
    • "Use The Force" from "Live At Montreux" uses large amounts of the unreleased song "A Funk Odyssey" from that album's sessions. The full "A Funk Odyssey" track had also been played live in 2002.
    • "Feels Just Like It Should" is built around the beatbox Interlude from "A Funk Odyssey"'s test pressing.
  • Regional Bonus: Several:
    • "Emergency On Planet Earth"'s Japanese pressing has the inner sleeve pic as the front cover, which is what was originally intended.
    • Light Years (Live) on the US "Return Of The Space Cowboy".
    • Space Cowboy (Stoned Again Mix) on the Japanese "Return Of The Space Cowboy".
    • "Do You Know Where You're Coming From" and "Funktion" on the initial UK and Australian special editions of Travelling Without Moving. The later pressings just include "Funktion" and have a different back cover. The Australian edition also has a whole bonus disc of remixes.
    • "Deeper Underground" on the UK "Synkronized" and on the Japanese "A Funk Odyssey".
    • "Getinfunky" on the Japanese "Synkronized" and on the Australian bonus disc for the album. This has the distinction of noExportForYou in the band's home country of the UK, although it is merely an early instrumental demo of "Deeper Underground" as opposed to a new track in its own right.
    • "Time Won't Wait" on the UK, US and Japanese pressings of "Dynamite". It was supposed to be on all of them, but was subject to Executive Meddling.
    • "That's Not The Funk" on the Japanese "Rock Dust Light Star".
    • "Nice and Spicy" on the Japanese "Automaton".
  • Shout-Out: The clip to "(Don't) Give Hate a Chance" is a big one to the Italian cartoon La Linea.
    • Travelling Without Moving is possibly a reference to the Dune book series as the interstellar travel method of folding space is described as "travelling without moving".
      • In the same vein, Dynamite could be a reference to Napoleon Dynamite, which featured the band's "Canned Heat" as part of its soundtrack.
    • "Dr. Buzz" namedrops For a Few Dollars More and references Annie Get Your Gun.
  • Urban Legend: A Funk Odyssey's Test Pressing version syncs up perfectly with 2001: A Space Odyssey. The final version of the album doesn't, due to removing interludes, shortening songs, and adding "Love Foolosophy" (a newly written song for a single) in place of "Do It Like We Used To Do", which Sony insisted on. It is highly likely this was intentional, because of the album title and the various homages to the movie featured on it. The album's title, which at that point was 2001: A Funk Odyssey before Sony made them cut it down. The album also includes a song called Twenty Zero One, and one of the interludes on the test pressing was The Blue Danube waltz - taken directly from the soundtrack to 2001, which the band also used as a live interlude too. The band's idea of syncing the album is believed to be a Shout-Out to the similar theory of The Dark Side of the Moon syncing up with The Wizard of Oz.

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