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Music / Sneaker Pimps

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Sneaker Pimps were a trip-hop/alternative band that originated in England in 1994, initially consisting of Chris Corner (guitars), Kelli Ali (vocals), Liam Howe (synth), David Westlake (drums) and Joe Wilson (bass). They named themselves after an article in Beastie Boys' Grand Royal magazine about a man hired to track down classic sneakers.

They released their first album, Becoming X, in 1996 to mass acclaim. After touring, they decided to change their style and did so, going from a trip-hop band to an alternative band. They released their second album, Splinter, in 1999, only to be met with a wave of They Changed It, Now It Sucks! from people who liked their trip-hop style and preferred Kelli as the singer. Undaunted, they continued onward and released Bloodsport, their final album, in 2003. The band split up after their fourth album was rejected and the members moved on to different careers. In 2016, Chris and Liam reunited to complete said fourth album.

See also IAMX.


  • Kelli Ali (also known as Kelli Dayton), vocals until Splinter
  • Chris Corner (vocals, guitars)
  • Liam Howe (synthesizer)
  • Joe Wilson (bass)
  • David Westlake (drums)


  • Becoming X (1996)
  • Becoming Remixed (1998, remix album of Becoming X)
  • Splinter (1999)
  • Bloodsport (2003)
  • Squaring The Circle (to be released August 2021)

Tropes applying to the Sneaker Pimps include:

  • An Aesop:
    • “Tesko Suicide” has the message that girls don’t need to match the standards magazines set to be beautiful.
    • There’s also "explanation B", which is all about how suicide has become so commercialised, supermarkets may as well sell suicide kits.
  • Anti-Love Song: “Waterbaby”, “Destroying Angel”, “M’aidez”, "Sick"
    • A literal case with “Bloodsport”, which flatly states that sex and love should not be considered games, because games are things you can win, and might actually be fun.
  • Bilingual Bonus: ‘M’aidez’ is French for ‘Help me’.
  • Break Up Song: “Low Place Like Home”, “Half Life”, possibly “Grazes”
  • Concept Video: The video for "Sick" is essentially a testament to how attractive Chris is.
  • Cover Version: "How Do" from Becoming X is a cover of "Willow's Song" from The Wicker Man (1973).
  • Darker and Edgier: Splinter compared to Becoming X.
  • Double Entendre: ‘Give me low five/ ‘cause I can’t help myself’
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: 'I'm pretty raw with it/cute sushi lunches'. Oh, ha ha ha.
  • Intercourse with You: “Roll On”, “The Fuel”
  • It's All About Me: The narrator of "Velvet Divorce", who stirs up drama for her own entertainment.
  • Lighter and Softer: Bloodsport, especially when compared to Splinter.
    • On Splinter, "Ten To Twenty" and "Wife By Two Thousand" serve as examples of this trope, especially compared to tracks like "Curl", "Destroying Angel", "Superbug" and "Flowers and Silence".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Sick". Also "Post-Modern Sleaze", "6 Underground" and "One Method".
  • New Sound Album: Splinter, then Bloodsport- Splinter had a lot of acoustic guitars and much darker songs, while Bloodsport was slightly more upbeat and more electronic.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Waterbaby", which is actually about the only example in their discography.
  • Ode to Intoxication: “Wasted Early Sunday Morning”, possibly "Grazes”
  • Precision F-Strike: ‘Was black, was bruised/fucked up, twenty-two’.
  • Religion Rant Song: "Blue Movie" and "Walking Zero".
  • Rock Trio: The original trio of Chris, Liam and Kelli. Ian Pickering counted as a Sixth Ranger, as they brought him in to help write the lyrics.
  • Sampling: In a few songs.
  • Sanity Slippage Song: “Wife By Two Thousand”, possibly “Curl”
  • The Smart Guy: Chris was studying astrophysics before he formed the band. He's a self-taught musician, and a bloody genius at that.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: “Small Town Witch”. Both Chris and Liam are from small towns, and both have commented that when they returned to their hometowns, they were resented for being successful.
  • Take That!: “Kiro TV”, “Spin Spin Sugar” and “Low Five” are this to consumerism.
  • Trope Maker: They're often cited as one of the groups who helped create trip-hop, though they didn't stay in that genre for long.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Liam, Chris and Kelli, until Splinter.