Remembrance Wednesday: The Tamperer ft. Maya – Feel It
There are many songs within the genre of pop that toe the line between excellent and completely terrible and unfortunately many of these eventually fade away and are forgotten by almost everyone. Except me, usually. I become increasingly aware of this when I’ve had a few ales and request one of these songs to a DJ in a club, and he hasn’t got it any more as he had to make room for the 30 new David Guetta tracks that came out in the past year.
Once I’ve got home and sobered up a bit, I find one of these songs I’ve been mourning and finally listen to it again to try and work out if it’s as good as I thought it was last night. This happened recently with ‘Feel It’ by The Tamperer ft. Maya, forgotten Italian three-hit wonders of the 90’s. Yes, three: Material Girl sampling and excellently titled but misleading ‘If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better’, and Gimme Gimme Gimme sampling ‘Hammer To the Heart’ soon followed. I wonder if anyone did any research into the former and investigated the life-enhancing effects? I bet they were minimal.
‘Feel It’ was based on a not very subtle sample of The Jacksons’ ‘Can You Feel It’ and I think that’s where most of the joy lies, all except one very obvious part. The lyrics recount the tale of a woman’s adulterous lover making an amorous misstep but she forgives him, only for the other woman to get a bit clingy. Obviously nobody cares about that part and they’re only interested in the classic line:
“What’s she gonna look like with a chimney on her?”
That line is one of the lyrical beauties of the nineties, lodged into the brains of many people who are unable to recall its origin. Poor Tamperer. My discussions with DJs usually go something like…
“Can you play that song by The Tamperer ft. Maya?”, ‘What’s that?’, “You know, the one about the woman with a chimney stuck on her head?” ‘Oh yeah! I remember. No’. I couldn’t help having a little web search for the line to see if there was some kind of meaning behind it, rather than the writer just looking at a chimney and thinking ‘that would look great on someone’s head’.
I saw that many before me had searched for the term and there were a few explanations. There was the one that I had accepted to be the original meaning, that ‘chimney’ was slang for a black eye. I’d never heard that term, certainly no one uses it where I’m from. Maybe it is like when someone looks through a comedy telescope on TV and gets a black circle around their eye, but with a chimney and a sooty circle instead? Whatever the case, this explanation made sense with the preceding line:
“I think she crossed the line / and I’m ready for the ride / I’m ready if it’s fighting time”
This disturbed me somewhat, especially as the woman, presumably ‘Maya’, in the video looks like she wouldn’t hesitate to smack someone”. However, then in some dark corner of the internet I came across this interview and an accompanying video which claim that the lyrics AND vocals were stolen from an underground dance song called ‘Drop A House’ by Urban Discharge (nice), which came out several years earlier.
Wikipedia says nothing about this sampling, only noting the Jacksons sample, but the interview makes for fairly interesting reading. I don’t want to get involved in the legal side of things (neither does The Tamperer, apparently), but the line “Wanna drop a house on that b****” does give a plausible origin of the chimney that could find itself upon a woman’s person.
Whatever the real origin and meaning of the lyrics, I’ll try to forget all that and just imagine that she is trying to put her fellow off the other woman by making him imagine how silly she would look embellished with rooftop paraphernalia. I’ll just enjoy the song for what it is, a piece of nineties nonsense, best enjoyed drunk. I don’t think pop music should condone violence and I certainly prefer my pop stars to look like this.