James - Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of "Millionaires" | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, February 22nd, 2024  

James - Reflecting on the 20th Anniversary of “Millionaires”

The Album Was Released on October 11, 1999

Oct 17, 2019 James Bookmark and Share

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since Millionaires dropped, but not hard to believe that the band responsible is still going strong. Never a band to conform to the whims of the time, and always looking to lead a trend rather than follow one, James are always looking to push the envelope and explore new directions regardless of genre, as long as the outcome is great music. 1999’s Millionaires was no exception.

Once again with the help of legendary producer Brian Eno (Ultravox, Devo, David Bowie, Talking Heads, U2) but armed with a new guitarist, Michael Kulas, James didn’t miss a beat as their sound continued to grow by mixing clever lyrics and humming guitar textures over rich, layered melodies underscored by Eno’s luminous production.

Although similar in style and taste with previous efforts while still sounding contemporary, James managed to include a new twist on a familiar model. In fact the first four songs are fabulously James, yet refreshingly unfamiliar. And as with all James’ records they managed to mix in a few tracks with decidedly ambient inclinations and ethereal moods amongst the rockers.

Standout tracks such as “Crash,” “Just Like Fred Astaire,” and “Shooting My Mouth Off” show off their majestic amalgamation of anthemic stadium rock and alternative pop hooks while slow cookers “Hello,” “We’re Going to Miss You,” and “Vervaceous” are more effusive as they flirt with more ambient, experimental sounds.

And then there’s singer, lyricist, and frontman Tim Booth. Always dynamic and enigmatic, while possessing a precious lyrical skill and a unique dancing style, his booming voice elevates the songs to another level as he sings with a heart full of despair and a mind filled with hope.

Over their 33-year career James have overcome a boring and hard to Google name by being unpredictable, daring, and bold and making a distinctive brand of creative rock music with rich textures and shrewd melodies. In 1999, Millionaires was a grand mixture of their past with a pulse on the present and an eye to the future, and that future is now.


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