On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
So Solid Crew – 21 Seconds (2001)
” 21 Seconds” is a song by UK garage crew So Solid Crew. It was released as the second single from the debut album They Don’t Know , and was the first of five consecutive top-20 hit singles for the group.
We’re leaving the US today, dear reader, and making our way back to the UK and to London. We find ourselves in Battersea and centre on Winstanley Estate and York Road Estate. Formed in 1998, So Solid Crew have had many members and have been credited with laying the foundations for grime music. We join them early on with the release of their debut album – They Don’t Know – and from there 1001 Songs have gone with the track – 21 Seconds.
The story goes that the group were asked to work on a song that was 3½ minutes long. Keen to ensure equal billing for each member the group divided 210 seconds by the numbers of MCs and each member was given 21 seconds to rap their contribution, hence the song’s title. Each contributor either introduces themselves and addresses their need to be quick with the rap, while others big up So Solid Crew for inevitable success. Some members are given chorus duty but the majority are each given a verse.
I have heard of So Solid Crew but was not familiar with any of their songs prior to this challenge. I loved the background to 21 Seconds and the group band together well in dividing up the track for their respective raps. This isn’t really my kind of music but the public disagreed with me, sending the track to the top of the UK charts and it became the first garage song to go to no.1. The group are still active but never really replicated the success of their first album.
Favourite songs so far: