Following the wake of their previous single, "The Question Is What Is The Question", and its immense European chart success in comparison to the single releases preceding it, Scooter felt that they were on to a hip new trend with the new jumpstyle sound they had adopted from popularity from Belgium and the Netherlands. So back they came a few months later with not only a new single, "And No Matches", but also a new album, "Jumping All Over The World" which seems to break Scooter's usual attitude of diversity when constructing a studio album. in favour of a completely jumpstyle approach. This may or may not appease fans... Regardless, "And No Matches" was recently released and is the primary focus here.
I could very well declare that this single is the spiritual descendant of "The Question Is What Is The Question", expanding and/or repeating the formula for presumed success. Adapting the typical Scooteresque high-pitched vocal chorus style to the 1998 song "Big Big World" by Emilia (Have you heard of this? No? I know I hadn't.) but speeding it up and changing the lyrics to improve energetic flow and overall jumpability. Then we can throw in a bass-infused hard thumping pair of verses, and a bridge where the master of ceremonies H.P. Baxxter gives "insightful" commentary of an actually trippy and funky-sounding chopped chipmunk vocal. And there you have it: the general Scooter formula strikes again. This is how they prepare most of their singles noawadays, but it isn't unexpected. But the big question is this: is the song catchy? (That's usually how musical success is calculated, right?) To be honest, it very much is. I had the chorus stuck in my head for quite some time; don't you hate when that happens? The chorus is dance-worthy, although admittedly I first thought it was childish but it grew on me rapidly like strange vines. The sound overall, especially during the verses where there is a more melodic undertone, is more aurally refined in production quality and richness of content in comparison to the previous release.
This single consists of the typical Radio Edit, which I basically described above. The accompanying Extended Version is just that: a longer version more suited for disc jockey use only. For the average listener, however, this is not required; a remix would have been better appreciated and would also have displayed more effort. But I can't always expect remixes, can I? The Fresh Off The Plane Clubmix is a different affair altogether, utilizing only the instrumental aspects of the verses and focusing mainly on the C-part -- the vocals are omitted, for those who don't enjoy "that damn chipmunk voice". There's something here for the whole family!
We are also treated to a B-Side, as per usual. Unfortunatly, it is much less pleasant than the main attraction of the single. Serving more as a grim reminder that Scooter is taking this jumpstyle/hardstyle fad too far than as an entertaining experience, Up In Smoke is among the blander set of Scooter tracks. It sounds hastily prepared (kind of like the B-Side of the previous single... oh dear) and the melody and oftentimes monotone jumping bassline (that feels as though it was ripped right from a mediocre UK hard house tune) have little flair to boast about. Indeed, any attempt at amusement has gone "up in smoke".
On the physical version of the single, you also get the music video of "And No Matches". Once again, as in the last video, you get a whole bunch of people jumpstyling -- now calling themselves "Scooter Jump" for some reason -- but this time, it's in a darker studio setting with giant inflatable megaphones nearby but still with the yearning to boogie. And once again, the other two members of the group, Rick and Michael, are underexposed. The video is certainly fun to watch, but likely won't be winning any awards for cinematic excellence.
As a little bit of an off-course discussion, I'd just like to take a little time to discuss a bit of the single's content. "And No Matches", the title itself, relates to the question posed by vocalist H.P. Baxxter at the end of the previous single: "Can I have a light please?" Also, he had shouted, "Please refrain from not smoking!" In "And No Matches", he poses a riddle: "Three men in a boat with four cigarettes and no matches... how do they manage to smoke?" Obviously, there is a sociocultural underpinning here that glorifies the "cool" image of smokers. Is this good for the younger generation? I realize that it is unwise to take any Scooter lyrics seriously, but perhaps they are sending out a poor message to today's youth that smoking is a good thing. Or maybe I'm just being a pain in the overanalytical ass.
In any case, I realize that I'm sounding a bit overbearing in this review, and for that I apologize. To be honest, even though this is the superior release of the two Scooter jumpstyle singles, it will not perform as well on the charts because it is repeating what was done before. However, "And No Matches" will likely be a success as well, but Scooter should keep their roots in mind -- they really ought to go back to the dance style that made them legends in the first place and not give in to a fad where every song has the same clap sound. Their recently released album, "Jumping All Over The World", does give in to the jumpstyle trend for the most part, but let's hope they don't stay in that position. Nevertheless, "And No Matches" is pretty solid and if you're looking for a tune to jump to, it might as well be this one. Just...don't smoke and jump.