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LABEL: Sheffield Tunes RELEASE DATE: January 19, 2007 GENRE: Hard Trance; Rap
// review by Jeff

Behind the cow? Better pack a shovel.

Former Scooter member Jay Frog left Scooter in 2006 to pursue other projects, leaving a spot open for a new third member. In walked Michael Simon of the old happy hardcore duo Shahin & Simon to offer his wisdom as a DJ of many styles. And, once you have your new third member in place, what do you do? You recommence the production process and start fresh! So, where do you go next? Do you try and cover the same old ground or do you experiment with something brand new? This is the dilemma held by "Behind The Cow", the group's first outing with their most recent line-up: they're not quite sure just yet.

The beginning of the Radio Edit sounds epic and promising: frontman H.P. Baxxter advising us of how they continue to "conquer the floor" even 13 years after they began, followed by an attack from a melody made famous by The KLF, a British duo known for figuratively giving the middle finger to the commercial world and literally burning a heck of a lot of money. H.P. has some weird raps this time around; "zippity-zippity-doo-dah, zippity-doo-dah-hey" isn't exactly common on the streets (maybe the streets of Disneyland). The chorus of the song actually is taken from "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Öyster Cult, albeit with more piano and dance beats, though the electric guitar is still present as well. However, it lacks the pull factor so many of Scooter's previous singles -- and songs in general -- have. And then the bridge comes and takes everyone for a loop. Who expected a cameo by American rap artist Fatman Scoop? This is just getting surreal, even for Scooter. But he pops up, repeats only a few lines, before hightailing it outta there. And for good reason, too; his appearance is bizarre. In the end, the entire song comes off as kind of a clashing of ideas, with no one being particularly good enough to "make" the song. As expected, the appended Extended Mix just makes this weird brew last even longer.

But alas, we're not through yet! There are remixes afoot! The Spencer & Hill Bigroom Mix looks to turn this unusual song into a dedicated funky house track, focusing only on the "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" refrain, along with some filtered H.P. vocals and the "Moo-oh-oo-oh" high-pitched vocal sample featured in the original. I'm actually happy with this mix; by keeping it simple and sticking with one part of the original track, they can home in on how to improve it, which they did. It's dancefloor-worthy and will move more than a few fannies. For some reason, however, this simply wasn't enough, so the Spencer & Hill Dub Radio Edit also makes an appearance. And it's different, I'll tell you that. Remixers Spencer & Hill keep with the Blue Öyster Cult motif, but instead of using any of H.P.'s lyrics, they just make use of Fatman Scoop's gravelly voice in the wildest way they can, courtesy of another house thumper. The instrumental part isn't as inviting as the Bigroom Mix, but Fatman Scoop's otherwise dull vocals seem to lure me in this new audio environment. The single concludes with Taj Mahal, a typical relaxing track which could easily be inserted into a yoga DVD as background listening for meditation. Why is it called Taj Mahal? Must be because the cow is sacred in India, which seems appropriate for a cow-themed single...

"Behind The Cow" is strange. It really is. It's also not the greatest Scooter single I've ever heard by a longshot, though it's not the worst either. Too many ideas, not enough space to organize them all. The title track could have easily been divided into two separate songs, but instead, we just get a smorgasbord of sounds. "Behind The Cow" is, in the end, a curiosity but not quite the definitive new track fans were hoping for to ring in the self-proclaimed "fourth chapter" their career as a band.


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