Before they started wearing dark T-shirts with skulls on them, before H.P. had that weird skull ring, and before the band started glaring with more serious visages into the cameras, Scooter was known for spreading the word of peace and love with their "happy hardcore" music. Back in the mid-1990s, the band was not spouting out rough and tough lyrics, trying to show off the talents of the greatest MC in the nation; they just wanted to toss joy to the chipper raving masses. And what better way than to promote unity than with an upbeat song called "Friends"?
We start out with the full version, which heads pretty much immediately into the fast-paced hardcore beats and that buzzing bassline. Then the chorus busts in and the now legendary high-pitched voice struts its stuff with, "Friends... we'll be friends... we'll be friends... we'll be friends..." Nothing too complex. And remember, back then, H.P. wasn't trying to get too many words in, so aside from a few interjections here and there, it's more or less free of his current phonemic absurdities. Friends is most certainly a catchy classic and shows off just how well they could potentially do if they put their minds to a completely original tune. Meanwhile, the Single Edit cuts out a bit of the fluff and also starts out with more beauty: a breezy piano ditty! How quaint!
The Ramon Zenker Club Remix is similar in tone, still boasting that sunny, uplifting vibe, offering raving organ synths in place and a more standard beat. Oddly enough, the high-pitched vocals have been replaced with that of a woman, though perhaps it's just the HPV slowed down a notch. Not bad overall, but there isn't much variety here. On the other hand, the Jeyenne Remix is a different monster altogether, decreasing the pace significantly with a grittier acid-industrial track that does not closely resemble the original, except for the inclusion of the "Friends" vocals, slowed down significantly as well. This is not how I would have expected anyone to reinterpret the song, but it's actually quite an exuberant dark remix; it actually makes me want to hear more by the original artist, even if the song isn't as friendly as the single's title might infer.
"Friends" is definitely one of those tracks that can revive the sentiments of rave culture in the 1990s and the spirit contained within. A song such as this would probably falter in today's popular musical sphere (the 2011 remake, Friends Turbo, wasn't exactly a surefire hit), but it certainly serves as an effective portal to look back at the roots of Scooter and where they came from. Of course, almost twenty years later, you'd never recognize them now...