"Black Coffee " (Single, 2000)
Yes, that is the All Saints you're thinking of, not some obscure American alt-rock outfit. The reason you're reading this on this website is the same reason that, one day, I'll get around to putting up a review of Madonna's Ray of Light album. I've never given a shit about fashion and what is or is not supposed to be cool or embarassing. If I like a song not only will I simply say so, I'll pop out a buy a copy. There's no need to regin in one's quality treshold, disregard principles or any such nonsense. A good song is a good song, and quality is discernable irrespective of the artist involved. This was confirmed yet again when I heard this single for the first time when it was released back in 2000.
What I didn't know when I heard it, was that it was produced by William Orbit, and in the single mix that, especially once aware of the knowledge, is readily apparent. (The Orbit connection of course explains everything and reaffirmed my ability to spot a great work without my conviction being swayed by the credibility of the artist attached.) This is attention-grabbing stuff right from the opening squelchy analogue synths. It's a mere 35 seconds before we are launched into the chorus. And that's fine by me as it is one of the finest sing-along pop song chorus you're ever likely to hear. The unhurried notes hanging and echoing at the end of passages link directly to Orbit's work on the fantastic Frozen single from the aforementioned Madonna album.
In true major label rip off style, there is only the one song on this three track single. The original single mix stands in all its glory as undiminished by time as the pyramids. The two other remixes are instantly forgettable and (upon relistening for this review) actually quite repellant. So although my All Saints collection is never likely to extend beyond this one single, depsite their recent attempts at a come back, I'll never need to hang my head in shame or apologise for owning this cracking song. It's almost certainly the only time you're likely to read a review of RnB on this site - even if it is Electronica RnB. 7/10
Rob Dyer (August, 2007)