We were far too excited by the appearance of the new Vengaboys single ‘Hot Hot Hot’ to actually review it when we posted about it last Thursday. Nonetheless, it was always our intention to give the song the more detailed review it deserves, and so having had almost a week to digest our thoughts on the effort and let the glitter settle a little, here are our findings.
Good things about the song
- Original Kim is back! Yay! As we discussed over here, the last song the Vengaboys released was fronted by a different session singer so although Kim was still Kim, she didn’t sound anything like Kim. Confused? You should be! The original session singer is back, or if it’s not her, it’s one who sounds remarkably like her. And we’re just delighted about this.
- Kim sings “me mind on fire, me soul on fire”. As Geri Halliewell and Nicole Scherzinger know only too well, if one wants to sound faux-Jamaican the best, easiest, and most foolproof method is to sing ‘me’ where ‘I’ would usually be used.
- THAT sample. Yes, the song can’t be discussed without reference to the original classic hit ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot’ by The Merrymen. Whichever genius decided that The Vengaboys should sample that song, we take our hat off to your sheer brilliance.
- Prouncing ‘jam’ to rhyme with ‘song’. It sounds like this: Jaaaarrrrm. Again, your faux-Jamaican-ness is both impressing and astounding us, Kim.
- ‘What to do on a night like this? / Music sweet, I can’t resist’ is a pretty fantastic lyric whichever way you look at it.
- ‘Vengas got a brand new sound, burn this mother****** down.’ This replaces the traditional ‘Make some noise, for the Vengaboys’ as was used in classic Vengahits such as ‘Shalala Lala‘ and ‘Kiss (When The Sun Don’t Shine)‘. Whilst we would have welcomed this back with open arms, the new one is a bit more edgy and modern. Well done Vengaboys.
- Donny’s rap. If we’re allowed a slight criticism of past Vengaboys hits, it would be that the ladies got to do all the singing and the men were essentially glorified dancers. The rap in this song, starting at 1:34 on the radio edit, re-addresses this balance.
- Denice “sings”! She never used to really get to sing, what with that greedy Kim hogging the microphone.
- ‘Ole ole ole ole’ maintained from the original ‘Hot Hot Hot’.
The video contains too many amazing things. Merely some of these are:
- The return of Vengavision, a concept first introduced to us with the ill-fated ‘Rocket To Uranus’.
- A claim to be “Europe’s #1 Party Crew”. Who could disagree with that?
- The old Vengaboys logo being resurrected on the mobile phone at 0:22.
- Dubious product placement of the mobile phone. It says a lot about the state of the music industry that not only are the Vengas required to use product placement to fund the video, but that a company actually wants to fund the video.
- The return of the Vengabus!! Seen at 0:48. It, too, is adorned with the original Vengalogo.
- Kim looking through binoculars as though she’s having a bit of a perv (0:47)
- “Binoculars vision” to clarify that Kim isn’t having a bit of a perv… she’s spied the Vengabus!
- Denice is just incredible in this video. She gives it her all and then some more. Does she ever not smile? She winks, she pretends to be shy, she smiles, she winks some more – WE HAVE NEVER KNOWN ANYTHING LIKE IT. No really, we haven’t.
- Denice hitchiking at 0:57.
- Darth-Vader mask wearing bikini clad girl at 1:30
- Bum shaking, carnival feel and traditional Vengachoreography being resurrected. Now THAT’S something we never thought we’d see again. (Kim allegedly used to invent the choreography used by the Vengaboys whilst in the back of the Vengabus. True story.)
- Denice wears a smiley face bag at 2:09. This will please our raver friends.
- The use of multiple dancers, along with close-ups and zooms, so that at times it’s hard to discern whether you’re watching a Venga or an extra. Adding some Vengamystique to the whole shebang.
- Denice inexplicably, willingly, and cheerfully climbing into the back of a car boot (2:32)
- Arm waving (2:34). Is any one dance move/hand gesture more authentically Venga? We doubt it.
- The bright colours used throughout the video. The Vengaboys were undoubtedly banking on a grey and miserable summer in Britain, so that we would be so cheered up by such bright sights that the song would become a hit. Instead, we’re used to the heat, but nonetheless it is a very aesthetically pleasing video.
- Beach. Because what is a Vengaboys video without a beach?
- Kim’s silver ensemble (3:26) with elbow pads like the 80s never happened.
- Gecko at 3:36.
- Freaky ending with someone drowning and Denice possibly being sex trafficked?
Bad things about the song:
- A lack of gentle, soothing guitar strings, as heard in the original ‘Feeling Hot Hot Hot’.
- The EDM sound. What we want from the Vengaboys in 2013 is a song released by the Vengaboys in 2013 that sounds like a song the Vengaboys would have released in 2000 – 2001. What we have, instead, is a 2013 Vengaboys song that sounds like a 2013 Vengaboys song. We think they’re missing a trick here; it’s hard for them to tap into nostalgia sales whilst their new material sounds so different from what made them so massive.
- No Roy or Yorick. The Vengaboys have sadly had many incarnations over the years. The current incarnation matches up Robin, who was an original Vengaboy, with Donny, who only joined the band after they originally called it quits (ie post 2002). Our favourite incarnation would be Roy / Yorick / Denice / Kim, aka ‘The Platinum Album Incarnation’. However, they really should have tried to cajole Roy into rejoining, because if they had done so, a Roy / Robin / Denice / Kim incarnation would have been the original 4, which apart from anything else would have given them a huge marketing boost. Oh well, you can’t have it all in Vengaland.
Verdict: A mega summery pophit for sure. We do enjoy the song but at the same time, because it’s the Vengas, we always expect just a little bit more. Points must be deducted for a significantly different lineup from our favourite, and a failure to release music that sounds like it was made in 2000. Therefore we award the song a rating of 8/10, but also commend it with the honour of the Popfools seal of approval.