Fragma – Toca

Somewhere, lost way back in about the year 2000, lies a world of happy, meaningless – but melodic – Euro dance. One of the best examples of the field was Fragma, who appeared that year with the instrumental Toca Me. Coupled later with Coco‘s hit I Need a Miracle to become Toca’s Miracle, it became an enormous hit, and that’s pretty much the entirety of the story.

On the album Toca, the two versions of their biggest hit are the bookends, with Toca’s Miracle the opener. Fifteen years on, it’s a little harder to remember why it was so good – it’s catchy and memorable, but it does sound just a little bit dated now.

The second track is the catchy but somewhat vacuous Everytime You Need Me. It would sound great in a club, although it would probably be a bit pedestrian for modern audiences. Maria Rubia‘s vocal is strong though, and it’s difficult not to enjoy, and certainly at the time it was a worthy second single.

By the time Reach Out starts, you should have a good idea of what this album is trying to be. This is probably the weakest song on here, in lyrical and melodic terms, but it’s got pretty much the same rhythm and backing track as everything else, so it’s really difficult to fault.

You are Alive comes next, which was the third single, and nearly did as well as the other two, peaking at number 4 in the UK, and again, it’s a good song. It’s difficult to imagine it working particularly without the enormous Euro backing track though. An acoustic version would not be advisable.

The rest of the album might as well be padding – the three (or four) megahits for which Fragma would become known for the next decade or so have largely passed, and all you need now is for people to buy the album, and everybody’s happy. But they did continue, fleshing this album out with another six tracks, and even managing to come up with another one the following year.

Move On is pleasant, catchy, and entirely forgettable. Do You Really Want to Feel It? is a little darker, and stands up better as well. Again, though, with the title being pretty much the only lyric, an acoustic recording may not work entirely well.

Then comes Magic, followed by Everybody Knows and Take My Hand. All very nice fifteen years ago, but times change, and so do tastes. The main album closes, unremarkably, with Outlast, and then the baton is passed back to Toca Me, which at least is still a nice piece of turn-of-the-millennium Balearic trance. Or something.

I don’t mind admitting that I’m a little disappointed – I remember quite liking Fragma at the time, and vaguely thinking this album was pretty good. Has it aged badly, or have my tastes changed for the better or worse? That’s not for me to judge, but I don’t think I’ll be listening again for a while.

Your best bet might just be to track down the one or two tracks you remember, but if you desperately need the full album, it’s still available here.

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