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.

Music for the Masses 15 – 29 March 2000

Bay Radio, like any student radio station, suffered a little from bad student taste, and the student union was often pretty much empty at 10.55 in the morning, for reasons which are very obvious indeed. So if anything particularly dreadful turned up on the playlist, I would often try to hide it at 10.55am, before the show started properly.

show15br (2)

Show 15: Wed 29 Mar 2000, from 10.55am-1.05pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 14 tracks). A indicates A-list (7 tracks); B indicates B-list (4 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 8 tracks). L indicates the ones from the “library” (Total 5 tracks).

  • 1. Clinic “The Return of Evil Bill” A
  • [IRN 11.00 News]
  • 2. David Arnold & Nina Persson “Randall & Hopkirk Theme” A
  • 3. Dubstar “Stars” R
  • 4. Death in Vegas “Dirge” A
  • 5. Timo Maas “Der Schieber” A
  • 6. Enigma “Push the Limits” R
  • 7. Travis “Turn” A
  • [Coming Events Feature]
  • 8. Echoboy “Kit & Holly” A
  • 9. Beck “Mixed Bizness” S
  • 10. Planet Perfecto feat. Grace “Not Over Yet 99” R
  • [Advert Break]
  • 11. Shamen “Indica” R
  • 12. Fragma “Toca’s Miracle” B
  • 13. Merz “Lotus” B
  • [IRN 12.00 News]
  • 14. Everything But the Girl “Hatfield 1980” R
  • 15. Moby “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” L
  • 16. Richard Ashcroft “Song for the Lovers” A
  • 17. Asian Dub Foundation “Real Great Britain” C
  • 18. Pala “Cat-Like Creatures” B
  • 19. Bloodhound Gang “The Bad Touch” L
  • 20. O.M.D. “Walking on the Milky Way” R
  • [Top 10 Single & Album Charts]
  • 21. York “The Awakening” L
  • 22. The Clarke & Ware Experiment “Music for Multiple Dimensions” (Technology) R
  • 23. Big Yoga Muffin “Is that How You?” C
  • [Advert Break]
  • 24. Ouch “Seen the Light” A
  • 25. Rage Against the Machine “Sleep Now in the Fire” A
  • 26. Komputer “The World of Tomorrow” R
  • [IRN 1.00 News]
  • 27. Depeche Mode “Only When I Lose Myself” R

Producer: None.

Notes: Well that was fun, wasn’t it, kiddies. No, I didn’t think so, either. Well, it went about averagely, with me stopping a record half way through (never done that before) and also playing the track I’d just played (never done that either actually). So I think I’ve done about all the big mistakes possible now. Well, except for missing the news, which everyone else seems to be managing with considerable enthusiasm. Mind you, I did manage to overlap it with a jingle…

Music for the Masses 14 – 22 March 2000

By March 2000, Bay Radio had existed as an actual thing for about a year, and it was going from strength to strength. They still hadn’t quite found the strength to get rid of me yet, but the shows were pretty good all round.

show14pl

Show 14: Wed 22 Mar 2000, from 10.55am-1.00pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 13 tracks). A indicates A-list (7 tracks); B indicates B-list (3 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 5 tracks). L indicates the ones from the “library” (Total 7 tracks). X indicates tracks from ents’ record collection (Total 2 tracks).

  • 1. Ouch “Seen the Light” A
  • [IRN 11.00 News]
  • 2. Chicane “Don’t Give Up” A
  • 3. Beloved “Ease the Pressure” R
  • 4. Andreas Johnson “Glorious” L
  • 5. Merz “Lotus” B
  • 6. Supergrass “Alright” L
  • 7. Rage Against the Machine “Sleep Now in the Fire” A
  • 8. Madonna “American Pie” (Richard “Humpty” Vission Radio Mix) L
  • [Coming Events Feature]
  • 9. Planet Perfecto “Bullet in the Gun” L
  • 10. Fragma “Toca’s Miracle” B
  • 11. U2 “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” A
  • [Advert Break]
  • 12. Big Yoga Muffin “Is that How You?” C
  • 13. Beck “Mixed Bizness” A
  • 14. Grid “Rollercoaster” (Album Version) R
  • [IRN 12.00 News]
  • 15. Space Brothers “Legacy (Show Me Love)” L
  • 16. New Order “Blue Monday 88” R
  • 17. Asian Dub Foundation “Real Great Britain” C
  • 18. Jamiroquai “Half the Man” X
  • 19. Richard Ashcroft “Song for the Lovers” L
  • 20. Moby “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” L
  • 21. David Arnold & Nina Persson “Randall & Hopkirk Theme” S
  • [Chart Feature]
  • 22. Electronic “Disappointed” (Original Mix) R
  • 23. Patti Smith “Glitter in their Eyes” B
  • 24. Clinic “The Return of Evil Bill” A
  • [Advert Break]
  • 25. Progress presents The Boy Wunda “Everybody” L
  • 26. William Orbit “Barber’s Adagio for Strings” L
  • 27. Jean Michel Jarre “Hey Gagarin” R

Producer: None.

Notes: Excuse me while I blow my own trumpet, but what tunes!!! It definitely helps to know what the record library includes beforehand! Ooh, that’s better. Anyway, on the whole not too bad, including the return of ADVERTS!!! Thus I could roll around almost in hysterics while uncharismatic people rattled on about new launderettes opening soon to the tune of “Popcorn”. Never have I been so amused. Anyway… Oh yes, I also rather naughtily made use of ents’ record player to play some of their records on. “Half the Man” isn’t nearly the tune I remember it being. Also I had my first impartial feedback today, which was “You sound a bit like Simon Bates.” I’m still not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing, but so long as I don’t start sounding like Neale James. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, baby…