100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #25 The Chemical Brothers – Setting Sun

Released : 1996

By the mid-90’s it looked like we were truly in the age of the Superstar DJ’s. From The Prodigy to Leftfield via Massive Attack and Underworld, for a little while the anonymous prediction that rock n’ roll would be destroyed by repetitive beats looked like it might just come true. In the minds of The Chemical Brothers however, conflict was something you should only have with the man.

Tom Rowlands and Ed Simmons met whilst both doing a university course in ancient history, just not one that involved Elvis and some barre chords. The duo came to prominence playing other people’s records at places like the Heavenly Social, but by then they’d long since started making their own, also using other people’s records; featured on their second album Dig Your Own Hole, they reckoned the track Elektrobank contained 300 samples.

Setting Sun put your head in a right spin though, and no mistake. If rock was like, dead, what was Noel Gallagher doing on there? Why did they lift some of it from Oasis Comin’ On Strong? Why did both tunes sound so much like The Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows, played over strung out beats and strobing in and out of focus? The answer was that there were no rules, that you left your prejudices at the door when you put a Chemical Brothers record on and that the only law was that you must have a good time. Off with their heads? No, just off their heads.

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