Friday, August 19, 2005

Forgotten Gem: Tasmin Archer - 'Sleeping Satellite'

We've all experienced the feeling of turning on the radio and hearing a song that we've long-since forgotten about - a song that instantly takes us back. Today at work, in the midst of completing one of my many redeeming tasks, I heard the faint humming of a song that caused me to drop everything for a moment. I felt like I'd been sucked into a time warp, asking myself "Is it 1993?" I made a mental note, and soon after getting home, did an online lyrics search for the only line of the song that I could remember. The result was 'Sleeping Satellite' by Tasmin Archer. Upon further audio confirmation, and a half dozen listens, I have decided to share my enthusiasm.

Tasmin Archer's debut came in 1993, with her album Great Expectations. The soul singer's leading single, 'Sleeping Satellite', gained her wide-spread attention in her U.K. homelands, and made the charts in the U.S. and other parts of Europe.

Echoes of electronics open the track, cascading into heartfelt vocals accompanied by acoustic guitar strummings. It doesn't take long before the drums and piano make their appearance, and further build to make room for the bass. The song relies heavily on the chorus lines, however it avoids repetition by continuing to make small changes in its form, such as allowing the piano to turn into an organ, and bits of electric guitar pieced in. The song pushes ahead, and once to the summit, celebrate's in itself for a little while, before eventually fading out around 4 minutes 30 seconds.

Fitting snuggly into the early 90's vault of alternative-pop/R&B hits, 'Sleeping Satellite' is a track that was practically born to be played on adult contemporary stations more than a decade later. Somewhere between Wilson Phillips and Des'ree, Seal and Tracy Chapman... you'll find this classic by Tasmin Archer.


[I blame you for the moonlit sky
and the dream that died
with the eagles' flight
I blame you for the moonlit nights
when i wonder why
are the seas still dry?
don't blame this sleeping satellite*]

Did we fly to the moon too soon
did we squander the chance
in the rush of the race
the reason we chase is lost in romance
and still we try
to justify the waste
for a taste of man's greatest adventure


have we lost what it takes to advance?
have we peaked too soon?
if the world is so green
then why does it scream under a blue moon
we wonder why
If the earth's sacrificed
for the price of it's greatest treasure


and when we shoot for stars
what a giant step
have we got what it takes
to carry the weight of this concept
or pass it by like a shot in the dark
miss the mark with a sense of adventure


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