On Second Thought: Jamiroquai, “Canned Heat” (1999)

This series is called “On Second Thought” but evidently, the American public at large is having second thoughts about this song.

Originally issued in 1999 as part of UK’s retro-funk ensemble Jamiroquai’s 4th albumSynkronized, “Canned Heat” is straight-up four-on-the-floor disco that’s a dead ringer for 1979, not twenty years later. That didn’t matter to dancing audiences stateside, who pushed this single to the top of Billboard Dance Club chart in September of that year. Fifteen years later it’s back, currently at #10 on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart and #5 on the Dance/Electronic Streaming Songs list.

How in the hell did that happen?

Meet Naperville, Illinois college student Matt Bray. We all talk about our bucket lists, but Bray takes his seriously. Serious enough that he has a name for it, ProjectOneLife, and he’s been documenting it social media for all the world to see. One of his to-do’s is to “complete 100 days of dance,” which might not seem to be all that exotic and exciting, but the way he went about chronicling it is so dope, we gotta tell ya’ about it in case you haven’t heard.

Bray videotaped himself performing the same dance routine in the same room 100 different times, each time wearing different clothes. He then sliced together one-second snippets from footage of each of those 100 days. The jarring effect of his constant change of attire and sometimes changes in the room contrasts with the uninterrupted flow of his dance moves. It’s a video that’s a worthy equal to Jamiroquai’s own memorable, award-winning visual clips.

The video’s gone viral since first appearing on Youtube two weeks ago, making Bray the newest internet star, and demonstrating the power of anyone with a little imagination and a whole lot of time can have to single-handedly put a long-forgotten dance floor hit back in the spotlight. With nothing charting on Billboard for Jay Kay’s band since 2007 and no new album since 2010, this unscripted comeback of sorts is just what the doctor ordered for Jamiroquai.

If nothing else, Kay oughta buy Bray a beer.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is a CPA and mid-level data analyst for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. Contact him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews.com.