Jamiroquai
The Return Of The Space Cowboy


5.0
classic

Review

by Mark Stebbing USER (36 Reviews)
October 2nd, 2005 | 30 replies | 12,928 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist


1 of 1 thought this review was well written

The Return of the Space Cowboy is the second album by the band Jamiroquai. Released in 1994, it is usually classified under the acid-jazz and funk genre. One odd but very unique song on the album is "Space Cowboy", it is said to be a "cannabis apology". This album has become somewhat uncommon in the United States but remains a classic in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. Many consider it to be the best and most refined example of the unique Jamiroquai sound.

Following up a debut, "Emergency On Planet Earth", that bubbled over with soul, funk and outrageous acid-jazz rhythms, "Return Of The Space Cowboy" brings the tempo down a notch, without losing any of its funky musical edge (or any of its idealistic lyrical flow). Singer Jason "Jay" Kay's vocals maintain the smooth manner of Stevie Wonder and Al Green, as demonstrated on "Stillness In Time," which evokes the Brazilian grooves of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and on the quiet-storm-like title track.

Lest this become a totally low-key affair, a handful of tracks guarantee Jamiroquai isn't faking the funk. "The Kids" opens up the band's sound with greasy wah-wah guitar, punchy horns and a bouncy Moog syunthesizer."Light Years" mix in equal amounts Parliament-Funkadelic and Earth, Wind & Fire, guaranteeing hours of head-bopping and toe-tapping.

--- The Band ---

Jay Kay - (Vocals)
Toby Smith - (Keyboards)
Wallis - (Vibraphone)
Stuart Zender - (Bass)
Derrick McKenzie - (Drums)


--- The Review of The Return of the Space Cowboy by Jamiroquai ---


"Just Another Story" is really long opener for the album. This song signals a lot of diversity and some amazing creativity at the start of the album. It is quite a dark entrance to the song with some wierd effects and some low bass lines, it then raises to some jumpy keyboards and some great poppy sounding bass lines. The drums are frantic on the hi-hat but keeps cool on the others, this gives out the beat of the song. Jay's vocals then come in and they sound perfect on the song with his smooth sound and very energetic soulful voice. This song seems to have at least 4 parts as it changes every 2 minutes with some great music work with the bass guitar leading the way. This actually avoids the repetition of a really long song so it keeps you engrossed into the song which is great. The song gets more energetic as it durates further with Jay's vocals becoming more funky and the wah-wah of the guitar giving some great melodic moves. The lyrics on the song are very angst in a way but it still keeps that lively effect because of Jay's energetic technique. Overall, this song is fantastic with it's versatile music and some amazing vocals from Jay, it is a long song but time passes by with it's changing moods.

"Stillness In Time" is a very soulful song with straight away with some smooth vocals and some soft keyboards. The music on this song is very colourful with some beautiful moves and Jay's vocals really shining on the track. The chorus is very picturesque as the background vocals give out soul in the song and then it breaks down to some beautiful music and some nice licks on the guitar and the flute playing really is a nice touch. The vocals maintain that magnificence on the song which is the highlight of the song. This is another excellent song on the album.

"Half The Man" starts off very slowly with some lonely keyboards but then the drums pick it up from there and Jay's vocals mix up the song to a more jazzy feel. The percussion on the song is very engrossing as it moves the beat along and the song sounds very much like what "Stevie Wonder" would do. The whole basic outline of the music is very soulful and jazzy and tends to be relaxing. This is a very relaxing song compared to the recent 2 songs before and it releases beauty on here.

"Light Years" is a more of a dark atmospheric song that has an energetic side to it. The freaky piano sounds and the fuzzy bass line really brings out the dancefloor feel to the song. The fuzzy bass on the song is great and Jay's voice seems to be a tiny bit emotional but he still has that smooth consistant sound and it works amazingly well here. The whole song is very catchy and the music is the highlight with some versatile percussion and the great bass lines make this one of the highlights on the album. This is another considerably long song but again the diversity of the song avoids this.

"Manifest Destiny" starts with a lively bass line and some quiet ride cymbals but then the piano plays down the liveliness of the bass to a more lonely feeling. Jay's vocals are for a first on the album less energetic to a more mellow sound. This changes when the chorus is more uplifting with the vocals and the paino is more lively but then breaks down nicely back to the main body. This is just a very blissful song to listen to and the first semi-ballad song on the album and it is very graceful.

"The Kids" puts as to a more rock/funk sound with some powerful wah-wah guitaring and some rapid bass lines and some complex drumming. This song is moderatly fast so it brings back Jay's vocals to a energetic side and the guitar is the one which shines on this track with some great usage of the wah-wah. The chorus is very different to the verse with it being more of a jumpy bass line lead and more brass instruments are used and a very direct and fast vocals are here. This song has an adrenealine rush on it making it the most energetic track on the album and this song is great by the way.

"Mr Moon" is based on percussion at the start with some Indian sounding bongos and some drumming. It sounds out of the world for a brief moment then goes to the Jamiroquai sound on the verse with some soulful bass and vocals that are very smooth and just fantastic technique. The song is very beatful with the percussion playing a big part here and it is very diverse. This song has the same logic as "Stillness In Time" but it has more detail in the music. This is a very feel-good track and is excellent.

"Scam" is very dark at the start with a some low keyboard effects and the string arrangements are very dramatic but this all breaks down to the funky soul. This song is bound to make you tap your feet or do something like that which will keep you into the feel of the song. The vocals are very jumpy and very cool with some great technique and the bass is just very melodic and the the background music is just beatful. The song is another example of Jamiroquai's sound being at it's best.

"Journey To Arnhemland" is an instrumental that has some lyrics but is very brief. Wallis Buchanan's didgeridoo, a Jamiroquai trademark, returns particularly strongly on "Journey To Arnhemland," which sounds like the theme from an Aboriginal blaxploitation flick. The song is very energised but a comfortable listen for the listener. The song is very stellar and people say that it's a track that should not be skipped when listening to it.

"Morning Glory" carries on that feel from the previous song. The start is very dreamy with some engrossing effects on the keyboard and the strings are very lonely. The percussion are very echoey and the outcome of this versatile start is just mesmerizing. The vocals are very toned down to a more mellow sound that really plays on the dreamy sound of the song. The whole song is like your in another world while listening to it. This is my favourite on the album, it just blows me away while listening the most blissful music that I have ever heard.

"Space Cowboy" is the most well-known song of this album saying that it is Jamiroquai's best ever release. The song starts with some very dark keyboards but then goes to the Jamiroquai sound. This is the best sound of Jamiroquai with Jay's vocals at his best here and the lyric's are very meaningful about apologising taking cannabis. The music is very dreamful again with the keyboard shining here. The song repeats the song over again but there are some alterations of the effects on the keyboard which again avoids the repetition. This ends the album in the best possible way.


--- Overview of The Return of the Space Cowboy by Jamiroquai ---

Ratings:

1. Just Another Story - 5/5
2. Stillness In Time - 4.5/5
3. Half The Man - 4.5/5
4. Light Years - 5/5
5. Manifest Destiny - 4.5/5
6. The Kids - 4/5
7. Mr Moon - 4.75/5
8. Scam - 4.5/5
9. Journey To Arnhemland - 5/5
10. Morning Glory - 5/5
11. Space Cowboy - 5/5
---------------------------------------------------
Overall Time: 71:57

Summary:

Positives:
[+] Amazing Music!
[+] Jay's vocals are always amazing
[+] Bass is the best I've heard
[+] Very Diverse
[+] Never Boring
[+] Engrossing everytime you listen

Negatives:
[-] Songs are too long at times


Overall, this album is probably the most diverse CD that I have ever had. The music is the high point on the album following the vocals. The songs are all meaningful and they are truthful. This is Jamiroquai's best album to date and most critics think that this album is up there with the classics. I certainly think so with all songs being excellent and this album is to me a very influential with experimenting with music. This album has many moods to it and it keeps you engrossed to the album. This will therefore get:

Final Rating: 5/5



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user ratings (119)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Final Origin
October 2nd 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My! We are very quiet again today.

View: 62
Comments: 0!!!

This is a classic album and no-one has heard of it here. For shame!!

gimo80
October 2nd 2005



223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

THANK GOD someone has done a review on this album. Absolutely Jmairoquai's finest moment - and yeah, Light Years is certainly a well deserved 5/5.

When I first listened to the album, I really didn't appreciate the lengths of the songs, but you grow to love the effort and skill involved within - Just another story annoyed me at first, but it becomes so atmospheric and, well decent.

Very good review on a very good band :DThis Message Edited On 10.02.05

Final Origin
October 2nd 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Exactly what happened to me, it took me a while to get into the album as the songs seem durable and the songs seemed to be "too twisted" but then you appreciate the songs when you give it some listens and you realise the greatness in the songs individually.

This IS Jamiroquai's finest moment showing the skill they truly have and this album is a well deserved classic of Funk and Alternate. I reckon this is the most underrated classic of them all.This Message Edited On 10.02.05

Final Origin
October 2nd 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It isn't actually Funk that much compared to his others, it leans to a more Alternate sound that's why this album is so unique with it's music. Everyone should check out this album, it will mesmirize you.

ocelot-05
October 2nd 2005



807 Comments


I have heard it, and I think Synkronized is better. That's why I did a review for it yesterday.

Final Origin
October 2nd 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

The creativity on this album is miles better in my opinion but Synkronized is great but this is a classic album with it's blissful music and vocals. If you haven't checked it out, you MUST!!!

Oli
October 2nd 2005



6 Comments


never knew u liked jk, can i borrow this album?

Final Origin
October 3rd 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yes you can!

Keep the comments coming, more the better. And check this album out.

Who is this Rayne gayboy?! Why doesn't it come and comment on why he rated this 0.5 and explain!!This Message Edited On 10.03.05

gimo80
October 3rd 2005



223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Yeah I was gonna say! I'm furious! It's now only 3.5/5!

Come - justify yourself!



Final Origin
October 3rd 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

He's done this to one of my other reviews as well!! This will not be tolerated as he has just ruined the rating for an unknown reason so it is definitely unfair to me and the ones that are reading this as they are getting a wrong impression.

gimo80
October 4th 2005



223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Totally, you shouldn't just go voting for the hell of it - people might not look at your review in the long run now.

I have never been so angry in all my life. Gahhh!

*melts*

Captain_HumpYourFace
October 4th 2005



119 Comments


Wow... there are people in thsi world who'll give Jamiroquai a rating of 5... just... wow.

I'm not going to bring down the score by voting on an album that I haven't heard the whole way through but I've always listened to Jamiroquai's singles and... wow... 5 out of 5... for real?

Final Origin
October 4th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is totally a different experience from his other work. This just stands out from the rest by a mile, believe me, just check it out, you'll be suprised how excellent the music and the vocals are on here.

gimo80
October 4th 2005



223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lyrically, it's absolutely superb, and the way Stuart Zender (and the whole band) pushes themselves is just gob smacking. It's just so epic, and each song feels so individual - honestly, forget their new album Dynamite, this is for real.

I was actually quite disappointed with Dynamite - no 8 minute long instrumentals or any epic tracks...it's still pretty good though.

Still...

Final Origin
October 4th 2005



344 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dynamite sounds good I'm positive that this is much, much better. This album is epic.

humph42
March 11th 2006



12 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

By far the best album - but has any else notice how poor the sound quality is? Listen to a track of this album, then of another jamiroquai one and you'll clearly notice the difference. Anyway, highlights Mr Moon, Scam, Stillness in time, Space Cowboy.

CleanInjection
May 13th 2008



4 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I agree, this album is awesome. I can't say it is their finest as the only other one I own is Traveling without Moving (which is also great). I will, however, say that I find myself dancing to this album without even knowing it. I can't say that about any other album.

And to humph42: I own this on record, and even though my sound setup isn't the best, the sound quality sounds just fine to me.

gimo80
July 9th 2008



223 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Wow, it's been 3 years since I last commented on this review. And my opinion on this album hasn't changed one bit - this just shows that Space Cowboy quite clearly stands the test of time.
Sound wise, I actually think the bass sounds a bit muffled, especially on Stillness In Time. Weirdly, I think Emergency On Planet Earth actually sounds a bit cleaner...
Well, they were pretty much off their faces while making this album!

AndyRictor2000
July 23rd 2008



146 Comments


wanted to get into this band for a while. Is this the best album to start off with?

Yazz_Flute
May 24th 2010



18764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

shit's jammin'

Digging: Cormorant - Dwellings



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