Song 266: Beth Orton, “Carmella” (Four Tet remix) (2003)

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This song never seems to last 11 minutes. I don’t know what that means—maybe it lulls me into a state in which I lose track of time, or that it’s just so interesting that time seems to pass faster. Or maybe it has to do with its structure.

I generally like Beth Orton a lot, but the original “Carmella” isn’t much to write home about. I don’t say that to needlessly put down Orton, but to praise Four Tet (the musical moniker for DJ Kieran Hebden) for adding that awesome beat and changing the song’s pacing so that each part—intro, climax, and comedown—are longer than in your typical pop song. That’s what I like so much about Four Tet: this is dance music, but it also follows a pop structure, which makes for interesting listening.

But more than anything else, I just love that beat, which seems to incorporate the best parts of Bollywood and “Be My Baby,” and adds a weighty counterpoint to Beth Orton’s feather-light voice. It certainly sounds like the early aughts, when anybody who was anybody was mixing acoustic guitars with synthetic percussion. But the Four Tet remix of “Carmella,” in all its delicate bombast, is still awesome.

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