Surrender

 
[ release details ]
Released 21st June 1999
[ cover ]

The Chemical Brothers - Surrender
[ main release ]


[ promo release ]

[ tracklisting ]
UK/Europe/US/Japan CD
Freestyle Dust / Virgin Records (UK/Europe/Japan), XDUSTCD4
Astralwerks (US), ASW 47610-2
 01 Music: Response (5:19)
 02 Under The Influence (4:16)
 03 Out Of Control (7:19)
 04 Orange Wedge (3:06)
 05 Let Forever Be (3:56)
 06 The Sunshine Underground (8:38)
 07 Asleep From Day (4:47)
 08 Got Glint? (5:26)
 09 Hey Boy Hey Girl (4:49)
 10 Surrender (4:30)
 11 Dream On (6:46)

UK/Europe Minidisc
Freestyle Dust / Virgin Records (UK/Europe), XDUSTMD4
 01 Music: Response (5:19)
 02 Under The Influence (4:16)
 03 Out Of Control (7:19)
 04 Orange Wedge (3:06)
 05 Let Forever Be (3:56)
 06 The Sunshine Underground (8:38)
 07 Asleep From Day (4:47)
 08 Got Glint? (5:26)
 09 Hey Boy Hey Girl (4:49)
 10 Surrender (4:30)
 11 Dream On (6:46)

UK/Europe Cassette
Freestyle Dust / Virgin Records (UK/Europe), XDUSTMC4
 A1 Music: Response (5:19)
 A2 Under The Influence (4:16)
 A3 Out Of Control (7:19)
 A4 Orange Wedge (3:06)
 A5 Let Forever Be (3:56)
 A6 The Sunshine Underground (8:38)
 B1 Asleep From Day (4:47)
 B2 Got Glint? (5:26)
 B3 Hey Boy Hey Girl (4:49)
 B4 Surrender (4:30)
 B5 Dream On (6:46)

UK/Europe/US 2 X 12"
Freestyle Dust / Virgin Records (UK/Europe), XDUSTLP4
Astralwerks (US), ASW 47610-1
 A1 Music: Response (5:19)
 A2 Under The Influence (4:16)
 B1 Out Of Control (7:19)
 B2 Orange Wedge (3:06)
 B3 Let Forever Be (3:56)
 C1 The Sunshine Underground (8:38)
 C2 Asleep From Day (4:47)
 C3 Got Glint? (5:26)
 D1 Hey Boy Hey Girl (4:49)
 D2 Surrender (4:30)
 D3 Dream On (6:46)

UK/Europe Promo 3 X 12"
Freestyle Dust / Virgin Records (UK/Europe), XDUSTLPDJ4
 A1 Music: Response (5:19)
 A2 Under The Influence (4:16)
 B1 Out Of Control (7:19)
 C1 Orange Wedge (3:06)
 C2 Let Forever Be (3:56)
 D1 The Sunshine Underground (8:38)
 E1 Asleep From Day (4:47)
 E2 Got Glint? (5:26)
 F1 Hey Boy Hey Girl (4:49)
 F2 Surrender (4:30)
 F3 Dream On (6:46)

UK/Europe Promo CD
Freestyle Dust / Virgin Records (UK/Europe), XDUSTCDJ4
 01 Music: Response (5:19)
 02 Under The Influence (4:16)
 03 Out Of Control (7:19)
 04 Orange Wedge (3:06)
 05 Let Forever Be (3:56)
 06 The Sunshine Underground (8:38)
 07 Asleep From Day (4:47)
 08 Got Glint? (5:26)
 09 Hey Boy Hey Girl (4:49)
 10 Surrender (4:30)
 11 Dream On (6:46)

Australia/New Zealand Tour Collection CD
Virgin Records, 8 48849 0
Disk 1:  
 01 Music: Response (5:19)
 02 Under The Influence (4:16)
 03 Out Of Control (7:19)
 04 Orange Wedge (3:06)
 05 Let Forever Be (3:56)
 06 The Sunshine Underground (8:38)
 07 Asleep From Day (4:47)
 08 Got Glint? (5:26)
 09 Hey Boy Hey Girl (4:49)
 10 Surrender (4:30)
 11 Dream On (6:46)
Disk 2 (Bonus Enhanced CD):
 01 Hey Boy Hey Girl (Extended Version) (6:01)
 02 Flashback (5:18)
 03 Power Move (4:08)
 04 Out Of Control (Sasha Remix) (7:18)
 05 Out Of Control (Director's Cut Video)

Canada Promo CD Sampler
Virgin Records (Canada), DPRO-1846
 01 Hey Boy Hey Girl
 02
Let Forever Be
 03 Out Of Control
 04 Music: Response
 05 Got Glint?
The above tracks are edits of the complete album versions.

France Promo CD Sampler
Virgin Records (France), VISA6057
 01 Flashback (5:18)

 02 The Diamond Sky (3:37)
 03 Enjoyed (8:07)
[ information ]

Highest UK Chart Position - No. 1
Highest US Chart Position - No. 32

"Out of Control" featured Bernard Summer (New Order) on vocals and guitar. Also featured additional vocals by Bobby Gillespie.
"Let Forever Be" featured Noel Gallagher (Oasis) on vocals.
"Asleep from Day" featured Hope Sandoval on vocals.
"Dream On" featured Jonathan Donahue (Mercury Rev)  on vocals, guitar and piano.

The "Surrender" cover was designed by Mark Tappin (Blue Source) and Kate Gibb. Go to "Q Best Record Covers of All Time" in the features section for the full story on how the concept for the cover came about, and how it was designed.

[ reviews ]

nme.com [ "Surrender won't change your life. But it will make it more enjoyable" ]

The epiphany for The Chemical Brothers arrived last year and it arrived with a blinding flash. They were up at Gatecrasher in Sheffield, they have said, surveying the Day-Glo wreckage and savoring that Mitsubishi moment - Paul Van Dyk and Judge Jules they reckoned, but it works. And blimey, it feels marvellous.at the controls. And as the massive trance pumped around them, the revelation was complete. This might not be the future, they reckoned, but it works. And blimey, it feels marvelous.

Here we go, then. But where exactly? Where else can Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons take us that we haven't been before? What new genres can they invent this time, assuming they did in the first instance? Oh, we can credit them with big beat and hold them responsible for Fatboy Slim's entire career, but to return now with an album of breakbeat-derived delirium, regardless of quality, would be insulting and unacceptable. Instead, light sticks at the ready, The Chemical Brothers have gone raving and they've dragged their celebrity mates along with them.

'Surrender' is hardly the radical move we (foolishly) anticipated, but then the Chemicals aren't a radical group. Effective and ruthlessly proficient, yes, but never the boundary-pushers or maverick sound scientists. Theirs is a psychedelia for people who've never taken acid, techno for those unfamiliar with Jeff Mills or, more recently and pertinently, Green Velvet. If you want gloriously dumb tough house, buy Impulsion's equally impressive but pretension-free 'Love Addict' album.

Plenty has happened since 'Dig Your Own Hole' and, sure, we survived without Tom and Ed. Yet somehow, with their third album, it all seems irrelevant. We're back at the beginning, eager to see what will happen after 'Surrender' has left its colossal mark. Whether it deserves to be such an inescapably enormous, all-consuming record is neither here nor there, it just is.

And as it happens, 'Surrender' is excellent. From the opening faux-naive Kraftwerk simulation of 'Music: Response' right through to the final, Jonathan Donahue-assisted fry-up 'Dream On', it's simply a joy to listen to. Tellingly, the pair are most successful when they try something new (for them, at least). Like the irrepressibly sleek techno of 'Under The Influence', or 'Out Of Control', the best collaboration Bernard Sumner has sung on. Bobby Gillespie's also there, apparently, moaning. Its rumoured Sasha remix makes perfect sense.

'Hey Boy Hey Girl' you know, suffice to say it's a great moment in acid-bongo-pop fusion, while the Brothers' take on silken Chicago house, 'Got Glint?', even slides into graceful Balearic homage. These aside, though, and we're back on familiar ground. The album's nine-minute centrepiece, 'The Sunshine Underground', is essentially 'The Private Psychedelic Reel' smeared with glitter, and 'Asleep From Day', featuring Mazzy Star's permanently 'dreamy' Hope Sandoval, replaces previous folk-scarred outings with Beth Orton. Nice, but not quite the ticket.

Noel Gallagher rasps through the dislocated funk of 'Let Forever Be', a harmless, more subdued version of 'Setting Sun', you could argue. Noel's biggest influence on Tom and Ed, however, must be in the prevalence of utterly bland song titles. 'Orange Wedge'? It's not their finest musical moment either.

Minor gripes, admittedly, and anyway, you can always skip over them. Sufficient responses triggered, 'Surrender' won't change your life. But it will make it more enjoyable. And that, for the time being, is quite enough. [ 8/10 ]

q ["looks like there is life after big beat, after all" ]

So it's 1999 and the best music around, both chart and credible, is being made by hedonistic studio wizards and pop alchemists with nary a guitar or rhythm section in sight. Unsurprisingly, given their magic digits, they are also the most in-demand remixers currently extant. Their names are The Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim and they are our indubitably perfect pre-millennial pop stars. The Chemical Brothers are ace remixers because - as the Manic Street Preachers, Prodigy, Primal Scream and Charlatans may testify - they bring the best out of everyone they work with. Now Surrender, their third album, sees them bringing the best out of themselves. It's a move away from the big beat frenzy and amyl nitrate -soaked party monster anthems of 1997's thunderous Dig Your Own Hole towards more considered terrain. Amiable DJ/rave boffins Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands have woken up, shaken bleary heads, and realised there's more to life than block rockin' beats. Where most of Dig Your Own Hole evoked lager'n'pills messiness down the Heavenly Social, much of Surrender belongs in a chill-out room. The piledriving, Kraftwerkian opener Music: Response shows they can still churn out big beat floorfillers by the yard, but the pair truly shine when they introduce poignancy and nuance to the mix, as on Out Of Control, which features Barney Sumner, Bobby Gillespie, and a vintage disingenuous idiot savant Sumner lyric: "It could be that I'm losing my touch/Or do you think my moustache is too much?" Noel Gallagher happens along to wonder aloud - somewhat ungrammatically - "How does it feel like to wake up in the sun?" on Let Forever Be, essentially an update on their joint 1996 Number 1 single Setting Sun, but then they hit comedown mode. The Sunshine Underground is melancholic and sparse, Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval lends spectral vocals to the haunting Asleep From Day and the broken lullaby Dream On, featuring Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue, is unspeakably lovely. Only the jaunty single Hey Boy Hey Girl reverts to their usual hi-energy jollity. Surrender is The Chemical Brothers' quantum leap into the wild blue yonder, away from their trademark slapstick delirium. It looks like there is life after big beat, after all. [ 4/5 ]

the irish times

Fresh, radical and exhilarating are the keywords here as Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands kick out the jams for the third time. Surrender is state-of-the-art Chemical Brothers, an album where the presence of some singing superstars (Noel Gallagher, Bernard Summer, Bobby Gillespie, Hope Sandoval etc) does not distract from what has been produced in the duo's lab. The single Hey Boy Hey Girl may appear simple enough, but check the turbo-charged Out Of Control, or the new psychedelic whirl of Let Forever Be for more complex examples of a new way of working. The closing Dream On, with Mercury Rev's Jonathan Donahue in lullaby mode, is where the next step begins. In a year of big albums, this one matches the pack beat for beat.

pop matters [ "Surrender is both the Chemical Brothers most immediately satisfying work and the most like a rock album of their career" ]

The poster boys of big beat, that hip amalgam of electronica and rock that has dug it's way into the national consciousness via Fatboy Slim's "The Rockafeller Skank," have been busy since their 1997 breakthrough Dig Your Own Hole. Maybe last year's DJ mix album (Brothers Gonna Work It Out) should have been the clue, but Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have clearly been raiding a library-sized record collection since their last offering of "original" music.

Lead off track "Music: Response" starts like a ride on the Autobahn with Kraftwerk circa the mid 70s, with its analog synth blips and monotone computerwelt voices, before tossing in some ferocious beats to bring Krautrock into the new millennium. The mood carries through on "Under the Influence" with more Kraftwerk-styled noodlings. Meanwhile, their best instrumental effort is "The Sunshine Underground," an eight and a half minute piece of chiming tones, wafting flute-like sounds, sputtering and gurgling synths that intertwine with the briefest of dreamy vocals. Actually, it wouldn't have been out of place on the last Orbital album.

Surrender will receive a ton of hype based on its superstar guest appearances none more historically relevant than "Out of Control" with New Order's Bernard Sumner on lead vocals. Being electronic, dance music freaks from Manchester, New Order is like the holy grail to the Chemical Brothers and it's easy to see why. The Chemicals share with their Manchester predecessors an obsession with hypnotic, melodic, dance beats. "Out of Control" works so well, it could be a lost track from Low Life. After his turn on "Setting Son" with the Chemicals in 1996, Noel Gallagher (Oasis) returns for another psychedelic, Beatlesque anthem on "Let Forever Be," again snagging the rhythm track from "Tomorrow Never Knows" off Revolver.

All in all, Surrender is both the Chemical Brothers most immediately satisfying work and the, perhaps not coincidentally, the most like a rock album of their career. Unlike a fair share of techno, these songs feel like "songs," not a collection of clever samples and a race to the fastest BPM on the planet. [ 9 / 10 ]

rolling stone [ "Rowlands and Simons have memorialized their gloriously wasted youth by making a record that kicks like living history" ]

Dance music is something usually spoken of in the future tense: the imminent hits and next hot samples; the underground remixers ripe for prime time; the changes just around the bend. Surrender, then, is a rare thing in electronic body pop: a record about yesterday. In fact, the third sterling studio album by the Chemical Brothers, the English spin-jockey duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, may be the first dance-music album about the end of dance music, or at least the end of the innocence -- the way things were before the bungled hype of electronica; before Prodigy-copycat bands and third-rate techno compilations; before Madonna reinvented herself as a digital Dolly Lama and Fatboy Slim became the DJ king of TV-commercial residuals.


"Under the Influence," "Out of Control," "The Sunshine Underground," "Dream On": Most of the song titles here are blatant valentines to the first great age of E's and raves, Britain's fabled acid-house summers of 1988 and '89. Rowlands and Simons were there as young, thunderstruck clubbers, and they soak much of this record in literal, cheery reminiscence. "Under the Influence" is all throb and velocity -- an insistent, circular synth figure; zippy drum-machine sizzle; dive-bombing bass. At one point, the music comes to a series of gulping stops, as if Rowlands and Simons were braking the track on a turntable in real time. As the song suddenly rocks back to full speed, you have a good idea of what it was like to ride the music in a field full of loons, all off their heads on pills and shimmy.


The pneumatic roll and vocoder-filtered refrains in "Music: Response" and "Got Glint?" reference even more ancient daze: the crucial, early robo-soul of Detroit techno pioneers Kevin Saunderson and Juan Atkins; Afrika Bambaataa's early-Eighties fusion of Bronx break beats and Kraftwerk. Rowlands and Simons also evoke, brilliantly, the first stirrings of British post-punk dance culture in "Out of Control" -- a shit-hot mimicking of the 1983 New Order classic "Blue Monday" -- with, for extra cheek, lyrics and vocals by New Order's Bernard Sumner (crooning with perfect repressed-English-schoolboy menace).


If Surrender was simply meticulously rendered nostalgia, it would be just pleasant, a step down from the Chemicals' 1995 rave-tastic debut, Exit Planet Dust, and the heaving Acid Test funk of the pair's '97 chartbuster, Dig Your Own Hole. But this is a record that also moves. Dance music is primarily about the beat; without it, there is no dancing. But the best dance music is about what happens over, under, in the thick of a rhythm -- about the tidal dynamics and programmatic tension feeding the pulse. Surrender is rich in both.


Rowlands and Simons know how to get busy with the barest essentials. "Hey Boy Hey Girl" is basically a single percolating riff, a knocking beat and the starting-gun chant from Rockmaster Scott and the Dynamic Three's 1985 single "The Roof Is on Fire" ("Hey, girls, hey, boys, superstar DJs, here we go!"). Yet the mix is a hive of activity: Drums come in and out like riptides; cymbals crash with punctuative effect; wheezy keyboard licks are mounted atop each other in squishy counterpoint. The track rocks not for any one of those reasons but, ultimately, for all of them.


Replacing Beth Orton, the Chemicals' siren of choice on Exit and Dig, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star is suitably coquettish in her vocal cameo, "Asleep From Day." More fun is the episodic music around her: the racing-bongo segment and the toy-town folk rock culled, at least in spirit, from old Judy Collins records. In "The Sunshine Underground," a chip off the swollen-arpeggio trance rock of "The Private Psychedelic Reel" on Dig, the Chemicals tweak the core riff (played by what sounds like the love child of a sitar and a hammer dulcimer) with sly rhythmic shifts and nutty percussive touches (a bicycle bell, for instance) that fatten the piece's subtle muscularity.


As fine as Surrender is, it may be time for Rowlands and Simons to revamp their approach to making studio albums. There is a creeping sense of formula to the celebrity-vocal packages. "Let Forever Be," the Chemicals' second Revolver pastiche featuring Oasis' Noel Gallagher, lacks the crisp novelty of the Dig template, "Setting Sun." In fact, this album's best moments come without lyrics or singing. Rowlands and Simons have memorialized their gloriously wasted youth by making a record that kicks like living history. Put it on, crank it up, bust a move. [ 4 / 5 ]

salon.com [ "The whole thing puts the Chemicals in a classic conundrum: how to navigate the middle ground"]

June 18, 1999 | The Chemical Brothers probably thought that making a record more bombastic than the "Block Rockin' Beats" they dropped on their last album would have entailed dynamiting Big Ben. They apparently decided not to even try. "Surrender," the Manchester duo's third full-length, is a subtler response to "Dig Your Own Hole" (1997). But while reworking their sound with more house and trancy techno is an admirable refutation of the beat blast that made them semi-famous in the first place, they certainly didn't need to be so goddamn smug about it.

"Surrender" subverts the rocktronia equation (pop structure + electronic instruments = Gap commercial) that's been used by every hack musician with a sequencer. The Chemicals, instead, want to make the pop world that they've almost infiltrated get with the rave aesthetic that they grew up on. It's the electronica version of a rock band making a roots record, but the Dylan-esque diffidence is unbecoming. Early work may have rocked out the Platonic ideal of flobby, futurist beats, but the egghead sense of construction never felt the funk fluidly enough to convince anyone that the Chemical Brothers wanted the world half as bad as their red-nosed copycat, Fatboy Slim.

Yes, I know the big beat that the Chemicals formalized isn't about funk so much as a highly theoretical concoction of faux populism and ingratiating hedonism that's supposed to explode and make Fun. But so was Grand Funk Railroad's, and the Chems should have worked on perfecting their synthesis of Eddie Bo and C-3PO before they went searching for their lost souls.

Not that the integrity isn't heartening. Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands are 28, which is a tough, contemplative age to be, especially when there's a world of eager boosters out there expecting you to do for techno what Bob Marley couldn't do for reggae in the '70s -- take a fairly obscure genre of music into the American mainstream while keeping its rock soul intact. But listening to the album's European single, "Hey Boy Hey Girl," or the Noel Gallagher (of Oasis) showpiece "Let Forever Be" -- rave-ups that imply a big payoff that never comes -- I couldn't help hearing people alienated from their own very ponderous labor.

"Surrender," at times, seems to be vaguely about sending dance music and rock 'n' roll back to the world of childhood dreams and pet sounds. That actually means watery psychedelia -- some of it evangelically pretty, some of it maudlin -- and a dollop of Hope Sandoval (the Mazzy Star singer whose no-beat reverie "Asleep From Day" ends with the sound of a toy music box) mixed in with fluid, but never quite elevating, boogies like the post-Headhunters astral house of "Got Glint?" The whole thing puts the Chemicals in a classic conundrum: how to navigate the middle ground. Listening to them try to answer their own question is as frustrating as watching someone try to break-dance with a beer in his hand.