There was a point in late 1990 when it felt like Deee-lite was gonna be the next best thing. They were multicultural (middle-American lead singer, Russian DJ, Asian secondary DJ). They had pop cred, disco cred and hip-hop cred. They had a multitude of influences and some fairly major juice (“Groove is in The Heart” features cameos from Bootsy Collins, Maceo Parker and Q-Tip), and it felt like they were taking style cues from the ’60s and ’70s and molding them into something fresh for the ’90s.
That never actually happened, as subsequent releases saw Deee-lite enmeshing themselves further into the dance music underground with no real mass-appeal action. However, “Groove is in the Heart” remains a cultural and musical touchstone, one of those dance songs that brings disparate groups of music lovers together like few dance songs really can (and most dance songs are supposed to). From sporting matches to gay clubs to suburban weddings to hip-hop parties; throw “Groove is in the Heart” on and people will get up and dance.
“Groove is in the Heart” manages to be musically substantial (check the first paragraph again for that list of collaborators) and profoundly silly. Lady Miss Kier’s vocals have a pretty high level of camp value¹, but homegirl can blow…which balances out the slide whistle asides, the “Horton Hears A Who?” reference and the part where the music completely drops out for a few seconds. Mostly, though, it’s three minutes and 52 seconds of the most fun, most inclusive party the ’90s ever threw.