20 Years on And iiO’s ‘Rapture’ still Tastes so Sweet

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20 Years on And iiO’s ‘Rapture’ still Tastes so Sweet

In October 2001, New York-based duo iiO released their impressive track ‘Rapture’ in the United Kingdom. Three months later, the song was released in the US, and it was a hit all around.
Rapture

Through its memorable chorus and subtle use of stylized Auto-Tune, this song was a genre mashup between pop, trance, and modern dance popular with critics and audiences alike. It reached 46 in the Billboard 100 and charted in ten countries.

The song went on to get a second life in 2010 with the release of frontwoman Nadia Ali’s Queen of Clubs Trilogy: The Best of Nadia Ali Remixed. It again charted in several European countries, peaking at number 3 in Romania
That’s all the boring numbers stuff out the way, though. There’s no doubt that the song was popular. The question we want to ask, as always, is why?

Now we love early 2000s dance music. It was, undoubtedly, a formative period for the genre. As the cost of synthesizer technology came down and the popularity of electronic music went up, there was a boom in artists trying fresh new sounds, many of which have stuck around to this day.

With that being said, two decades on, and a lot of the music being released around that time feels a little less memorable. This is because so many styles that were once new have become clichéd, tastes have moved on, and the tracks that stick with us are just a fraction of what we were listening to at the time.
And that’s what makes ‘Rapture’ feel so remarkable. You see, where other tracks show their age, this one doesn’t. So there’s a reason it saw such success when Ali rereleased it ten years later; that’s because there’s more timeless about it.
Take the–somewhat dreaded–Auto-Tune that was popular at the time of the song’s release. In many tracks, it’s become little more than a sign of their age, a kitsch novelty, and a sign of bad singers trying to hide their off-key notes. While it’s true these days the use of Auto-Tune as a stylistic decision is commonplace, that doesn’t change the fact that its usage in many of these earlier tracks can often feel misplaced and a little grating.
Although ‘Rapture’ certainly wasn’t the first song to use Auto-Tune to consciously distort the singer’s vocals (the credit is often attributed to Cher for her music ‘Belief’), it nonetheless stands out for managing to integrate that style naturally into the song. It adds just a digital touch in a way that is almost difficult to detect but serves to compliment the track’s distinctly futurist sound.
Speaking of futuristic, if there’s one place where ‘Rapture’ does show its age, it’s in its wonderfully dated music video. The attempts to conjure up a disco-esque vision of a futuristic dance floor–all green lasers and smoke. Combined with a Blade Runner-inspired cityscape’s opening and closing shots, the video certainly strikes a retro tone. Admittedly, by standards, it seems a little quaint, but that doesn’t change that song is still a killer hit.

So is there a secret to a song like ‘Rapture.’ If there is, it’s that new music doesn’t happen in a vacuum? Instead, the artists who stand out are often the ones responding to how the genre is developing around them, taking popular and doing something original with it.

Put, ‘Rapture’ stood the test of time by taking old ideas and doing new with them.

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