New album by the Frank Popp Ensemble

With “Hip Teens Don’t Wear Blue Jeans” the Frank Popp Ensemble achieved an international hit. 20 years ago. Now there are a lot of new songs again.

“Shifting” is the name of the new album by the Frank Popp Ensemble. – Nora Heidi Images & Visuals/Unique Records/Schubert Music Publishing/dpa

As is well known, those who are declared dead live longer: while the online encyclopedia Wikipedia writes about the Frank Popp Ensemble in the past tense, with the new album “Shifting” they are now giving a clear sign of life.

20 years ago, the Düsseldorf ensemble landed an international hit out of nowhere with “Hip Teens Don’t Wear Blue Jeans”. With the 1960s soul fanfares, Popp conquered the top 20 in Germany. The piece was also a hit in Italy, England and Japan.

On the debut album «Ride On!» There was a mix of Northern Soul, Funk and Bigbeat elements, just like he used to ecstasy the visitors of the legendary Unique Club, where Popp DJed.

A slow burner

Will it take another two years for tracks from the album to take off this time? That’s how it was with the “Blue Jeans” hit, which ignited first in Italy and then as part of a Coca-Cola commercial.

Popp’s first single “High Voltage” even became part of the soundtrack for the 2001 Hollywood film “Password: Swordfish” starring John Travolta, Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry. The DJ, concert organizer and graphic designer Popp Düsseldorf has long since turned his back and migrated to Berlin.

The fact that his ensemble is not just a one-hit wonder, but has made an impression on the music scene, was finally proven in 2021, when an album with cover versions of pop songs was released, including by Fünf Sterne Deluxe, Bernd Begemann and Erobique and LoveMachine.

Guest singers and brass bigbeat movements

The new album is timelessly elegant. The Sixties Soul-Funk glides calmly along. A danceable, driving hit like “Blue Jeans” can be found among the 15 tracks – on vinyl there are 14 for reasons of space – most likely in the song “Torn Up”. “See It Coming” with singer Anna Glahn is catchy.

There’s a reunion with Sam Leigh-Brown, who sang “Blue Jeans”, with the new track “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City”.

In view of several guest singers and big-beat wind sections, the ensemble is not suitable as a music project for live or even touring, according to Unique Records. DJ sets by Frank Popp are conceivable with “Shifting”.

More on the subject:

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