Primal Scream’s Screamadelica and How It Harnessed Joy

Primal Scream is a band that has experimented with many different mainstream genres in their time, including synthpop, alternative dance, and jangle pop. What is most impressive about them however is their ability to maintain a consistent style and energy throughout it all. Case in point is their biggest album, 1991’s Screamadelica. The album’s electronic sound was a massive new direction for the band, and it became considered not only their best record but also one of the greatest works of the 90s. 

When I had first heard this record, it was in the absolute most perfect environment to listen to such an album. I was taking a walk around this forest and it was during a super pretty afternoon, which was such a stellar atmosphere to listen to the uplifting and moving music. This particular listening environment influenced my perception of the album, as every time I listen, it takes me back to that experience and is associated with that particular memory. 

Aside from personal experience, the music itself is absolutely great. It’s varied and unique, moving from lifting hooks to acoustic alternative rock and engaging dance rhythms all without feeling like there’s any lost cohesion between the different sounds presented. The most impressive thing about the album, in my opinion, lies within the longer dance oriented songs. While the alternative rock tracks are great as well, songs like “Come Together” and “Higher Than The Sun” showcase an incredible talent for songwriting in how each track flows from beginning to end. “Come Together” especially, as the looped singing that the song is built on slowly evolves and transforms as it goes along, becoming something entirely different from what it started as in its opening minutes. Even 29 years later, Screamadelica holds its reputation as a classic 90s album, a great alternative dance album, and Primal Scream’s singular best work.

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