It’s the turbulent times like these that make us seek solace, crave comfort foods, reminisce about happier times, and focus on the little things we can control like making lists and decluttering. In the early summer of 2020, the latter got me turning on my old iPod classic, which I hadn’t used in years. On it, I discovered my mid-2000’s playlist with Give it Away by Deepest Blue at its top.
As I turned it on, the song immediately brought flashbacks of happy memories from 15 years prior when there was no Covid, and all I worried about was romance and university grades. Give it Away by Deepest Blue was easily my most-listened-to song of the 2000’s – and not just because had been seemingly playing everywhere I went back then. Its nondescript magic made it perfect just for about any occasion – from walking in solitude to partying with friends to dancing in underwear in a dorm room.
You make me fall and I can’t sleep
You want it all but it’s too deep
And I can’t give it away
I just can’t give it away
The soft pulsing beat, the one-of-a-kind voice, the climax in the chorus – they all create this feeling of happiness tinged with unknown longing, making you put this song on repeat over and over again.
Created by Matt Schwartz and Joel Edwards in 2004, Give It Away was the second consecutive successful single of the British electronic music duo. One of UK Top 10 hit singles, it continued to be popular years after the release, often revisited by other performers in remixes and cover versions. The song was at the top of my playlist longer than some people were in my life and Deepest Blue themselves were kind of always on my radar. Circa 2010 I ditched my iPod for an iPhone and soon found out the duo split – and gradually both the duo and the song faded from my memory.
So hearing the song in 2020 was like running into a good old friend. To my surprise, the next day after finding my old iPod I was riding in a cab when Give it Away started playing – only it was a different version. I discovered that what I’d heard was a collaboration with Filatov & KARAS, a DJ duo from Moscow, and it peaked #1 in Russian iTunes Chart and 65 in Shazam Top 200 Global Chart.
So maybe it was not just me, but an entire generation of people seeking solace in songs they used to when they were younger?
What made Give it Away so good after all? Why release it now? Was it a fit of nostalgia or mere coincidence?
With these questions in my mind, I reached out to Joel and Matt of Deepest Blue as well as Filatov & KARAS. I was thrilled to hear back from all of them and even more excited to find out that Deepest Blue have reformed.
So I learned from Joel that after their first single Deepest Blue became a hit, the duo wanted to keep on working. Unlike the first one, which took the duo three months to finish, “it just came together really quick”. Romance-inspired, Give it Away “was a positive feel-good song that wasn’t trying to do anything but make people forget their existence for 3 minutes.” Just the way it did for Joel and Matt.
When you slowly close your eyes
We play the moment in your life
Just give it away
Just give it away
Apparently, it did the same for Filatov & KARAS, as one of them named it one of his “favorite tracks from the mid-2000s.” He also had it at the top of his playlist for a couple of years.
However, it’s not the pandemic that forced the DJ duo to remix the song: about two years ago they suggested it to Joel, who agreed, re-recorded the vocals, and wrote to Matt to get his approval on the release. Although the two hadn’t been working together since Deepest Blue split in 2010, but when Joel reached out they made up and decided to reform the project. As a result, the track got a new video and was presented as the new one.
So, as it turned out, Give it Away is not about reminiscing a happier past, rather than cherishing the best we have, and taking it into the future. It’s about letting go and creating space for something new – hence the dichotomy of sad and happy.
In 2020, 16 years after the initial release, younger generations are listening to a 2000s song (and loving it). Joel and Matt are working together again and have some new records coming out any day now. And there is something to learn from all that – no matter how turbulent the times are and how hard we fall, we can declutter, seek solace, reform, and feel good again.