Ninety 90’s Songs: Like The Desert’s Mystery

So I had a hard time understanding lyrics as a child. My parents made such an effort to enunciate to me clearly so that I would learn to speak correctly that I understood the sound of well spoken English. Throw in the fact that I learned to speak in a country where English was not the spoken language and you could say that I grew up with a naive ear. Skip ahead a few years and you’ll discover me enjoying a hot mid-90’s song with some chick singing about the desert’s mystery. Skip ahead several more years and see my frustration give way to realization when I discovered I had the lyrics in my head all wrong for many years…

#66 “Missing” by Everything But the Girl. EBTG was a solid UK act that had been sailing along on the smooth seas of smooth jazz.  Then in ’94 the duo released a single from their newest album, “Amplified Heart”, and from that point “Missing” began to circulate the world’s charts. Eventually, in remixed form, the single arrived in the States and spent record-breaking amounts of time on the charts. While it lagged in 2nd on the Hot 100 behind a rather titanic 90’s hit, it did make the top spot of the Top 40. 

So what is it about this little track that could? They weren’t particularly well known. America was under the deluge of R&B and emerging hip hop trends that eclipsed the growing tide of Euro-style music. So how does a smooth jazz group write a house music track that sweeps the world? 

It should be said that EBTG was no one hit wonder act. They were experienced at the time of “Missing”‘s release and they managed to chart other singles later on, too. Perhaps they are a just an example of makers of good music, who had a good thing, knew it, and made the best of it. Their blend of elements really plays out well in this track, from the suspenseful moodiness to the ethereal harmonies and driving disco backbeat. 

While it may be a “desert’s mystery” as to how this clever little track rocked the world, it’s rather clear that people nowadays (a.k.a myself) miss gorgeous tracks like these, “like the deserts miss the rain”. 


One comment

  1. This is so funny bc I grew up here in the US , speaking English & that made it NO easier to understand. In fact I had the lyrics so wrong as a child that I thought it was “like the devil’s mystery” 😂 I hears this song everywhere growing up & just learned the real words recently 20 years later it’s quite funny that it wasn’t only me!

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