Faithless’ [discogs.com] Sunday 8PM [discogs.com] is the soundtrack of my first year at George Mason. I spent many, many hours in the Johnson Center listening to this album. I am actually shocked that I my love of this album survived that year, and that I don’t see calculus problems floating before my eyes when I listen to Sunday 8PM today.
See, they let me into Calculus 2 when I transferred to Mason, without even testing me. But it became very obvious the first day of class that I was out of my depth. By the end of the first week I was completely lost. It had been more than a year since I did any calculus and to say math was not a strong point would be an gross understatement. So. I went to the book store and I purchased the study guide and extra problems supplement for my textbook; Stewarts Calculus, 5th Edition. And I spent an hour or two nearly every evening of my first semester sitting at a table in the Johnson Center with those books and taught myself the first 5 or 6 chapters whatever was part of the Calculus 1 syllabus. I worked every single problem in the textbook, the study guide and the extra problems book, many more than once. I passed Calculus 2 and went on to Calc 3 and many more math classes that an degree from the engineering school required.
A lot of that time I spent working and reworking calculus problems in the Johnson Center was spent listening to Sunday 8PM.
I don’t remember where or why I bought the album. My theory is I must have got it at Plan 9 in Charlottesville sometime in late 1998 or early 1999. I probably bought it just because it was in the techno section and was in a funky cardboard case, not the normal jewel case most CDs came it. I was a sucker for funky packaging, I have a whole stack of mediocre dance and techno albums that came in strange packaging, including one that came in a water filled blaze orange package. I don’t why, I had too much money to spend, most of these purchases resulted in very little music I would actually listen to.
Faithless wasn’t new to me, I liked some of the songs off of their first album, Reverence [discogs.com]. “Salva Mae” and “Insomnia” were great club hits, and something I listened to ridding around C’ville with O███. But Sunday has a totally different feel. Less frantic, less driving, more melancholy and thoughtful, more lyrical and melodic.
“Bring my Family Back”, and “Take The Long Way Home” have some of Maxi Jazz’s best rapping across Faithless whole discography. “Hem of his Garment” features Dido, who is the sister of Faithless member Rollo, and the unbelievable “Why Go?” has lyrics by Boy George. These two songs foreshadow the heavy use of guest vocalists on many later Faithless albums. And both tracks push Sunday further into melancholy terratory.
Basically every song on the album is great. That is, of course, why I can listened to it end-to-end even 25 years after it’s release and why it’s on my list of favorite albums. “God Is a DJ” was the biggest hit on this album and is the most mainstream “dance” song on the album. The rest of the album leans into the trip-hop and downtempo more than anything on their previous album, and way more than anything you could hear in the the US at the time. This type of music just didn’t chart in the US. It’s less about the club and more about the chill hours after the club before the sun comes up.
I have every one of Faithless’ albums and I can, and do, listened to a lot of them. There are good songs and great songs on all of their albums, but Sunday 8PM is there best. Though, there is another album that lists Faithless as the artist that will make an appearance on this list, that album is a bit different and a story for another day. Sunday 8PM is the best Faithless album and if you’ve never heard it you should.
Listen to it on Apple Music: