„Lola’s Theme“ is the debut single by British house duo The Shapeshifters. It was released on 12 July 2004 as the lead single from their debut album, Sound Advice (2004).
The name „Lola’s Theme“ was originally a working title for this record; Lola is Simon Marlin’s wife, and it was while listening to her record collection that the initial idea for the track was conceived. She appears handing out candy floss in the music video. „Lola’s Theme“ features a sample from the introduction of Johnnie Taylor’s 1982 R&B hit „What About My Love“ and it was originally released as an instrumental at the end of 2003 on their own Nocturnal Groove label. Due to its immense popularity, „Lola’s Theme“ was licensed from Nocturnal Groove to Positiva Records.
At the same time, the sample of „What About My Love“ was then completely replayed by Mark Summers at Scorccio Sample Replays, recreating all elements of the sample (strings, brass sections, piano, etc.). The duo then set about finding a vocalist. After a long search they met Cookie, a gospel singer from the London Community Gospel Choir, who recorded the vocals for the full release.
The song is a dance pop song, utilising elements of „What About My Love“ by Johnnie Taylor. Lyrically, the song is written from the perspective of someone who for most of their life felt disillusioned and alienated. It is addressed to an unnamed other, presumably a love interest, who helped the singer to develop a more positive outlook on life.
„Lola’s Theme“ was released on 12 July 2004, and upon its release went straight into the charts in the United Kingdom at number one. „Lola’s Theme“ also topped the American Dance Charts, peaking at number one on the Hot Dance Airplay chart in October 2004. The duo went on to have a further two Top 20 UK hits („Back To Basics“ and „Incredible“) and now have a recording contract with Defected Records.
„Lola’s Theme“ was nominated for „Best British Single“ at the 2005 Brit Awards. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, on the fictional in game station Vladivostok FM.
The orchestral-sounding music in the song inspired the emergence of similar orchestral-sounding dance music over the following two years (such as Inaya Day’s „Nasty Girl“), before more electronic dance music became popular in mid-2006. These sounds also owe much to 1970s disco, and so the resulting genre can be described as nu-disco or disco house.
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