3 forgotten trance love songs from the late-1990s


It should go without saying that here at Plain & Simple we’re rather keen on proper house music, and carry an eternal torch for techno, electro and all things real sounding. Nevertheless, we’ve also been around the after dark block a few times, and have seen pretty much every canon rise and fall as they inevitably do. 

With experience comes knowledge, and with knowledge comes the ability to make comments like ‘let’s face it, trance really isn’t what it used to be, and probably never will be again’. Indeed, there was a time when filtered arpeggios followed by the most cataclysmically banging 135BPM four fours ruled the roost in the UK and across most of the electronic-loving world (which was a lot smaller back in those days). For better or worse (most likely better), that era ended with an implosion, meaning now when most people think back to the heady pre-millennial period visions of commercialised super clubs and throwaway anthems immediately spring to mind. 

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, though, and not least when you’re looking on at the somewhat cynical scene we have today. As such allow us to roll back the years and revisit a period in clubs when lyrics were heartfelt- albeit probably penned in a few minutes by people with far too many tablets in their stomachs- and the inherent message was one of love and honesty. Along with boshing as many turbo-Mitsubishis as was possible without winding up in some awful recovery room surrounded by door staff. Without further ado then, we present 3 forgotten trance love songs from the late-1990s, all of which are likely to resonate if you were there at that time. 


Johnny Shaker – Pearl River 

With pianos blaring- although not quite as loud as the kicks and bassline- and words written in such a style so as to become that rarest of things in dance, an actual real song, Johnny Shaker’s Pearl River is pretty much as good as it gets in terms of bleeding heart bangers. Breakups and desperation are rarely this danceable. 

Jan Johnston – Flesh (Tilt’s Going Home Remix)

As hammered to death by one of the biggest DJs of the 1990s, Paul Oakenfold, who now spends most of his time doing a lot of un-ravey stuff (not that we want to accuse anyone of completely selling out their roots), Jan Johnston’s Flesh epitomises edgy but accessible melancholic lyrical trance, whatever that means, and is miles better than Tiesto’s take. 


Lustral – Everytime (Mike Koglin Remix)

One of the best Hooj Tunes ever, although the original Everytime is a bona-fide classic Mike Koglin’s meatier, punchier version made for an incredibly good alternative, and remains one of the defining moments from Gatecrasher’s classic 1999 compilation, Wet, and the Nalin + Kane version, which also features here, is genius.