Point Break – Freakytime

Released: 10th April 2000

Writers: Andrew Tumi / Brett Adams / David Holmes / David Oliver / Danielle Barnett / Johnathan Newman / Kenny Barry

Peak position: #13

Chart run: 13-28-34-43-67-72

By the turn of the century, the charts were standing room only when it came to boybands. Point Break were launched as something of an antithesis to their slick, polished peers with a brand of pop that was a rockier, more raucous affair. If any song was going to get them onto the A-list, though, it was Freakytime.

Having scored their first top ten single a few months earlier, the time came for Point Break’s rite of passage. The make or break for any boyband, guitars or not: a ballad. It cannot be overstated enough just how good Freakytime is. The song makes a definitive point of not being cut from the same cloth as most other pop ballads of the time; it ditches innocent and impossibly idealistic virtues in favour of something that feels more heightened, a bit scruffier and very sexual.

The most immediately striking aspect of Freakytime is the production; the first 25 seconds is almost ethereal, with the chorus gently recited over some looped guitar chords and swirling electronica. It’s latterly joined by a thumping bass and also marks its turn-of-the-century territory with some obligatory slowed down record scratches. Only then does the song open out into a dramatic – almost ghostly – orchestrated instrumental. There’s immediately a sense of heightened drama present within the track; it’s a stirring introduction that feels epic in scale, as though Freakytime should be soundtracking a major motion picture. There are moments where the track transcends to another era altogether; the euphoric stadium-esque electric guitar instrumental in the middle of the song is more akin to ‘80s hair-rock Van Halen than the bubblegum pop of the ‘00s.

One could easily get completely lost in the production, but Freakytime has more carnal intentions. The vocals during the verses ignore any sense of personal space; it’s almost as if the band are singing the song, somewhat claustrophobically, straight into your ears. As a sexy slow jam, it feels at times a little awkward and hazy, like a drunken hook-up at the end of a party rather than a sweeping romantic gesture. Lines such as: “Come on and pull my body close, I wanna lie you on the floor, come on and lay your lips on mine and let our bodies work for more” feel largely void of any the romanticism usually seen within pop ballads, particularly against a production that feels hard and cold. Freakytime also has an amazing pre-chorus, albeit one that feels completely gratuitous. There probably isn’t an affectionate way of asking someone to ‘bump and grind’ against you, but spelling it out beforehand is certainly not it. Nonetheless, whilst “B-U-M-and-P…G-R-I-N-D…bump and grind just be mine tonight” lacks tact, it makes for a brilliant hook and is arguably the standout moment of the song.

The chorus itself is a little less involved than you’d expect from the build-up: “‘Cos if you’re looking for a freaky time, freaky time baby, you can always count on me, I’ll be waiting; if you’re looking for a freaky time, freaky time, baby, you can always count on me, ye-e-e-eah”. It’s wonderfully rousing and more in keeping with the grander scale of the production. But it lacks the intimacy the verses appeared to be chasing, giving Freakytime a somewhat jarring quality. It’s as if Point Break couldn’t quite decide whether they wanted to whisper sensual nothings into your ear or make a bold, public declaration about their feelings.

That identity conflict continues into the music video. Freakytime contains that dreaded concept: black and white behind-the-scenes / tour footage. As a memento for the group themselves, it’s probably a nice keepsake, but also gives off a can’t-be-bothered-to-make-a-proper-video vibe. In this case it is, at least, interspersed with sequences from a party that attempt to construct a bit of narrative.

One part of the video that does work quite well are the wintry cutaway shots, which fit most comfortably with the cool sound of Freakytime. The video – and song – may have been best served by utilising the stunning landscapes to create a visual that matched the vast scope of the production. Indeed, the single has always felt somewhat mistimed as everything about it would better suit a midwinter release, rather than spring.

It goes without saying that Freakytime should have been #1 for weeks and weeks. But back in the real world, the most frustrating thing about the single is that it fell just short of the chart success that might have seen it endure as a minor ‘00s boyband staple. Peaking at #13 wasn’t a complete disaster, but it didn’t move Point Break any closer to the big league; indeed, more than anything it cemented their position as also-rans. That’s a real shame because the band did have something a bit different to offer, and nowhere is that more evident than Freakytime.

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Post Author: cantstopthepop