NPR logo

'Catch a Fire' by The Bug

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/130267478/130265545" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
The Bug: Darkly Sinister, With A Hypnotic Beat

The Bug: Darkly Sinister, With A Hypnotic Beat

'Catch a Fire' by The Bug

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/130267478/130265545" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

The Bug's "Catch a Fire" employs the ethereal voice of Kiki Hitomi to help generate a sense of running in place. courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of the artist

The Bug's "Catch a Fire" employs the ethereal voice of Kiki Hitomi to help generate a sense of running in place.

courtesy of the artist

Friday's Pick

  • Song: "Catch a Fire"
  • Artist: The Bug
  • CD: Various Artists, Ninja Tune XX
  • Genre: Dub

Combining a darkly sinister sound reminiscent of Portishead with a hook suitable for M.I.A., The Bug's "Catch a Fire" employs the ethereal voice of Kiki Hitomi to help generate a sense of running in place. As Hitomi sings about "kids killing children outside my doorstep," the echoes of the snare sound like rhythmic gunfire.

Minor-key chords transport "Catch a Fire" onto an eerie abandoned street, where the rain-soaked asphalt glitters under flickering street lights. Telling a haunting tale about the urban landscapes of London, the words swirl around imagery of "crackheads, pissheads and hoodrats." The song is bathed in implicit violence, with a brief bridge led by a fuzzed-out guitar, before you're launched back into that hypnotic beat.

At song's end, there's an electronic effect that feels as if it's created by bullets whizzing by a windchime through your headphones. Careful: Warning shots have been fired. The thumping beat may have stopped, but your heart is still pounding in your chest. At least you hope so.

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.