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An ode to All Saints' Pure Shores

The 2000 smash hit from All Saints is still a bop and a half.

IF YOU ENJOY your early 2000s pop then there’s no doubt that All Saints ‘Pure Shores’ has been a staple of your Spotify playlist for a number of years now.

Released in 2000, ‘Pure Shores’ entered the British charts at No.1.  It was part of the soundtrack to Danny Boyle’s ‘The Beach’ which starred a very young looking Leonardo Di Caprio. The song sticks in my memory as it seemed to be a very popular choice for Irish radio DJs in the afternoons when I was doing my homework.

But to be honest, is it any wonder? The song and it’s music video are utterly perfect.

The video starts with the All Saints girls in various ghostly frames, moving around in blurry shots (very late 90s). It sort of looks like Derek Acorah of ‘Most Haunted’ could show up at any minute to attempt to exorcise the poor girls.

These kinds of sets remind me of when you first discovered that your Nokia 3320 had a night vision setting so you set about taking loads of blurry photos. 

As we move on from the ghost frames, All Saints declare they’ve ‘ran along many moors’ while they’re actually strolling through a field. Some might call that nitpicking, others a violation of the Sales of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980.

The best thing about this video though is that in between the random ghostly shots of the girls, you get a couple of seconds of footage from the movie. For example, you can have young, spinning Leo Di Caprio.

Or you can have another shot of Leo looking a little worse for wear in some sort of mysterious cavern.

Or if you’re not a Leo Di Caprio kind of person, you can have half a second or so of the lovely yet murderous looking Tilda Swinton.

Also for some unexplained reasons, there is a couple of seconds where a few of the girls appear to be singing in a concrete tunnel that you’d normally find on a building site. Why this happens is never fully explained but definitely adds to the overall mystery of the video.

The lyrics to the song are also fantastic, mainly because as a 6 year old I used to sing “I’m coming, drowning, swimming closer to you” which is a grim image for a 6 year old who at the time, could not swim and obviously didn’t understand the paradoxical problem of swimming and yet also drowning.

‘Pure Shores’ is still a banger, 18 years after it was released and All Saints still perform it to this day, as they should.

It harks back to a gentler, easier time and I for one am starting a campaign to have played once a day on national radio. We’d all be the better for it.

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About the author:

Rachel O'Neill

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