in the early 1990s, there was no shortage of dance groups from new york garnering national notoriety at both the club and radio level. but only a few were able to brilliantly fuse the complicated feelings of joy and isolation, self discovery, camp and humor into catchy pop hooks the way duo uncanny alliance did.
uncanny alliance were a dance outfit in the early 1990s from new york. the group consisted of producer brinsley evans and vocalist e.v. mystique. the pair met in the late 1980s at the defunct legendary new york night club paradise garage. after a development deal with columbia records fell through in 1991 the pair reformed as uncanny alliance the following year.
it wasn’t long before the duo became an underground sensation with their debut single, the subversive “i got my education.” the song became a massive hit in the new york months before it was officially released as a single. the buzz helped the group score a major label deal with a&m records.
the group’s superb follow-up single was the hook-laden self-love and declarative gem “i’m beautiful dammit.” released in late 1993, the dance/pop song was a kind of trojan horse radically addressing racism, homophobia and european beauty standards.
“i got my education” and “i’m beautiful dammit” were two of dance music’s most interesting songs of 1992 and 1993. while tongue and cheek at the service, both songs were a commentary of the realities experienced by marginalized young people. unfortunately, like their celebratory third single “everybody up,” the songs failed to gain sizable traction at crossover radio.
uncanny alliance released their only album “the groove won’t bite” in the spring of 1994. but with little backing from a&m records, the remarkable collection of songs failed to find the wide audience it deserved.
after the release of their final single “happy day,” which was featured in the 1996 adam sandler film “happy gilmore,” uncanny alliance disbanded. in 1998, the divine miss m better milder covered “i’m beautiful dammit” for her “bathhouse betty” album.
uncanny alliance were ahead of their time and while mainstream success eluded the duo, their output remains some of the dance songs of the early 1990s.