Awesome!! 2 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1991)

Awesome 2

Awesome 2 r

Review
“E! Ecstasy! M! Motherfucker, motherfucker! F! From us to you”.

Awesome!! 2 hit the racks during October 1991. While Awesome!! was an EMI release, the second volume also saw the involvement of Virgin and Polygram. Once again the “20 devastatin’ hits” were selected by Ashley Abram with Quick On The Draw on design. Note the catalogue number – CDVEP 1; it’s the opening one in a sequence of six compilations all curated by Mr Abram. Reviews of the others will follow in due course.

We launch with the gathering sound of James. They had supported The Smiths on their Irish tour of November 1984 and went on to release two moderate albums Stutter and Strip-Mine. Sit Down was originally released in the summer of 1989 and made #8 in John Peel’s Festive 50 of that year. In the real world, it failed to make the UK top 75. Their breakthrough came in 1990 when road the Madchester wagon with Come Home and How Was It For You. The accompanying LP Gold Mother was critically acclaimed and Sit Down was eventually re-recorded and given a second release in March 1991. It spent three weeks at #2 – denied by Chesney Hawkes’ The One And Only. Stand #2: Shiny Happy People became R.E.M.’s biggest UK hit to date. It starts side 2 of Out Of Time and is probably the album’s weakest track – despite the presence of Kate Pierson. Albatross.

The Wonder Stuff returned after an 18 month absence with The Size Of Cow, an irresistible melodic tune. EMF arrived in late ’90 with the rock ‘n’ sequencer sounds of Unbelievable. The song contains samples of Andrew Dice Clay throughout the track, namely the loud exclamation of “oh!” at the start of each chorus along with the words “you’re unbelievable” spoken during the bridge. Meanwhile The Shamen finally enjoyed a modicum of success with Move Any Mountain [a fresh remix of 1990’s Pro-Gen]. Also in their formative years were Blur and their second 45 There’s No Other Way. They played Dublin’s McGonagles that autumn; fans played tag in the alley outside while waiting for the doors to open. Ah youth – and then Voice Of The Beehive decided to cover The Partridge Family. I Think I Love You is both cloying and crunchy. This indie dance segment concludes with The Mock Turtles and their bass-driven cracker Can U Dig It?

Deacon Blue’s unusual pop and cajun mix that is Twist And Shout stormed the UK top 10 in August 1991. It was their third big hit – after Real Gone Kid and I’ll Never Fall In Love Again. Shades of Talking Heads. No connection with the track made famous by The Beatles. It’s followed by worldwide smash I Touch Myself from Australian band Divinyls. RIP Chrissy Amphlett. Still on a raunchy tip, Salt ‘N’ Pepa are back with Let’s Talk About Sex while Erasure draw an elevating disco stomper from Chorus – the super Love To Hate You. Time for scouse house – Oceanic’s Insanity; the cracking warehouse sound of misspent youth. Power as a function of resistance: things turn purple with Utah Saints and the Eurythmics + Gwen Guthrie-sampling What Can You Do For Me.

Sabrina Johnson’s Peace was remixed by Brothers In Rhythm who give it an uplifting rave gospel edge. The dude bros get their own slot next with the loved-up and wicked anthem Such A Good Feeling. Total ecstasy complete with whistles. OMD also came back from the wilderness in 1991 with the Sugar Tax LP; Pandora’s Box was a pleasant synth tribute to Louise Brooks. When Zoë met Youth: Sunshine On A Rainy Day did no business on its original outing in 1990. Martin Glover sorted her out with a new mix and the uplifting single reached #4. Time for a Utopian experience: heart, soul and cross. PM Dawn’s ace Set Adrift On Memory Bliss took the break from Paid In Full and entire melody from Spandau Ballet’s True. Sail away with Lenny Kravitz and the sweet soul sound of It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over. Dead dead good.

Favourite tracks
EMF – Unbelievable

Oceanic – Insanity

Brothers In Rhythm – Such A Good Feeling

Lest we forget
Divinyls – I Touch Myself

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12 Responses to Awesome!! 2 (EMI / Virgin / Polygram, 1991)

  1. Feel the Quality says:

    I thought both these albums were really good, especially the second one. I know 1991 would be the final year where we didn’t get three main Now series releases and so this series was unnecessary after two volumes (even if it wasn’t under the Now! banner) but it was fun while it lasted.

    • nlgbbbblth says:

      Yes, both of them are a smashing complement to the Nows of 1991. I like to have seen something similar in 1990 although it was great to get three volumes of Now Dance.

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  3. nlgbbbblth says:

    Note added regarding the catalogue number CDEVP 1. Can anybody guess what the others are?

    • Andrew Chinnock says:

      Hi Paul, Dreadful lack of answers here, lol! My initial thought was EMI/Virgin/Polygram, so thought Ultimate Rave and the Mega Dances. Had a look and was quite pleased with the outcome! I hadn’t come across the compilation ‘Loaded’ before, though.

      Thinking ahead a year to 1994 and the unity on these dance compilations vanished. After a very good Now Dance 94 volume 1, Polygram pulled out of the Now Dance franchise. Dance Zone won the battle against Now Dance, despite Now Dance moving swiftly to a 2-disc operation as a result of the competition (they were all doing it in 1994 until single cds returned en masse in 1995).

      Thinking about that split, a hypothetical question for you – would a Now Dance series in 1994 with the full Now team behind it have been better than the split Now Dance/Dance Zone? My answer would be a resounding ‘no’. More tracks came to the table as a result, call them fillers or whatever. A combined effort would have squeezed out some lesser tracks.

      Next one to ponder, hypothetically, of course! Nows from 1994 only compiled by EMI/Virgin, Polygram decide to go their own way. My head has just exploded!!

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