We have come to the end of the Hits series’ first wave. This time around the sloppiness was taken to a new level with the catalogue number – HITS CD 15 – despite it being the 14th Hits release. It was compiled by Mark Arthurworrey for Cookie Jar TV Limited. Another disappointment was the partially-mixed tracks – if you’re eyeing up this compilation to fill some gaps in your single-edits-on-CD collection, then look elsewhere.
Fresh from the off: Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s crucial cut Do You Want Me from the Black Magic LP. A welcome entry in the golden age of hip hop that seamlessly blends into Kenny Thomas’s sweet soul of Thinking About Your Love. Like many others I shocked to see that he was a white guy. Then it’s a ray of scouse sunshine with Sonia’s banging Only Fools (Never Fall In Love). Barging into the presence of greatness are New Kids On The Block and the hard-edged Call It What You Want. The original Step By Step take was give a club remix by Robert Clivillés and David Cole. It also featured an intro by Freedom Williams. The jams stay hot with the single mix of Kylie Minogue’s Shocked with its Jazzy P rap.
We come down to earth with Chesney Hawkes’ follow-up to The Only And Only. I’m A Man Not A Boy breezes along with shades of Springsteen sax. The Simpsons continue to sing the blues with Deep, Deep Trouble. Will Smith on backing vocals, a good groove. And right afterwards is a top summer cut from Driza Bone – the smooth barbecue soul of Real Love. Whitney Houston’s indignant adultery riposte My Name Is Not Susan and Danni Minogue’s tight dance pop Success come next. Kylie’s younger sibling was extremely memorable as teen punk Emma Jackson in Home And Away during 1989-1990. Emma – who was Ailsa’s niece – exited by terminating her relationship with Paul Jensen, took a job on the Gold Coast and then left to become an air hostess.
Difficult second album stuff: Move That Body was a rather formulaic effort from Technotronic. Everybody dance now with C&C Music Factory’s feelgood club sound of Here We Go. Welcome to the jungle: the wicked drum ‘n’ bass sound of Tribal Base. The guilty parties? The Rebel MC, Tenor Fly and Barrington Levy. Jump up ’cause it’s party time. Cubic 22’s crazy frenzy that is Night In Motion. Quick response from Quadrophonia and their bangin’ hip house sound – Wave Of The Future. I wrote for luck, they sent me you. I sent for juice, you gave me cola. 7 Ways To Love – a constant late night presence on MTV’s Party Zone; catch it during rapid eye movement.
Disc 2 starts with the euphoric synth rush of Erasure’s Chorus. The parent album remains one of their strongest LPs. Seal was also tripping a heavenly sound in ’91; Future Love Paradise has a great bassline and awesome production. Remember was positivity was socially acceptable? PM Dawn jump off with the fly A Watchers Point Of View. Let the carnival begin: Human Nature by Gary Clail turns out to be as dancefloor-friendly as a hand grenade. R.E.M.’s Shiny Happy People arrives to paint a smile on everybody’s face while Pop Will Eat Itself have a rare slip in quality control with the lukewarm 92 Degrees. However the reissue of Sheriff Fatman arrives to save the day; trailing on the coat-tails of the successful 30 Something LP. A true indie classic. Nicholas Van Whatsisface indeed.
Exit stage left. Alice Cooper’s Hey Stoopid is a tame beast while Rod Stewart’s Motown Song was never a favourite. Nice sentiment but a somewhat lousy execution. The race to the bottom continues with Bette Midler’s beastly cover of From A Distance. There’s a slight glimpse of light as Gloria Estefan serves up the tasty Remember Me With Love before Alison Limerick’s corking anthem Where Love Lives. Frankie Knuckles in the house.
“Where Love Lives (Come On In) is the greatest dance record of all time because it’s got everything. It swings, it makes girls pout, boys preen and hearts sing. There’s a touch of sadness about it but it’s incredibly uplifting, reaching a bittersweet joy that only the most spiritual of house achieves. Ms Limerick – whose subsequent career never lived up to this – sings with a throaty, controlled abandon, hitting the high notes while arms hit the ceiling. Even the lyrics are cool: strong woman sends out her love but gives her lover a bit of a slagging while she’s about it”. (Mixmag)
I write this on the 20th anniversary of Eric Cantona’s kung fu kick. From Palace to Waters: Crystal chilled our minds with the creepy video for chugging disco of Gypsy Woman (La Da Dee). Its fading beats usher in the final slow set with Beverley Craven’s spellbinding late night tale Promise Me. Some big band swing next with Harry Connick Jnr’s surprisingly catchy We Are In Love. The final roll comes from Rick Astley and his driving optimism of Never Knew Love. Anne Dudley on strings. The art, the art. The noise, the noise. The sound, the sound. The sound, the sound.
“The sunlight rising over the horizon
Just a distant memory, a dawn chorus
Birds singing, bells ringing
In our hearts, in our minds”.
Erasure – Chorus
Kylie Minogue – Shocked
Alison Limerick – Where Love Lives (Come On In)
Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – Sheriff Fatman
Lest we forget
Gary Clail – Human Nature
Missing tracks and other thoughts
Definitely worth picking up – and there are enough copies out there. A solid listen that could have been improved if these made the grade:
Electronic – Get The Message. Not to be confused with Getting Away With It.
Wedding Present – Dalliance. Quiet / loud. All the songs sound the same.
Soft Cell – Tainted Love ’91. Ten years on; still magic.
Curve – Coast Is Clear. Lead track on the Frozen EP. Immense.
Kraftwerk – The Robots. Fresh update for 1991 and The Mix.
Guns N’ Roses – You Could Be Mine. Just an illusion.