The second wave of the Hits series came to a conclusion with the release of The Ultimate Hits Album, its 20th volume and the final joint Telstar and BMG collaboration.
No sleep for the wicked. By August 1994 Kylie Minogue had signed to the Deconstruction label with her fifth album due in a matter of weeks. The multi-layered Confide In Me was chosen as the lead single, all sumptuous strings with an epic vocal. PopMatters compared it to Bjork. Things settle down with Corona’s Rhythm Of The Night, a pounding Italian anthem which was hopelessly devoted to the UK and Ireland’s dancefloors during that autumn. Reggae covers abound as Big Mountain show us the way on Baby I Love Your Way while CJ Lewis mixes emotions on disco smash Best Of My Love.
The admission fee is wholly justified by track 5: the amazing club house groove of M People’s One Night In Heaven (Thee Def Club Mix). It’s credited as the Morales Club Mix but they are the same. 7:20 in duration. Down to earth with PJ & Duncan AKA’s so bad it’s good If I Give You My Number and Take That’s earnest ballad Love Ain’t Here Anymore. Ladies night: Heavy D and The Boyz’ kool cover under the title This Is Your Night. It also samples George Benson’s Give Me The Night. Meanwhile two divas collide as Kym Mazelle and Jocelyn Brown give ZZ Top’s Gimme All Your Lovin’ a mighty reworking. And 2 Unlimited show their restrained side on the hypnotic harmonies of No One.
Oasis finally make their mark on a pop compilation with the inclusion of the optimistic Live Forever. A riposte to I Hate Myself And Want To Die. Their first top 10 single. It’s worth noting that Supersonic had already been included on Beechwood’s Indie Top 20 Volume 20. Time to move into downbeat territory. One of Féile ’94 surprise packets were the Crash Test Dummies with their compelling Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm. And Seal makes a return with the resigned melancholia of Prayer For The Dying – already featured on Now That’s What I Call Music 28. Back with a banger are The Grid on Rollercoaster’s evocative analogue synths. Snap featuring Summer’s Welcome To Tomorrow is a mournful jam and deserves a place among their canon.
The Prodigy and Voodoo People. Another super single lifted off Music For The Jilted Generation. The spoken parts are taken from The Shalimar, written and performed by Last Poet Gylan Kain while the main riff in the song is based on a sample of the Nirvana’s Very Ape. The Dust Brothers Remix of this song marked the last time, The Chemical Brothers were known under their original name. It’s followed by Shy FX and UK Apachi’s storming jungle breakthrough Original Nuttah. A wicked slice of jump up ragga. The road continues to twist with Suede’s glamtastic Dog Man Star taster 45 We Are The Pigs before Erik’s handbag house We Got The Love [a #55 gem]. Finally we go back to 1980. Eat To The Beat: Blondie’s Atomic updated by Diddy for ’94. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
The Prodigy – Voodoo People
Shy FX and UK Apachi – Original Nuttah
The Grid – Rollercoaster
Lest we forget
M People – One Night In Heaven (Morales Club Mix)
Missing tracks and other thoughts
The Ultimate Hits Album is a corker; the best since Snap! It Up – Monster Hits 2. The tunes are well-chosen with a number of uncommon picks that don’t really feature on other UK compilations. I genuinely found it difficult to narrow down the favourite tracks and could easily have selected four or five more. Chopping and changing looks like this:
Warren G and Nate Dogg – Regulate. Seasoned G-funk.
S*M*A*S*H – (I Want To) Kill Somebody. Here come the (angry) young man.
Manic Street Preachers – Revol or She Is Suffering. Are you going to The Manics?