“In 1994, there were countless reasons why pop music was almost unspeakably great. Here, for your delectation, are 18 of them.” Unlike previous volumes, relevant extracts from each singles’ review are not provided. So it’s case of the music doing the talking.
There can only be one opening track – the stupendously great Supersonic. It had already compiled been on Indie Top 20 Volume 20 so see my review for some thoughts on that and Veruca Salt’s brilliant Seether. The Oasis B-sides were the plaintive Take Me Away on the 7″, I Believe (Live) on the 12″ with the searing Columbia (White Label Demo) confined to the CD. 1994 saw Suede top the dizzy heights of the previous year. Valentine’s Day brought us a brand new single; the epic Stay Together which ran for over eight minutes. The single edit is included here – half the length. The 12″ – itself an opulent artistic statement with its splendid gatefold sleeve – also contained two blindingly brilliant B-sides, The Living Dead and My Dark Star. It was the last single released while Bernard Butler was still in the band. Next come the dazzling teenage pop-punk princesses from Plumstead. Shampoo’s teen anthem Trouble. And then, released in a limited edition of 1,994 copies, Gene’s savage & melodramatic For The Dead. It sold out in two days.
We go in a new direction for track 5, Transglobal Underground’s heavy ‘n’ beaty Earth Tribe which is followed by Fun-Da-Mental’s deeply topical Dog Tribe, complete with the uncensored C18 phone call sample at the start. It’s followed by the album version of Nick Cave’s sweeping Do You Love Me? from Let Love In, jingle-jangle. I got hold of Ghosts Of The Civil Dead around this time, dubbed from Late Night Movies. Keeping the rage going are the delightful S*M*A*S*H and their cathartic energy rush of I Want To Kill Somebody: “Margaret Thatcher, Jeffrey Archer, Michael Heseltine, John Major, Virginia Bottomley … Especially.” And there’s more politics with Prophets Of Da City’s catchy post-apartheid Never Again. Pulp’s Do You Remember The First Time? is sublime; a sweeping rush of nostalgia – Source Enforcer: “Eighteen years old. The whole of my life ahead of me and this song embodied that feeling of youthful optimism. Now I listen to this and feel slightly depressed at how fast the last twenty years has passed and all the wasted opportunities.”
Noel Gallagher described Blur’s Parklife as “Like southern England personified.” It was originally going to be titled London and the intended album sleeve was to be of a fruit and vegetable cart. Instead we got a shot of greyhounds racing while the majority of the photos in the CD booklet were taken in Walthamstow Stadium. We get the synth pop PSB-ish Girls & Boys; the inventors of bi-sexual culture. Its beats melt into the Hall’s Edit of Underworld’s Dark & Long, which is both Balearic and night moody. And then Ice Cube’s timeless roller You Know How We Do It followed by Sabres Of Paradise and the ultra mysterious spybreaks of The Theme. Meanwhile Supergrass serve up a cracking debut single Caught By The Fuzz, oozing punk rock energy. That just leaves time for Galliano’s funked up Long Time Gone before Terrorvision’s surprisingly subtle Pretend Best Friend complete with jazzy interludes. Definitely the best one in the series to date. No maybes.
Oasis – Supersonic
Pulp – Do You Remember The First Time?
Lest we forget
Underworld – Dark & Long