The front cover of Shine 10 is like a Network 2 graphic or programme slide. Or a promo for Heineken’s Green Energy Festival that was a regular May bank holiday event. Very 1998. The chosen artists are Eagle-Eye Cherry, Garbage, Space, The Seahorses, Reef, Radiohead, Pulp, Fatboy Slim, Catatonia, The Dandy Warhols, Ian Brown and Embrace. Good times.
Garbage are Shine 10’s Kajagoogoo with two entries, both from Version 2.0. I Think I’m Paranoid is first, full of bendy twists and turns. Later on we get the dark Push It; Shirley said “It’s about the schizophrenia that exists when you try to reconcile your desires and demons with the need to fit in. It’s a song of reassurance.” Both tracks were heavily caned on MTV and are burned-in heavily on my memories of that era. Here come ace Catatonia whose Road Rage is instantly dated as late ’90s with its “We all live in the space age” lyric. Next is the gentle strum of Eagle Eye Cherry’s Save Tonight – “Fight the break of dawn” always gets me while Ian Brown’s My Star is nicely played space rock. In its wake, the death row blues of Embrace and All You Good Good People. Trigger Happy TV. Just say no! The Dandy Warhols smug anti-drug anthem Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth still raises a knowing eyebrow; caught in the shadow of Bohemian Like You.
The ubiquitous Rockafeller Skank was everywhere in ’98, its repeated line “Right about now, the funk soul brother / Check it out now, the funk soul brother”, a truncated vocal sample of rapper Lord Finesse on the Vinyl Dogs’ Vinyl Dog Vibe. Meanwhile Space are Shine 10’s UB40 with two entries, neither of which are Avenging Angels. Begin Again carries a certain orchestral flourish but doesn’t hold a candle to Natalie Imbruglia’s sprawling Big Mistake. Later on there’s the enchanting Ballad Of Tom Jones featuring Cerys Matthews. Next are Mansun and the almost epic Closed For Business before the cinematic genius of Rialto’s Untouchable, proving that lighting can strike twice. Two drummers as well. And then Reef’s Yer Old, the obligatory to post for your friends’ FB birthday timelines. Elsewhere Warm Jets’ Hurricane, a much improved radio edit which leads into the Super Furry Animals’ superb Badfinger-style ballad Ice Hockey Hair. 1997’s best album was Primal Scream’s Vanishing Point and Burning Wheel, already a classic was a magnificent banger. Check out the Echo Dek remix album too; a box of 45s or 8 track LP.
As I write this, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones have racked up 29 million views for The Impression That I Get, a key example of the ska punk genre that’s impossible to dislike. Unlike Chumbawamba’s hypocritical Amnesia which is one of the few blights on the disc which ends with the Norman Cook Remix of Brimful Of Asha. CD2 starts with Pulp’s thoughtful A Little Soul, equally gentle like Help The Aged. I recently revisited the deluxe 2CD of This Is Hardcore and the extra tracks are real lost classics. Radiohead’s exquisite and mystifying Karma Police blends into Bernard Butler’s almost gospel Stay. Meanwhile The Best Of James was trailed by the immaculate swagger of Destiny Calling: “Cute ones are usually gay.” whereas The Seahorses’ arrogance manages to carry Love Me And Leave Me over the line. Going quiet, Travis drop the melodic love song More Than Us before Shed Seven’s rare misstep She Left Me On Friday and Silver Sun’s catchy Golden Skin.
Drugstore join forces with Thom Yorke for the (still) slight El Presidente while the landfill beckons for Puressence and their cliched This Feeling. Pop fans will delight in spotting Sophie Ellis Bextor as fronting The Audience on the wry and knowing A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed. Shades of Simpsons Moz when looking back now. And speaking of such things…Gene’s Where Are They Now is a melancholic masterpiece. For the last furlong, there’s a step down in quality starting with Baby Bird’s aimless dirge Bad Old Man and bottoming out with the atrocious Nanny In Manhattan (Lilys). In between there’s Ocean Colour Scene’s sentimental It’s A Beautiful Thing and the Stereophonics’ driving Local Boy In The Photograph and The Levellers’ upbeat Celebrate. Bringing up the digital rear are Symposium and the anthemic Blue while we finish with a relative obscurity, Comfort’s The Proof Of You, a strangely anodyne creation that draws you back in. “Just a plastic chair.”
Primal Scream – Burning Wheel
Rialto – Untouchable
James – Destiny Calling
Gene – Where Are They Now
Lest we forget
The Audience – A Pessimist Is Never Disappointed