The Best Of Shine (Polygram TV, 1998)

After 10 uniformly strong volumes and one impressive round up of 1997, Polygram TV wound down the Shine franchise with a Best Of released in late 1998. It was an enhanced CD which I dreaded as they always crashed my Compaq PC. Tracks sourced as follows:
Shine: James – Sit Down, Suede – Animal Nitrate
Shine Too: Elastica – Waking Up, Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo, Paul Weller – The Changingman, The Stone Roses – Love Spreads
Shine 3: Pulp – Common People
Shine 4: Ocean Colour Scene – The Riverboat Song
Shine 5: The Wannadies – You And Me Song, Ash – Goldfinger, Shed Seven – Going For Gold
Shine 6: The Cardigans – Love Fool
Shine 7: Radiohead – Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Shine 8: Placebo – Nancy Boy, Mansun – Wide Open Space, Reef – Place Your Hands, Cast – Free Me, Eels – Novacaine For The Soul
Shine Best Of ’97: Supergrass – Richard III, The Seahorses – Love Is The Law
Shine 10: Embrace – All You Good Good People, Ian Brown – My Star, Cornershop – Brimful Of Asha (Norman Cook Remix)
Curiously nothing was included from Shine 9.

In what was presumably an incentive to buyers, 13 of the 38 tracks had not previously appeared on a Shine release, albeit none of them were obscure. These were: Garbage – Stupid Girl, Republica – Ready To Go, The Charlatans – The Only One I Know, Manic Street Preachers – You Love Us, Blur – M.O.R., Chumbawamba – Tubthumping, Oasis – All Around The World, Oasis – Wonderwall, Catatonia – Mulder And Scully, Space – Avenging Angels, Primal Scream – Loaded, Prodigy – Breathe, Underworld – Born Slippy

There’s a line in Garbage’s Stupid Girl that’s oddly prescient of social media. “You pretend you’re anything just to be adored” could sum up the user experience in any number of platforms. Nominations were numerous – two Grammy Awards, Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group, an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist and an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Song. Shirley Manson said that it was about “squandering potential” which is something that many of us can identify with. Select referred to the song as “mighty doomy pop neatly tailored to enhance one’s natural discontentment.” No matter the outlook, it’s timeless for that generation & future ones.

SITU 30L was the catalogue number for the limited edition version of The Charlatans’ Some Friendly LP. It came in a white PVC sleeve in which the regular cover fitted snugly within. The street date – 8 October 1990 – was one week after the Pixies’ legendary National Stadium concert. In a marketing move that harked back to Factory’s c.1983, The Only One I Know was left off the vinyl. A top 10 hit during May, it became (and still is) the band’s signature song with its swirling organ sound like Hush. The follow-up, Then, a steady groover is included on side 1 and holds its own on what’s a very strong, spacious and melodic debut. The band would go onto release two non-album singles in 1991, Over Rising and the now almost forgotten Me In Time. Their second album, the atmospheric Between 10th And 11th was even better, benefiting from Flood’s amazing production.

The cobwebs are swept away by the rush and sheer energy of the Manic Street Preachers’ You Love Us. Yes, it’s the Heavenly version that’s on The Best Of Shine. I was one of the lucky ones who saw the band play a 25 minute set at the Back Of The Mansion, Waterford on 26 April 1991. The next day, Blitz Records was flooded with people the next day – all looking for the Motown Junk 12″. He had one copy in stock. You Love Us is just the equal of the previous single, a stupendously arrogant sentiment married to a thrilling musical performance. They would shortly sign to Columbia Records and life would never be the same again. On that fateful Saturday afternoon of 27 April, we boarded the Rapid Express to Dublin, catching the first date of Morrissey’s Kill Uncle tour at the National Stadium. What a rock ‘n’ roll weekend that was, still the most intense concert experience of my life.

Blur’s M.O.R. owes a massive debt to Lodger-era David Bowie, specifically Boys Keep Swinging and Fantastic Voyage. Bowie and Eno eventually received a credit on the Blur song after some legal intervention. Here we get the promo Road edit which lasts exactly 3:00. Meanwhile Space’s catchy Avenging Angels – contrary to popular belief – is not a cover of Robbie Williams’ Angels with slightly different lyrics. In summary, the Best Of Shine is a somewhat inessential yet solid listen with not too many surprises. Considering it just has two discs to work it, is an decent summary of a fairly sprawling period for those who don’t want to delve any deeper. If you do, take a look at Rhino’s The Brit Box, Martin Green’s top notch Super Sonics or Kevin Cummins’ Caught Between The Landslide.

Favourite tracks
Garbage – Stupid Girl

Blur – M.O.R.

Ian Brown – My Star

Paul Weller – The Changingman

Lest we forget
The Stone Roses – Love Spreads

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