Archive for England – Page 2

Never Enough – The Cure

  • First Appearance: September 29, 1990
  • Weeks on the Chart: 2
  • Album: Mixed Up
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? Yes.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Yes.

This is an album The Cure. It sounds exactly like you’d expect an album by The Cure to sound.

Every Beat Of The Heart – The Railway Children

  • First Appearance: September 8, 1990
  • Weeks on the Chart: 1
  • Album: Native Place
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No.

This song leads off the album on which it appears. It is also probably the most aggressively 80s song we’ve heard so far. Which I guess kind of caps off my observation that 1990s was still the 80s musically.

It features heavy use of simple synth lines, and just feels very 80s. Music Stop, the album’s second song feels like it’s trying to be a dance hit, but is just far too slow.

Wikipedia classifies this band as New Wave, which is fair. And if I’m seeming laconic, it’s because this falls into that area where I’m not wildly excited about this album, nor do I viciously hate it. It just happens to feel like a lot of other British Pop from the 80s.

I’ll Be Your Chauffeur – David J

  • First Appearance: August 18, 1990
  • Weeks on the Chart: 1
  • Album: Songs From Another Season
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No

I’d never heard this song before, but it was a really delightful ditty with clear echoes in current Belle and Sebastian in everything from the sparse instrumentation, to the bright bright guitars.

David J, the artist, was a member of Bauhaus, making him the second artist to pop up on this list with ties to the influential band, after Peter Murphy. All of which is a long way around of saying that I need to go back and listen to Bauhaus.

The album continues on with more quiet and contemplative songs with similarly sparse orchestration. Occasionally using acoustic guitars, along with background harmonicas that feel like they’re miles away to add texture to the songs, rather than to drive them.

I could go on and on. This is a really delightful and sweet album. It feels like you’re in David J’s living room and he’s just playing some songs for you. It’s really beautiful and well with the hour it will take to listen to it.

Jealous – Gene Loves Jezebel

  • First Appearance: August 11, 1990
  • Weeks on the Chart: 2 (non-consecutive)
  • Album: Kiss of Life
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? No

This is yet another band formed by British brothers. This time, identical twins Jay and Michael Aston.

Jealous is some serious hair rock that starts with dubiously rhyming “a lot” and “a fact” within the first minute. That’s tough to come back from. This song is popcorn. It’s cotton candy. Fun to have, but without much substance. This song, with only minor editing, feels like it could have been a Weird Al genre parody, like Dare to be Stupid, or Bob.

This album bounces between genuinely good songs and songs that are so over the top that they’re hard to take seriously. It’s really strange.

The only real thing I can say about this album is that it is REALLY extra.

Here’s Where the Story Ends – The Sundays

  • First Appearance: May 26, 1990
  • Weeks on the Chart: 1
  • Album: Reading, Writing & Arithmetic
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Oh yes.

In my mind, The Sundays are better known for the cover of the Rolling Stones’ Wild Horses. Spotify says that this track is more popular.

I didn’t recognize the band name or the song title, but once it started it immediately triggered something. It has that jangly guitar and smooth accented vocals that would later become trademarks of bands like Camera Obscura, and lyrical flourishes reminiscent of the Decemberists.

The rest of the album shares many of the those distinct characteristics as Here’s Where the Story Ends. But unsurprisingly, none are quite as catchy as the most popular song on the album.

Enjoy the Silence – Depeche Mode

  • First Appearance: April 21, 1990
  • Weeks on the Chart: 3
  • Album: Violator
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Yes.

Policy of Truth, another song on this album sat at #1 for one week starting June 2nd, but Personal Jesus is by far the most well-known track. And this still the most enjoyable.

Enjoy the Silence, much like Here’s Where The Story Ends is a song I’ve heard many times, but never associated the song with that title. The popular tracks are certainly more fun than the less popular ones, but those have a darker, more goth quality to them that has matched the dreariness of the the last few weeks in Boston.

I don’t have much else to say about Depeche Mode. What can I say that hasn’t already been said by other people? They’re good but kinda a downer.

Cuts You Up – Peter Murphy

  • First Appearance: February 10, 1990
  • Weeks on the Chart: 7
  • Album: Deep
  • Have I heard this song before (pre-listen)? No.
  • Have I actually heard this song before? Yes, at least I think so.

For a song that was apparently popular for two solid months, I’d have expected to at least have had the slightest memory of the name of the artist. It rang exactly no bells.

Upon hearing the song, it sounded incredibly familiar, in that generic 90s Brit Rock kinda way. Peter Murphy was in Bauhaus (along with another artist we’ll be seeing later), so it’s possible that I really haven’t heard this song, but the underlying influence was so widespread that it sounds like a lot of things I have.

This is the first album in the project that I didn’t really click with in any meaningful way. There’s nothing off-putting about it, but it didn’t draw me in like Book of Days or Automatic. It did make me want to go back and listen to more Bauhaus.