Released- 27th July 1992
Let’s see… Ice T releases the charmingly titled Cop Killer, which gives the Daily Mail something to do for a few weeks, David Bowie gets married again, and Guns ‘n’ Roses release November Rain notable for having the most hilariously overblown video of all time. I include this for your amusement.
I have discovered football. At the moment it appears as if I can choose side to support, and I’m flirting with the idea of supporting Newcastle United or Manchester United. This will continue for about 5 years, allowing me to enjoy the Cantona era, before I give in to the drudgery, dissapointment and majesty of my Dad’s team, Millwall. I also have a sticker album with Gary Lineker given the nickname Gary Glitter, which has become hugely inappropriate in the ensuing years…
If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were reduced down to make cracker toys, that track would be… On a Ragga Tip by SL2 because AY BADAY BAWALLA DI DAY.
Track by Track Breakdown
Erasure – “Take a Chance On Me”
You know you can’t outdo Abba. But Abba could never have gotten away with pumping synths and a Ragga breakdown, so it gets away with it by boldness and/or sheer stupidity.
CeCe Peniston – “Finally”
Absolutely a classic. Also impressively timeless. Could have been a JBs spin off in the 70’s, or a Mark Ronson track from last week. Isn’t either of those, it’s just a great soul track.
KWS – “Please Don’t Go”
The sum of it’s parts, essentially a poor 80’s ballad over a dance beat is transcended by a vocal that conveys vulnerability and hurt and actually makes it quite good!
Take That – “It Only Takes a Minute”
Who they? Starting as they mean to go on (save for the whole five members thing), an unimpeachable pop song from Manchester ‘s least clever musical export…
Nick Berry – “Heartbeat”
Deeply average cover of a Buddy Holly classic, for the deeply average TV show that still seems to be repeated ad infinitum.
Snap – “Rhythm Is a Dancer”
Dance pop classic. I can’t help but remember the godawful line I’m as serious as cancer being rhymed with the title… this led to the alternative lyric It will make you lose your hair in the chorus. Slight sense of shame there.
Utah Saints – “Something Good”
Hyperactive ADD music. I love it, especially the filter that makes it sound like the vocal is being forced through a seive.
The Cure – “Friday I’m In Love”
The Cure are a great pop band. It’s their serious po faced stuff that costs them. This is a joy, and probably their best since The Lovecats. Comparitively, A Forest or Camus referencing Killing an Arab are joyless affairs.
Marc Almond – “The Days of Pearly Spencer”
Tonally interesting when compared to the rest of the album with its soaring strings and country twang, but as a song, fairly pedestrian.
The Beautiful South – “Bell Bottomed Tear”
It’s not terrible by any stretch, but it’s too countrified for my tastes. Probably the weakest song they’ve done as yet.
Prince – “Thunder”
Not as strong as at his peak. But a great companion to When Doves Cry nonetheless. I love it when he makes a choir out of his voice, and a great break beat at the back of it all. 2good2btrue, as he himself might say.
U2 – “Even Better Than The Real Thing” (Paul Oakenfold Remix)
At last, one of U2’s better songs! Okay, it’s not One or Sunday Bloody Sunday, but I didn’t wish a cycling accident on Bono for making my ears hear it!
The Shamen – “L.S.I.”
A scruffy mess, but much like this author, just about pulls it off, I hope! It stands for Love Sex Intelligence by the way, which despite the vocal line trying to explain it to me, makes no sense at all!
Electronic – “Disappointed”
You can’t say you weren’t warned in the title. The best bits of New Order, Pet Shop Boys and The Smiths combine to create so much less than the sum of their parts.
Shakespears Sister – “I Don’t Care”
Probably their weakest single yet. Still one of the best songs on this record. Slightly stage musical sounding, and corking fun.
Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – “Do Re Me, So Far So Good”
Great song from a a band who had more than a few. If you don’t know them, a cursory look at their song titles should sell you. The Only Living Boy in New Cross, Bloodsport for All and the above all shining examples of a silly wit that is irresistible. Have a good time. All the time.
Ugly Kid Joe – “Everything About You”
Maybe it’s just that I’m a grumpy sod, but it’s nice to hear a song this negative once in a while. Especially when it’s done with a sense of fun, like this is.
SL2 – “On a Ragga Tip”
The next time you’re in a bad mood, find a room to yourself, put this record on and dance around like a massive prat. Better than prozac.
The Orb – “Blue Room”
A first for Now! A nice bit of post club stoner dance music. Not great when sober, but pleasantly dubby and meandering.
Richard Marx –“Hazard”
Everyone picks on Zeppo, but clearly Richard is the worst Marx brother? This is his best song, and at best it could be described as plodding.
Elton John – “The One”
Dull. The good news is he’s only a couple of years away from a slight return to form. The bad news is its brief and a few years after that he hits a really big low.
Roy Orbison – “I Drove All Night”
A gorgeous classic that some divot has posthumously ruined by putting really shitty instrumentation beneath. Whoever produced this version should be pegged to a beach as the tide rolls in.
Jimmy Nail – “Ain’t No Doubt”
Entertaining song. The hilarious was he deadpan the phrase ‘she’s lying’ makes me think he should be bundled with every polygraph machine ever sold.
Joe Cocker – “Unchain My Heart”
Unnecessary rerecorded version that adds a ton of extra bells and whistles, but removes the soul of the original. A spayed dissapointment.
Curtis Stigers – “You’re All That Matters to Me”
Old fashioned, and somewhat promising. Let down by a limited and uninteresting chorus. A strong chorus would have made it a great song.
Wilson Phillips – “You Won’t See My Cry”
It’s not for me, but credit where it’s due, Wilson Phillips has this generic soul ballad game locked down.
Crowded House – “Four Seasons in One Day”
Lovely, analogue warm, Beatlesy verses, let down by a jarring, dull chorus. Half of a brilliant song.
Annie Lennox – “Why”
Annie Lennox hits her second creative peak here, with a very sad, but truly lovely song. The arty clever cleverness of The Eurythmics gone, you can see the real songwriting talent at last.
George Michael & Elton John – “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”
First Electronic, then this. 1992 appears to be the year of crap collaboration. Horrible song from two artists capable of much more than this.
Diana Ross – “One Shining Moment”
An improvement on her last single, but still a waste of a talented artist, deserving of much better than makeweight ballads.
Vanessa Williams – “Save the Best for Last”
I can only associate this song with Nescafe Gold Blend. Similarly bland, and will leave you aching for something a little less processed and a little more sophisticated. This review is brought to you by Waitrose Own Blend single origin Javan filter coffee.
En Vogue – “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”
Yes. Just yes. Funky as all hell. So much attitude and funk, it’s a wonder George Clinton, Prince and James Brown don’t turn up on the Funkadelic Mothership.
Soul II Soul – “Joy”
Clearly a miscommunication here. Not joy, Boredom.
Incognito – “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”
Why not take a crap all over one of Stevie Wonder’s best songs? It’s not like he’ll see you! Horrible end to a good record.
18.5 from a possible 34. A meagre 54%, but it does have On a Ragga Tip, so lets not be hasty with the pitchforks. a lot of disappointing efforts from established acts, though.
This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.