Released- 15th November 1993
Albums of the year again!
Nirvana – In Utero A
The Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream A-
Wu-Tang Clan – Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) A+
Pearl Jam – Vs. C
Counting Crows – August And Everything After D-
Björk – Debut A
Blur – Modern Life is Rubbish A
Liz Phair – Exile in Guyville B+
Suede – Suede C
Slowdive – Souvlaki Honestly, I’ve never listened to it, but a B because souvlaki is all kinds of tasty. What I’ve heard of Slowdive is pretty average though.
I get my first album this Christmas. It’s a compilation called The Best of Dance 93. It’s a compilation of all the reggae, dance and rap songs I’ve been enjoying this year. It was the only one I could find which had Boom Shake The Room on it too. Check the cover art!
A word of warning. My second ever album is Psyche, by PJ and Duncan.
If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to be exiled from West Philadelphia, as the result of one little fight, that track would be… Boom Shake the Room, as you probably worked out from the setup. Sorry Radiohead and Spin Doctors, you’re both brilliant. Just in a different way.
Track by Track Breakdown
UB40 – “(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You”
You can’t spell mid 90’s reggae revival without UB40. Except you can. There’s no 4 or U or B in that sentence. Half baked cover, carried by the strength of the original.
Pet Shop Boys – “Go West”
I loved this when it came out, and only found out what it was about a couple of years ago. Love it all the more as a result. Get a traffic cone on your head and dance!
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax”
I think I love what this song stands for way more than I actually like the song. I’m not sure I have ever listened to the whole of it. It wins on a noble cause and upsetting sad little bigots.
This is another lazy copy and paste job, as Now 2 got to this song first!
M People – “One Night in Heaven”
Unarguably naff- how they won the Mercury Music Prize remains a mystery to me, but Heather Small sounds like nobody else, and the chorus lands it’s punches well.
Eternal – “Stay”
Pop R&B from back when they were a four piece. Great drum samples, and definitely better than the average dreck a lot of this scene was responsible for.
SWV – “Right Here”
Properly summery laid back R&B. A low calorie treat.
DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince – “Boom! Shake the Room”
The other life changing single I got in 1993. On cassette. I still can’t find anything to dislike about this song, from Will Smith’s undeniable charm, to the Funky Worm sample. Love it, love it, love it.
The Shamen – “Comin’ On”
The Shamen go reggae. Electro reggae. Nowhere near as fun as that makes it sound, though credit for a Dagenham accent over this being an entertaining dichotomy.
Stakka Bo – “Here We Go”
Words cannot express how completely irritating and dreadful this song is. Like being trapped in a lift with a coked up city boy.
Chaka Demus and Pliers – “She Don’t Let Nobody”
Not a bad song, but really dull. There is nothing new under the sun, but there’s no need for this.
Tina Turner – “Disco Inferno”
Normally a cover this faithful would get short shrift from me, but the addition of Tina Turner adds to the original. It’s between this and The Crazy World of Arthur Brown for my cremation.
Belinda Carlisle – “Big Scary Animal”
Sadly a simple and catchy start and a great title fall into simple mindedness and become ultimately forgettable. A lot of potential, but let down in the execution.
Spin Doctors – “Two Princes”
Gleefully infectious pop rock. If you want to grin like you’re a little bit simple, just go ahead now. And if you want to disagree with me, I’ll kill you in your bed now.
R.E.M. – “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite”
Automatic for the People is pretty much a whole album of great singles. This is one of the weaker tracks and it’s still a great song.
The Levellers – “This Garden”
Lefty, eco, indie folk. I like these four things, but I can’t help but feel I’m being told off rather than enjoying the song. The Levellers have some great songs, but this is not among them.
James – “Laid”
When I was 16, I got free tickets to see James, and my Dad came and gave me a lift. He only knew Sit Down but fell in love with this song, and to this day will listen to it at top volume after a few drinks. Such is its universal joy.
Crowded House – “Distant Sun”
Guitar bands appear to be in again from the last few tracks. This is some dull drive time filler though. It’s feast or famine with Crowded House. Sometimes sublime, sometimes somnambulistic.
Radiohead – “Creep”
Full disclosure. I love Radiohead. Four years from now, 13 year old Ben will save his pocket money for two months to buy OK Computer when it comes out. This song is prior to their creative peak, but is still fantastic, and made them a name in the states. They’re so much more fucking special (cha-chunk, cha-chunk) than this song suggests.
Meat Loaf – “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”
Gloriously overblown power ballad from one of the most likeable artists ever. His love of using brackets to make stupidly long titles for his songs is to his credit too. I remember it being at the top end of the charts for an obscenely long time too.
Cappella – “U Got 2 Let the Music”
I like this one more than the actual content of the song deserves. It’s a standard dance track with a slightly urgent keyboard riff, but I have a certain fondness for it.
Haddaway – “What Is Love”
What I remembered as a tacky but fun early 90’s euro dance track is actually surprisingly soulful. Colour me pleasantly surprised!
2 Unlimited – “Maximum Overdrive”
Two brilliant singles will have to do. Sounds the same as the last few, but less enjoyable.
Culture Beat – “Mr Vain”
Genius levels of dumb dance music. Call it insane but I can’t not enjoy this song.
The Goodmen – “Give It Up”
Percussive samba goodness. The sound of a carnival distilled into 4 minutes of dancey fun.
Leftfield & Lydon – “Open Up”
Around this time, dance music starts moving forward again in new directions. This collaboration with the once Johnny Rotten is brilliant proof, as he shouts seditious slogans over a sparse beat. A rightful classic and probably the last time Lydon was relevant, unless you really like butter adverts.
Apache Indian – “Boom Shack-A-Lak”
Fantastically stupid and catchy ragga. I think it was used in Dumb & Dumber which is wonderfully fitting.
Urban Cookie Collective – “Feels Like Heaven”
Back of a fag packet lyrics, and a very standard major key dance arrangement. Unexciting.
Captain Hollywood Project – “More and More”
Honestly, this could be by any European dance act from this era. Dancing by numbers.
Juliet Roberts – “Free Love”
Probably her best track yet, but still smacks of Capital FM’s Dance Anthems. By which I mean the most dull and predictable songs containing around 120 beats per minute.
Jamiroquai – “Too Young To Die”
Jamiroquai, and specifically Jay Kay and his stupid hats and ‘hey man, don’t be evil’ politics irritate me worse than sitting bare arsed on fiberglass. But this does have a good chorus. Grudgingly.
Dina Carroll – “Don’t Be a Stranger”
As a nine year old, I loathed this song. How small minded I was. A gorgeous arrangement, atmospheric strings, and belting chorus make for a hell of a ballad.
Take That – “Pray”
Still yet to release a bad single. Breezy, lovelorn pop, which makes sense of why they did so well.
Gabrielle – “Going Nowhere”
Laughably poor follow up to a genuinely good song. Go back to Now 25 and just listen to Dreams again.
Lena Fiagbe – “Gotta Get It Right”
More let’s be nice to each other preaching, but this time with some fun, rapid fire verses, so much more enjoyable.
Soul II Soul – “Wish”
I wish for more wishes, world peace, and the four minutes I wasted on this song back.
Lisa Stansfield – “So Natural”
Repetitive, stale R&B ballad. Half a song, stretched over 5 minutes.
Björk & David Arnold – “Play Dead”
A first appearance from Björk, who a generation later, is still yet to release a duff album. David Arnold’s swooping arrangement must be at least half of what landed him the James Bond job too. Sounds like nothing else, in the best of all possible ways.
Lenny Kravitz – “Heaven Help”
Lightweight ballad. Kravitz I such better served by rockier material, although he does have a good voice for this.
Go West – “The Tracks of My Tears”
For God’s sake just listen to Smokey Robinson instead. This is sandpaper to the originals 3 ply roll.
Janet Jackson – “That’s the Way Love Goes”
Not her most exciting single, but if this were recorded by the weeknd today, it would totally still get hype for its moody R&B stylings.
23 out of 40. 58% great, and this is out of 40 tracks, the biggest now yet! Good work after the terrible 25th.
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.