In my quest to review the entire history of pop through the medium of the Now albums, I have now listened to 1003 songs by 546 different artists, across 30 seperate volumes of the series, which puts me in a hideously unique position as a data geek (and has also permanently affected my ability to accurately judge music forever). I now have a large amount of information on all manner of musical matters.
So first up, who dominated the first half of the 90’s? Quality may be greater than quantity, but let’s be honest, those royalties don’t build up themselves!
2 Unlimited – 7 songs
When arcaeologists uncover what remains of our civilisation in 500 years, the perfectly preserved vinyl record will make them ask, ‘What was a noenoenoeninoenoe?’
East 17– 6 songs
In terms of volume, we can say without doubt that East 17 beat Take That in their first skirmishes. A win for Walthamstow and baked potato based mishaps.
Erasure/ Eternal/ Chaka Demus and the Pliers– 5 songs
If anybody can work out what links these three bands, please do let me know.
Probably the better way of working out what was great about the first half of the 90’s, other than Live & Kicking and The Simpsons
1) R Kelly/ Take That– 100% from 3 songs
Both still going 30 years later, one as a demented comic genius, and the other gradually exhausting the goodwill their comeback engendered in 90’s nostalgics.
2) M People– 88% from 5 songs
If Miranda Has proven anything, it’s that there’s still a lot of love for Heather Small, and her unique voice. Such fun!
3) Ace of Base/ Tina Turner– 83% from 3 songs
Well here are two distinctly different things. Obviously Tina still has it (she still hasn’t lost it!), whereas I have no idea what happened to Ace of Base after 1995. Where have you dissapeared to, Swedish pop reggae?
4) East 17– 75% from 6 songs
They may have had the most songs, but their inability to make a good ballad, save for Stay Another Day, has likely cost them the top spot.
5) Eternal/ Erasure– 70% from 5 songs
Again, compare and contrast. Erasure have stood the test of time, Eternal less so. Then Erasure golden period spans a decade or so, and Eternal’s but a couple of years.
1) Richard Marx– 0% from 3 songs
I’ve run out of insults.
2) Simply Red– 17% from 3 songs
From the best of the last batch, to one of the worst here. Sadly it’s mostly due to a batch of lazy singles.
3) Capella– 25% from 4 songs
A great first single, followed by seriously diminishing returns.
4) Juliet Roberts- 33% from 3 songs
Terribly unfair, her low marks come from having the same bad single featured twice!
5) Chaka Demus and the Pliers- 40% from 5 songs
And again, a little unfair. Two great singles and three bland fillers. Still, you knew the risks. Now fetch those pliers
Which Volumes should I buy on eBay?
And scraping the barrel in last place… Now 25.
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