22
Apr 08

SLIK – “Forever And Ever”

FT + Popular76 comments • 3,755 views

#384, 14th February 1976

Midge Ure is one of those pop figures who joins a bunch of dots, perhaps to a greater degree than his observed talent might suggest. From this boy band to New Pop to the charity records boom, via a tangential role (and almost much more than that, if he’s to be believed) in the Pistols story – he’s been around. That’s all to come: here and now he’s in Slik, chasing the last of the rollerbux with this preposterous and almost fantastic record. While some mid-70s boybeat looks forward to Westlife sluggishness, the flagrant gothy grandiosity of “Forever And Ever” nudges at more enjoyable futures: the Max Martin Backstreet Boys at their most epic, maybe? At the very least Ure himself remembered how effective a wash of sound and a muffled drumbeat could be in setting a mood.

That’s the story in the verses: the jump from there to the scarves-above-yer-heads pop on the chorus is a connection as odd as Midge ever made, and rousing though it is in a by-the-book way, you can’t help but feel a little bit deflated. I’m not sure pop technology had advanced enough to give “Forever And Ever” the monstrous refrain its intro demands, but this chummy compromise is a shift too far. Even so, there’s plenty to enjoy here and as cynical bandwagon-chasers go this is one of the classics. I particularly like the bogus outrage in Ure’s delivery when he asks how his girl could possibly have doubted his sincerity. You half expect Slik to come back in yelling “SUCKER!” a half-second after the song ends.

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Comments

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  1. 61
    Billy Smart on 24 Apr 2008 #

    And the things that I bought the first compilation for – ‘Oh Lori’, ‘Pinball’, ‘Say You Don’t Mind’, ‘Dancing in the City’, etc – admittedly, I was too young to be a pop consumer at the time, but surely these are all obscurities by now? A real album of guilty pleasures would be full of ‘Whispering Grass’, ‘The Streak’ and ‘Grandad’, things that are generally still well-remembered, and usually with derision.

  2. 62
    DJ Punctum on 24 Apr 2008 #

    I’d LOVE to see someone compile an album of that – if we’re going to have this sort of thing then I think we ought really to go to the extremes and not just settle for the fairly meh stuff that has been “rehabilitated.”

    (and just to clear up the ELO side of things, “10538 Overture” and “Mr Blue Sky” are two of my favourite singles by anybody; it’s the “repositioning” of them as a kind of derriere-garde that I object to)

    Interestingly a LOT of the tracks on the first GP comp (including “Oh Lori” which is fab but NOT the anti-Pistols) came out on A&M as a standard budget-priced thing called Labelled With Love a year or two earlier…no argument about the quality of any of these records but “Pinball” as a guilty pleasure? 1974 – the agony of Nick Drake urbanised and turned only slightly pop? Isn’t this to an extent debasing both song and artist by equating them with tosh like “Afternoon Delight”?

    (Plus it sounds better in the context of the excellent ZigZag compilation album which came out on Cherry Red around the same time)

    And “Say You Don’t Mind” HAS to be heard in its original context as the closing track on Blunstone’s One Year album which is readily available for about a fiver.

    Peter Skellern! Always to me a hugely underrated talent; find a decent compilation, go beyond the admittedly fantastic “You’re A Lady” and it’s the Randy Newman of Bury. Better still, harass Universal to reissue his brilliant Hard Times album from ’76.

    My whole fear is that punters are going to come up and think “well, this was the seventies” and not feel inspired to delve any further or deeper – so that groups like Slik get forgotten about or never remembered in the first place. And the aesthetic Berlin Wall continues; witness Stuart Maconie on a recent weekend show fading Aznavour’s “She” after less than a minute and apologising to his listeners.

    Alan – excellent and well argued piece.

    That Peter Wyngarde album and especially THAT track…the missing link between Telly Savalas and Throbbing Gristle…

  3. 63
    Alan on 24 Apr 2008 #

    sod all this GP talk, the big news is “Larry Marder is back at work on Beanworld” oh em gee!

  4. 64
    fivelongdays on 24 Apr 2008 #

    Some cogent points about the whole GP thing.

    My view is that Peer Pressure is EXACTLY the reason for the whole concept. Although there is the qualifying moments of hypocricy from the peers.

    An example from my personal experience: In the Metal scene in about 2000/2001ish, Limp Bizkit were the most shunned, disdained and generally loathed band there was. Yet every rock club’s floor would get packed by “Take a look around” and “Rollin'”

    I’m sure there are other examples…

  5. 65
    crag on 24 Apr 2008 #

    The whole GP thang seemed a bit of a backwards step to me. The great thing about the 90’s(when i was in my 20’s and my radar for popular music and musical trends was at its most active) was there was an opening of the floodgates in terms of what was seen as “acceptable” or “cool” to listen to- you could easily appreciate hits by, say,Oasis, Portishead and the Spice Girls equally and dance at clubs to everything from Led Zep to Public Enemy to Kim Wilde without worrying about peer pressure or worrying how it suited your selfmade “image”. The musical tribalism that existed in the preceeding decades was gone and there was a liberating sense of “anything goes”.

    With the MP3 revolution at the end of the decade this became for a while even more the case – practically all popular music became available to own at the click of a mouse and (at first,anyway) for absolutely free and, as a result restrictive concepts of “cool” were out-eclecticism was in.

    What the GP boom did was change this level playing field and reinforced the notions of what the “correct” music to listen to was-

    As a result,by the time the concept of GP had arrived it was already redundant.Young people who had discovered, for example, ELO, and enjoyed their music simply because they thought it was GOOD music were suddenly being told that ELO were terribly ‘unhip’to listen to, but that they could still listen to them providing they did so through a veil of sniggering irony(admittedly this notion was present in the 90’s too but never to such a patronising or blatant degree) and treated it all like a big joke.I (and many,many others) had already acquired a large amount of music by artists deemed to fit in the GP bracket, enjoyed it hugely and felt no need whatsoever to have them ‘validated’. We had already done this ourselves on OUR OWN TERMS. GP helped bring back the idea of having to second-guess what music was ‘suitable’ for a person according to their class, age, race etc and as such stifled for many the democracization of musical appreciation that had became around in the period previously.

    As for my theory of what a GP is- a record that you know,according to your own values and critical opinion, is terrible, truly musically without any redeeming merit and yet for some inexplicable reason you can’t help loving it. It certainly is NOT loving a track you think is amazing, moving, exciting etc but which the critcal media consenseus has decided is a “bad” record. As Jerry Dammers once put it “theres no such thing as good or bad music”.If you think its good then it IS good. Its not called having a ‘Guilty Pleasure’- its called having your own taste.

  6. 66
    crag on 25 Apr 2008 #

    Oops-ignore the 3rd paragraph in the above post-meant to edit it out but forgot!

  7. 67
    crag on 25 Apr 2008 #

    heres how #65 should have went-sorry!

    The whole GP thang seemed a bit of a backwards step to me. The great thing about the 90’s(when i was in my 20’s and my radar for popular music and musical trends was at its most active) was there was an opening of the floodgates in terms of what was seen as “acceptable” or “cool” to listen to- you could easily appreciate hits by, say,Oasis, Portishead and the Spice Girls equally and dance at clubs to everything from Led Zep to Public Enemy to Kim Wilde without worrying about peer pressure or worrying how it suited your selfmade “image”. The musical tribalism that existed in the preceeding decades was gone and there was a liberating sense of “anything goes”.

    With the MP3 revolution at the end of the decade this became for a while even more the case – practically all popular music became available to own at the click of a mouse and (at first,anyway) for absolutely free and, as a result restrictive concepts of “cool” were out-eclecticism was in.

    As a result,by the time the concept of GP had arrived it was already redundant.Young people who had discovered, for example, ELO, and enjoyed their music simply because they thought it was GOOD music were suddenly being told that ELO were terribly ‘unhip’to listen to, but that they could still listen to them providing they did so through a veil of sniggering irony(admittedly this notion was present in the 90’s too but never to such a patronising or blatant degree) and treated it all like a big joke.I (and many,many others) had already acquired a large amount of music by artists deemed to fit in the GP bracket, enjoyed it hugely and felt no need whatsoever to have them ‘validated’. We had already done this ourselves on OUR OWN TERMS. GP helped bring back the idea of having to second-guess what music was ’suitable’ for a person according to their class, age, race etc and as such stifled for many the democracization of musical appreciation that had became around in the period previously.

    As for my theory of what a GP really is- a record that you know,according to your own values and critical opinion, is terrible, truly musically without any redeeming merit and yet for some inexplicable reason you can’t help loving it. It certainly is NOT loving a track you think is amazing, moving, exciting etc but which the critcal media consenseus has decided is a “bad” record. As Jerry Dammers once put it “theres no such thing as good or bad music”.If you think its good then it IS good. Its not called having a ‘Guilty Pleasure’- its called having your own taste.

  8. 68
    Roadhog on 26 Apr 2008 #

    Aren’t the only people who would even understand the concept of Guilty Pleasures just the tiny proportion of people (obviously including most of us on here) who take music thuis seriously. The average person in the street just likes what they like with no interest in or even knowledge of what some self-appointed arbiter of “taste” says its ok to like. I take my own tastes in pop music as seriously as the next person but far more embarrassing than any person who gets their rocks off to James Blunt or whoever else is the subject of tastemakes ridicule is the 30 or 40 something that still has the mind of a juvenile and thinks that it matters what music someone else likes…

  9. 69
    Roadhog on 26 Apr 2008 #

    i’ve now read the “Get Down” posts.Couldn’t agree more than with the poster who ridiculed this Rowley bloke and his friends with “the same old Clash albums in thir collections” the amazing thing is that Sean Rowley fails to see that all this phenomenon shows is that he and his coterie haven’t got a clue about just how ridiculous most people would think the blinkered attitude of him and his other fanboys is.
    I also noticed someone mentioned that they didn’t like the Orb because of Pink Floyd tendencies. Well surely their music wasn’t really for people who had the slightest interest in tedious rockisms as wether Pink Floyd were ok to like. Of course it was Pink Floyd influeced The Orb originally coalesced in the chillout room at Spectrum where “Echoes” by Pink Floyd was one of the biggest tracks.And the Orb were meant for clubbers to chillout not for tired rock Hipsters to get earnest about.
    That was an amazing thing about the acid house/rave scene back then as we didnt just not subscribe to tired NME/rock media ideas about what it was ok to like but ignored or for many didnt know about them in the first place (with many of the ravers never having come from a rock background anyway).Hence if you heard any rock at all it would very likely be such G***** P******* as Fleetwood Mac “Big Love”, Chris Rea “Josephine”, or Jethro Tull “Living in the Past” to name a few I remember hearing on the dance circa 1987-90.

  10. 70
    Ken on 8 May 2008 #

    My God, this is an awful song. Have I downloaded the wrong mp3 or something here? This is such a plodding nothing of a tune, there is NOTHING here that could possibly register as far as I’m concerned. I really and truly do not understand what the hell you guys are talking about. There’s not even a fucking hook.

  11. 71
    Ken on 8 May 2008 #

    I mean, seriously, what makes this any different from its surrounding hits? Minus the first few seconds, how is this any distinguishable at all from the Bay City Rollers crap? I simply do not understand it. This would get an automatic 2 from me.

  12. 72
    DJ Punctum on 8 May 2008 #

    Is this Kenny Hyslop by any chance?

  13. 73
    Brooksie on 9 Feb 2010 #

    @Ken # 70: “There’s not even a fucking hook.”

    You clearly aren’t listening. Like it or not; it’s rammed with hooks. And the organ intro as well as the dirge-like monkish singing gives it an odd unique sound.

  14. 74
    wichita lineman on 1 Jan 2011 #

    Has anyone pointed out how much the intro/first verse sounds like Vienna? Hardly surprising of course, but it only occurred to 30 years after it should’ve done.

  15. 75
    flahr on 5 Mar 2011 #

    fivelongdays @26 OTM: probably fits into the theory of racket but can’t be bothered expostulating on that atm so instead note verses are self-evidently awesome because of the chanting and choruses are self-evidently awesome because the sax means you can call them Wizzard and ergo the whole thing is VERY AWESOME 8

    if this sounds like the bay city rollers perhaps i ought to listen to something by the bay city rollers

  16. 76
    Inanimate Carbon God on 17 Jan 2015 #

    Pleasantly surprised by this one. The dark, theatrical verses point a path to 80s goth rock and the Cure/Depeche Mode/Bands Who Were Very Good And A Bit Dark But We Not Goths Lots. And the chorus, though it’s from a parallel, potentially saccharine universe, reminds me much less of the Bay City Rollers than The Great Pretender and other 50s doo-wop classics. A strange but beautiful combination. I’ll give it a 7.

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