Nov 10

SNAP! – “The Power”

Popular71 comments • 3,970 views

#643, 31st March 1990

SPECIAL POPULAR ANNOUNCEMENT: The NEXT entry after this will be discussed at 7PM tonight on Resonance 104.4 FM, on the Lollards of Pop show. This will feed into the next text entry proper, in a bold new multi-media departure for Popular. Hearing the radio show will in no sense be necessary to understand the entry or subsequent discussion but it might give you some interesting ideas! Tune in!

“The Power” is a bit like “Dub Be Good To Me”‘s European exchange partner – some of the same ingredients but mixed in very different proportions. The song juggles aggression and melancholy, and makes both immediately appealing – the juddering riff which opens “The Power” set against the slow pace and lonesome spaciousness of the production and Pennye Ford’s vocals. The riff is more distinctive than the singing, to be honest, but the contrast works.

Even so “The Power” hasn’t aged particularly well – it sounds far feebler now than it once did. Sad to say a lot of this failing of strength is down to poor Turbo B, whose rapping is ponderous even as it dominates the song. There are no real howlers in the lyrics but nothing memorable either – it sounds like the producers simply liked the idea of a rapper and didn’t care what if anything he might be saying. To be fair to Snap! they were hardly the only European trackmongers to take this tack, and as we’ll see it sometimes worked. But Turbo B is a drag on the record – a big finger-wagging lump, plodding crossly into imagined battle: “I will attack! And you don’t want that!”. There’s an infectious innocence to most early 90s Eurodance tracks which keeps them endearing, like 60s dance-craze hits – so I still enjoy this record, but powerful it’s not.



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  1. 51
    MikeMCSG on 12 Nov 2010 #

    #48 That was my point exactly. Dance got a larger slice of the chart action because its pop rivals were so pitiful at this point in time.

    #46 Mea culpa – I did buy a fair number of 90s singles at cheap first week prices so was a contributor there.

    Are you very pro-Britpop ? Some juicy battles ahead then.
    Day job – tell me about it.

  2. 52
    punctum on 12 Nov 2010 #

    Lay off Jesus Jones, you snobs.

    As far as Britpop is concerned I’m a semi-detached observer.

    Number one DJ Punctum internet rule is that I don’t talk about the day job.

  3. 53
    Rory on 12 Nov 2010 #

    @45: “the rap was by Rob Chill G but re-spoken by Turbo B” — actually, Turbo B seems to have quoted some of it but written a lot of new stuff around it as well. You can find Chill Rob G’s original on YouTube if you Google his name plus “power” (I would include the link, but don’t want to get stuck in the moderation queue).

  4. 54
    Billy Smart on 12 Nov 2010 #

    Re 52: ‘Info Freako’ sort of still rocks. I remember Melody Maker describing the very calculating Mike Jones as “The John Major of rock” in 1993!

    Britpop was fantastic when it was a playful hypothesis, felt like a bright summer when the best records gained public recognition in 1994, and was a bloody nuisance and a terrible blight from thereon. But much more anon. What’s interesting about people the same age as Tom and myself is whether baggy, grunge or Britpop was the defining formulative experience for them.

    As my day job is a historian/ theorist of British television, I find that Popular often fits into my workaday preoccupations quite neatly.

  5. 55
    Matt DC on 12 Nov 2010 #

    “But right now, 1990′s on an absolute roll – although starting shaky with NKOTB and Kylie, the last THREE number 1s I’d give 9 or 10 to (NC2U, Dub Be Good To Me, and this). And sneaking a peak at what’s next, oh yes yes yes indeed.”

    Totally. The Power arrives midway through an absolutely GOLDEN run of #1 singles and it gets better from here.

  6. 56
    MikeMCSG on 12 Nov 2010 #

    # 52 That was a rhetorical “Tell me about it” I’m not that intrusive !

  7. 57
    Chelovek na lune on 12 Nov 2010 #

    @52/@54 Yes, 1989 “still semi-indie” and a bit louder and not overproduced Jesus Jones beats every other Jesus Jones into a three-cornered hat.

    “Kicks!” by Last Few Days! (featuring the Pussy Posse!) – clearly exclamation marks were going cheap that day – was a cracker of a funky single from around this time, RM single of the week IIRC; didn’t even scrape the top 100 (the group had an earlier incarnation linked somehow with Laibach). Recommend checking that out for a taste of never remembered lost spring 1990.

    The Age Of Chance’s poppiest (and most polished, and IMHO worthwhile) album, “Mecca” (erm, bet they wouldn’t call it that now – – – ahh and many of the songs did have religious themes, to go back to something on another thread; “Higher than heaven”, “Times up” and “playing with fire” were all fine singles) was the other pop gem of this period for me.

    Though really I preferred what Ride and Lush were up to…

  8. 58
    MikeMCSG on 12 Nov 2010 #

    #54 I hate you now – second only to Mr Maconie on my hitlist (just kidding !) Do you contribute to TV Cream ?

  9. 59
    Rory on 12 Nov 2010 #

    Is this where I get to say that Parklife is probably the one 1990s album I’d take with me to a desert island? Better not.

  10. 60
    Steve Mannion on 12 Nov 2010 #

    Too late :/

  11. 61
    Rory on 12 Nov 2010 #

    If I could take only one, I mean.

    If I could take lots, ooooo the choices! Menswear! Marion! Mansun! (I’m teasing. Flogged the Menswear CD years ago.)

  12. 62
    MikeMCSG on 12 Nov 2010 #

    What’s that sound – oh it’s Louise Weiner and her equivalent from Echobelly pleading to be let out of the attic !

  13. 63
    Steve Mannion on 12 Nov 2010 #

    btw just for completion’s sake here’s ‘The Power Of Bhangra’ – a not-terrible-as-such jump on the bhangrandwagon of 2003 for Indian vibes following the (eventual) success of ‘Mundian Te Bach Ke’. Still no objection to Turbo B’s rap even here! Maniac brainiac…


  14. 64
    wichita lineman on 12 Nov 2010 #

    Re 57: I had my wisdom teeth out around this time, all four of them, under general anesthetic in the crumbling Mayday hospital, Croydon. Looking forward to being zonked out on goofballs I made myself a tape and drifted off listening to Ride and Lush. Never mind Britpop being under represented on Popular, there’s no ‘gaze at all.

    Re 31: Yes, the imminent genocidal wars in Yugoslavia, Chechnya and Rwanda were on my mind today when I read Alex James (in The Sun) bigging up a Britpop revival and saying “The Nineties was a time of peace and prosperity.” Yeah, right, you thin streak of Bompey piss.

  15. 65
    DanielW on 12 Nov 2010 #

    Only discovered this site a couple of weeks ago and have been lurking ever since playing catch-up! Wish I’d discovered it a year ago, as the ’80’s was the decade I grew up and avidly listened to the Top 40.

    As for “The Power”, I have to say I really didn’t think much of it at the time. Apart from the (admittedly great) riff, there wasn’t much else to it, Turbo B’s delivery I thought was rather monotone and robotic and Penny Ford’s contribution to the record seemed pretty inconsequential to me.

    But I think it’s aged better than other records of the era, perhaps because I got completely turned-off by most dance records as the 90’s wore on, which I suppose makes this song look better in hindsight. Even so, the most I can give it is a 6.

  16. 66
    Billy Smart on 13 Nov 2010 #

    Re 58: Ha! No, the only thing other than Popular I contribute to is Corriepedia…

  17. 67
    ParkyPark on 16 Nov 2010 #

    #re 15 and 21 and Phil “The Power” Taylor, maybe the Darts organising bodies are missing a trick by not having Phil and Barney having a head to head rap contest in the style of Turbo B before they start throwing the arrows. I would turn up just for the Sid Waddell backing vocals

    As for Turbo B being the lyrical Jesse James, I think he faces competition from Paddy McAloon whose ‘Jesse James Bolero’ was a great track from 1990 album ‘Jordan the Comeback’

    Probably scornful of this at the time and agree that it is dated but a 7 for me

  18. 68
    Lena on 19 Nov 2010 #

    I was getting into Ride and Lush myself at this time, but I love the prickly acid sting of this as a counterpoint to the ‘leave them all behind’ stance; the feeling behind the line “I will attack – AND YOU DON’T WANT THAT” being in Lush’s lyrics for sure (in other words of course) but under swathes of guitar it was kind of hard to hear, at the time. (Of course Curve would marry the two, more or less.)

  19. 69
    Ian on 26 Nov 2010 #

    This song reminds me of a package holiday to Malta, which must have been in 1990 or 1991. We had an apartment that was above a disco, there were a few songs they used to play every night, and of course this was one of them. The sound was muffled through the floor, and as a consequence I thought this song was called “roll out the barrel” – my first misheard lyric!

  20. 70
    DanH on 28 Jan 2013 #

    Oh, They Might Be Giants…I just read they had a #6 showing with “Birdhouse in Your Soul” around this time. Here in America, they had two of their songs appear on Tiny Toons. Never even sniffed the Top 40 here though, so good for Britain for taking them to the Top 10, if briefly

  21. 71
    hectorthebat on 14 Mar 2015 #

    Critic watch:

    1,001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010) 1002
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)
    Village Voice (USA) – Singles of the Year 17
    Face (UK) – Singles of the Year 21
    New Musical Express (UK) – Singles of the Year 45

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