Feb 11

Popular ’90

Popular50 comments • 2,974 views

That was a lot more of a slog than I thought it would be! As ever, here is where you get to tick the records YOU would have handed 6 or more to. And hopefully by the end of the week we’ll get stuck into 1991, probably the most all-over-the-place year in Popular history.

Which of the Number Ones of 1990 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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(My highest mark this year was 10 for Sinead, my lowest 1 for Bombalurina)


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  1. 31
    Rory on 17 Feb 2011 #

    I suspect it would have stayed on top longer than a week if the Sinead juggernaut hadn’t arrived; it felt like a substantial hit at the time.

    I notice a typo in my list next to Unchained Melody – one of its 6 weeks was in 1991 (i.e. 5 in 1990).

  2. 32
    Conrad on 17 Feb 2011 #

    Voted two – Beats Int and England NewOrder.

    Those critics lists are remarkably similar. They even managed to squeeze “One Love” in, ha ha, such was the stock of the Stone Roses at the time.

  3. 33
    the pinefox on 17 Feb 2011 #

    I think most of the #1s listed are really bad. I voted for Madonna, New Order, Elton John, though not really so keen on any of them; New Order the best.

    I don’t agree with NME / MM about ‘groove is in the heart’ either, or Happy Mondays or Primal Scream – they’re all bad.

    But out of those lists there are some magnificent and still moving records by MBV, Ride and a few others.

  4. 34
    LondonLee on 18 Feb 2011 #

    It was a year of two halves, Brian.

    7 for me.

  5. 35
    ottersteve on 18 Feb 2011 #

    I accept that New Order were an excellent group, but this is their WORST song without a doubt. Nothing more embarrassing than witnessing footballers trying to sing – or even worse – RAP! This can only result in C-rap!

    I’m amazed that so many commentors on here rank “world in Motion” alongside Sinead O’Connor’s masterpiece! Is this a result of the “Gazza” effect, I wonder? Sinead also cries during a performance.

    WIM – a 1 from me.

  6. 36
    Rory on 18 Feb 2011 #

    @35 Alongside? Their aggregate voter scores suggest a substantial difference in ranking: WiM, 7.2 from 18 votes; Sinead, 8.1 from 26 votes. The above poll only tells us what songs the largest number of voters think are better than average, which is a pretty broad brush.

  7. 37
    wichita lineman on 18 Feb 2011 #

    Young MC no.1 in Australia, gosh. His appearance as top ex-pop star at an office party in Up In The Air was a bit of a surprise to say the least. But his profile outside the UK was obviously higher than I thought. The Southern Comfort mix of I Come Off still sounds top hole.

  8. 38
    swanstep on 18 Feb 2011 #

    @28, Steve Mannion. It’s not nostalgia recommending those Wilson Phillips tracks to you – they’re just great MOR singles! And, yay, Janet Jackson’s Escapade.

    @Rory. Good on Aussies for sending Faith No More’s Epic to the top. INXS’s Suicide Blonde was a notable, 3 week #1 in NZ in 1990. Probably INXS’s last #1 single anywhere.

  9. 39
    Rory on 18 Feb 2011 #

    Re “Suicide Blonde”, nice work! That only made #2 in Oz itself, where “Original Sin” was their only #1 single I think. I wonder if any notable NZ songs did the reverse… Split Enz’s “I Got You” and Dave Dobbyn’s “Slice of Heaven” topped both charts in the 1980s…

  10. 40
    Billy Smart on 18 Feb 2011 #

    NME readers’ poll for 1990;

    1. The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
    2. Happy Mondays – Step On
    3. Ride – Taste
    4. Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart
    5. Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro
    6. Inspiral Carpets – This Is How It Feels
    7. The La’s – There She Goes
    8. James – Come Home
    9. The Farm – Groovy Train
    10. Ned’s Atomic Dustbin – Kill Your Television

  11. 41
    Billy Smart on 18 Feb 2011 #

    MM readers’ poll for 1990;

    1. The Charlatans – The Only One I Know
    2. Happy Mondays – Step On
    3. The Cure – Never Enough
    4. My Bloody Valentine – Soon
    5. Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro
    6. Ride – Dreams Burn Down
    7. Fields Of The Nephilim – Sumerland
    8. Lush – Mad Love
    9. Deee-Lite – Groove Is In The Heart
    10. Depeche Mode – Enjoy The Silence

  12. 42
    George on 18 Feb 2011 #

    I once had to listen to the album ”Suicide Blonde” is from (the follow up to ”Kick” I believe?) twice, back-to-back, in a former work colleagues van once. It was a fucking appalling record.

  13. 43
    swanstep on 18 Feb 2011 #

    @Rory. I know of two cases: in 2005 Evermore’s Light Surrounding You got to #1 in Oz but only #15 at home, and in 1979 Misex’s Computer Games got to #1 in Oz but only #5 at home.

    The Swingers’ amazing Counting the Beat (how did that not transfer to the rest of the world?) was #1 in both countries but, according to wiki, it was the biggest seller of the year (1981) in Oz.

  14. 44
    Rory on 18 Feb 2011 #

    Thanks, swanstep. Haven’t heard Evermore, I’ll have to track that down.

    The Swingers and Mi-Sex, top tunes both. Both from around the time I was noticing pop more but not buying singles yet. I remember “Counting the Beat” as a major landmark too.

    Sad to learn of Steve Gilpin’s fate at the Wikipedia entry for Mi-Sex.

    This all makes me realise that my current fondness for the Midnight Juggernauts probably has its roots in “Computer Games”.

  15. 45
    DietMondrian on 18 Feb 2011 #

    I’ve started writing four of five comments on how I can’t stand Nothing Compares 2U and originally gave it two out of 10 (and thought two was generous), but each time abandoned it as I thought it would just look like I was trolling. But the reverence for it does bug the flip out of me.

  16. 46
    swanstep on 19 Feb 2011 #

    Second half of Kid A and first half of Hail to the Thief having a baby = can’t keep my eyes op….zzzz.

  17. 47
    heather on 19 Feb 2011 #

    This is the year of the only Festive Fifty I remembered to tape and probably the most Peel-unfriendly and ‘poppy’ (I love pop-indie and just wish Saint Etienne had done better). “Perfume”, “Big”, the 20-minute version of “A Huge Ever-Growing Brain”, “Everything Flows”. Come to think of it, possibly a better year than the holy 1989. And New Order got to number 1!

    Oh right, and charts happened but I didn’t care because I was a devoted MM reader by then (I can still quote most of Chris Roberts’ review of “Technique”).

    Didn’t vote for “Unchained Melody” because it’s a re-release and so doesn’t count. Also it’s a damn shame about ‘Groove is in the Heart’ losing to a re-release on a technicality. Wish I still had the album around.

  18. 48
    lonepilgrim on 22 Feb 2011 #

    This site
    ,featuring contributions from Simon Reynolds among others,
    offers some reflections on the 90s

  19. 49
    DV on 29 Nov 2011 #

    the low votes for Ice Ice Baby suggest that Popular has been invaded by enemies of pop.

  20. 50
    Steve Mannion on 17 Jun 2015 #

    Spotify playlist: Around 794 singles entered the UK Top 75 in 1990. Here are 658 of them (including AA sides and two tracks per EP) http://t.co/UEW5j8Uom2

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