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Apr 15

THE CORRS – “Breathless”

Popular60 comments • 4,594 views

#865, 15th July 2000

corrs We’re halfway through 2000’s overstuffed curiosity shop of number ones, and I’ve realised something about this period’s glut of hits. The common idea is that the rapid turnover at the top is the sign of a chart that’s broken, over-responsive to release date and first-week sales manipulation. But actually writing about them has brought home how many different groups and scenelets were being served by the charts – from the Manics to Gabrielle, Britney to Eminem, Madison Avenue to Oxide & Neutrino. There’s something for anyone, but nothing for everyone. This is the music industry at its bloated commercial peak, the greatest expansion of the CD bubble – of course a sales-based chart is going to reflect that. So 2000’s number ones now feel to me not like a garden in need of weeding, but an unnaturally fecund vegetable patch, pumped full of dodgy fertiliser.

Alongside the prize-winning specimens, less remarkable growths still thrive. The audience for “Breathless” surely overlapped with Gabrielle and even Sonique, though this is more AOR than either. The Mutt Lange credit offers another clue – this is pitching to the same, vast, constituency that bought Shania’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” and “That Don’t Impress Me Much”. Glossy, friendly, pop-rock, vast and spotless but with a relatable folksiness brought in via the artist’s root genre. For Twain, it was country music’s down-to-earth humour providing the human touch; for the Corrs, it’s the wholesomeness of sisterly harmonising (and a dab of tin whistle, unless I’m hallucinating). Though after Simple Minds, after Celine, after B*Witched, the Corrs deserve points for using Irish folk touches as just another part of a big pop song, not as off-the-shelf Celtic flavouring. “Breathless” is never not corny, but for the most part it’s a sturdy, midwestern strain of corn.

It’s also obviously accomplished. Lange’s knowhow and production muscle make it soar and stop in the right places, and Andrea Corr’s soft voice is a sweet counterpoint to the jacked-up backing. There was a large constituency who didn’t care about either the “little girl and boy groups” or their bleach-blond nemesis, who just wanted music to be songful, well-made and direct – and the understated bliss of “Breathless” is certainly that. In a pop scene made up of so many niches, some things just pass you by entirely, and I only knew the “beautiful, beautiful Corrs” as the butt of a regular joke on kids’ variety and pop show SMTV. On this evidence, they deserved more. Not that much more, though. It’s good to hear the open, optimistic Lange sound again, but his best work – the chrome-plated rock fantasies of Def Leppard, or Shania’s winning snark – has a bite and momentum that The Corrs were never likely to hit.

5

Comments

  1. 1
    Tom on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Many thanks to my Facebook commenters for their noble but ultimately failed attempts to save this post from drudgery.

  2. 2
    lonepilgrim on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Going back to this I wondered whether it might sound like a forerunner for acts like Mumford & Sons but Lange’s production eradicates almost all folkiness from the sound bar a faint Oirish whistle and fiddle in places. It’s a little too bland and eager to please for my liking.

  3. 3
    Shiny Dave on 1 Apr 2015 #

    This was a lot rockier than I remembered, and the Mutt Lange production credit explains a lot.

    Decently crafted mid-Atlantic power pop – Andrea sort of feels like she’s dragging the song down but also making it more human, I can imagine this being sung by a big belting voice and it being either an 8 or a 4. With Andrea, it’s a 6.

  4. 4
    Alan on 1 Apr 2015 #

    The Beautiful Corrs

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IEJ3Nob6WQ8

    “The last sketch received mention as being 13th in Channel 4’s Best TV Moments of 2001. While the presenters were performing, the real Corrs appeared…” [wikipedia]

  5. 5
    Pink champale on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Pretty amusing. SMTV was great. No thoughts on the Corrs I’m afraid.
    Actually, wasn’t Iggy Pop beastly to them once? That’s a disappointment as he always seems so urbane and intelligent when you see him in interviews.

  6. 6
    Tom on 1 Apr 2015 #

    In one of the unlikelier developments since Popular got going, we will get a chance to discuss SMTV’s hosts in rather more depth one far-off day.

    Iggy Pop spat on them at a gig, I think. This was one of the things that came up when I asked about them on FB. The other is that Jim Corr is now a truther.

  7. 7
    lmm on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Drudgery is perhaps appropriate. This always felt workable but uninspired, and I say that as someone who was and remains quite fond of B*Witched and similar poppy Irishness (anyone remember Bellefire?)

  8. 8
    Pink champale on 1 Apr 2015 #

    #6 ah yes, I’d forgotten about their (richly deserved) second coming

  9. 9
    mapman132 on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Hit #34 in the US – their only top 40 hit here. I quite liked this at the time, but it hasn’t held up well, so I’ll drop my initial 8/10 to maybe a 7/10. Part of the problem is there isn’t much to say about it. It does seem to be distinctly different from the other hits we’ve encountered in 2000 – perhaps sounding more like a holdover from the 90’s than anything else.

    Also, another of my odd geographic associations: Long Island, NY: It was on the radio a lot during my mini-trip there in fall 2000, so that’s what I think of when I hear this.

  10. 10
    chelovek na lune on 1 Apr 2015 #

    I kind of like this, but well, yeah, it’s unchallenging wallpaper FM radio music innit. Odd in as much as it more or less marked the end of their consistent hit-making phase (the two follow-ups managed two weeks in the top 40 between them): the sound of pop music moving on and leaving the completely middlebrow and almost generic (the Irishness being more toned down than previously too) marooned in the previous decade. But there is something so infectious and cheering – and yeah, wholesome – about this that I’d give it a 6.

  11. 11
    Tommy Mack on 1 Apr 2015 #

    In 2000 this was the soundtrack to my small-town suburban oppression. They summed up everything I hated about ‘The large constituency who….just wanted music to be songful, well-made and direct’ and about my being trapped in their world. Still, things would be, TOTALLY, RADICALLY DIFFERENT once I got to university (SPOILER: they wouldn’t!)

    In truth there was nothing that bad about The Corrs, they were just irritatingly bland, constantly on the verge of Beautiful South-style mum-pop hummability but always just too mushy and forgettable.

  12. 12
    Alfred on 1 Apr 2015 #

    I love this: an easy 7. Her wan vocal keeps it from scoring an 8 or 9. One of Mutt Lange’s last gasps. I’m tempted to say anyone could’ve had a hit with it yet but every time the hook comes around there’s a touch of…I don’t know Irish folk music? This might be due to the arrangement and the band (is the band even playing on it by the way?).

  13. 13
    JLucas on 1 Apr 2015 #

    It’s easy to forget now just how massive a commercial phenomenon The Corrs were at the end of the 90s, at one point dominating the #1 and #2 spot of the album charts at the same time with their first two albums.

    It’s also pretty easy to dismiss them as the ultimate in daytime radio beige. A gently danceified cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams was their breakout hit – listening now it sounds limp and sorely lacking in the throaty gravity of Stevie Nicks’ original. You really can’t imagine the girls having ever experienced a ‘crystal vision’ for example. (poor old Jim on the other hand…)

    Andrea did have a lovely warm purr of a voice though, and their close sibling harmonies complemented it beautifully. Of those never-off-the-radio early hits, I have a major soft spot for the dreamy romanticism of ‘Runaway’ and ‘What Can I Do’.

    Breathless comes at the tail end of their imperial period. The accompanying ‘In Blue’ album was a very conscious stab at US success (hence drafting in Glen Ballard) that paid off when this became their first major hit single, but the album sold considerably less than its predecessors in Europe and the follow-up singles didn’t do much. For me it’s totally ‘The Corrs do a Shania song’ – not exactly a quantum leap from what they sounded like beforehand – it’s just that bit bigger, glossier and more anonymous.

    Ultimately The Corrs having a #1 single feels just, and while there are stronger candidates than this, as career achievement chart toppers go it’s perfectly acceptable. A slickly professional 6.

  14. 14
    23 Daves on 1 Apr 2015 #

    I’d completely forgotten all about this song, much less the fact that it got to number one. There again, I’d struggle to hum many Corrs singles, to be honest. The only real memory I have of them is the fact that a friend of mine fancied all three of them and would endlessly comment to that effect whenever they appeared on television, just in case we were in any doubt about his opinions on the subject. I think the fact they were sisters and looked similar tapped into some base fantasy he never knew he had (a common nudge-nudge gag at the time, I’m sure).

    And on that note, the best Corrs parody for my money was always the French and Saunders sketch. https://youtu.be/bilf_ihalu4 “A hundred more sisters to add to The Corrs/ They love the sound of our female droning/ We’re the pretty face of cloning”.

    I don’t have anything to say about this single at all. It’s just there. It also does sound like it should have been released around 91/92 when these kinds of cotton-padded pop-rock confections took up at least a quarter of the music on The ITV Chart Show – it seems oddly out of its time for 2000, but its July release date may have helped. It tends to be a slightly flat period of the year for new releases, and also a time when anything which sounds great on the car stereo with the sunroof down performs better than it otherwise might at other times of the year. And this definitely sounds “big” in a summery way.

  15. 15
    JLucas on 1 Apr 2015 #

    My favourite Corrs spoof is French and Saunders. The sultry come-hither looks to camera, banal lyrics and Andrea’s drawling vocal style are mercilessly dead-on.

    “You love the sound of our female droning / We’re the pretty face of cloning”

    https://youtu.be/bilf_ihalu4

    On a less funny note, it’s easy to laugh at Truther Jim (I already did further up) but 8.30-10.00 of this interview with Andrea is very sad. It must be a tough situation to see somebody go off the deep end with something like that.

    https://youtu.be/wUicDKM80oU?t=8m30s

  16. 16
    Kinitawowi on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Oh man. I loved The Corrs from the moment I first tripped over Only When I Sleep on a music channel one time; Andrea’s voice could melt the hardest of hearts, the fiddle and bodhran gave it the Irish touch that was so popular at the time, and Jim’s guitar was there on the rare occasions when they needed some edge. All those instruments, plus Andrea’s tin whistle, linked together on outstanding early instrumental effort Toss The Feathers.

    It didn’t really happen for them for ages though. Forgiven Not Forgotten, their first album, didn’t do much on its first outing in 1995 and Talk On Corners was just plodding along; they hosted a day of Irish music on VH-1 in 1997 long before anybody had any idea who they were. A cover of Dreams for a Fleetwood Mac tribute album got things moving; Mick Fleetwood himself helped out at the massive 1998 St Patricks Day gig at the Royal Albert Hall (and earned TOC a hasty rerelease with Dreams tacked on in the middle).

    But it all started going wrong when Todd Terry decided that Dreams needed something more, and decided that that something was the same idea he gave to Everything But The Girl’s Missing way back when. Suddenly The Corrs weren’t riding the Celtic wave any more; they were just another crossover pop band. But they were huge. All those sweet little Oirish ditties had the life sucked out of them by a succession of remixes; compare the intro to the previous single, What Can I Do, to what Tin Tin Out did to it for the next one. So Young got a remix at the hands of K-Klass; Runaway (dug up from Forgiven Not Forgotten) got a Tin Tin Outing and only missed the top spot thanks to the intervention of one Ms Spears, despite losing its best moment – Jim’s transitional riff from the middle.

    Forgiven Not Forgotten soared back up the charts, and Talk On Corners got a Special Edition rerelease (the blue one) with its original singles replaced by their remixed versions, plus Tin Tin Out’s Runaway for good measure. Some quirk of the chart rules allowed both versions of TOC to count for sales figures purposes; TOC is thus good for three million sales in the UK alone (doubtless including several people who bought both versions – yes, that means me), and for one glorious week in 1999, The Corrs had the top two spots in the album charts to themselves.

    The writing was on the wall, though. If fans wanted a new TOC for the next album, what they got was a new TOC:SE. In Blue isn’t a bad album, per se, but large swathes of it sound exactly like Shania Twain’s castoffs, and with good reason – the Mutt Lange connection has been discussed already. Maybe they thought the Irish direction was a dead end; maybe their mother’s death during the album’s production made them rethink things; maybe somebody at the record label decided this was the right move.

    Either way, the result is Breathless as leadout single. It was probably always going to do well; the band had plenty of good will going for them. But for what’s basically a sex song called Breathless it’s entirely too restrained, too studied, not Breathless enough. Heck, No More Cry off the album is more frantic than this and that’s about said dead mother.

    I want to give this 9 for the simple fact of being The Corrs at number one, but the song itself isn’t worth much more than a 5… think I’m averaging out to a low-ish 7.

    #14, #15 et al; The Corrs actually had that French And Saunders sketch on a screen at at least one of their concerts.

  17. 17
    thefatgit on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Drudgery maybe, but redeemed by a sympathetic Mutt Lange production. What surprises me is that their FM-friendly pop; “Runaway”, “What Can I Do?” got tons of airplay, but never hit top 5 until the Tin Tin Out remixes were released with the folksy bits toned down and discoed up. Their appeal wasn’t especially mainstream enough to deliver big singles-wise. The albums were a different story. Not unusual for AOR/folk-pop, I guess.

    “Breathless” is lighter than mousse. There’s nothing particularly bad here, but nothing more engaging than that “go-oo-on” Mrs Doyle hook. Would you like another cup of tea, Father? (5)

  18. 18
    Auntie Beryl on 1 Apr 2015 #

    #10 nails it: this is the moment the wave breaks for The Corrs.

    Prior to “Breathless” the trajectories of Corrs albums and singles were long and shallow, slow risers and fallers in a fast moving market. Such was the power of Radio 2 – this still remains. A Fleetwood Mac cover can do miracles.

    “Breathless”, however, was a lunge for the post-Shania market, a call out to a Radio 1 audience that was never going to give many shits. All of a sudden they were a (diminishing) fan base band, singles flying in and out, albums lasting a month.

    Mutt went on split up from Shania in controversial circumstances and show up on the new Muse album. If you want a modern day equivalent of “Breathless”, search out the new Mumford & Sons single.

    Can’t argue with (5).

  19. 19
    Andrew on 1 Apr 2015 #

    Now I really like this. Peppy – stirring, even – and uncomplicated. 7

  20. 20
    Andrew on 1 Apr 2015 #

    ‘Angel’ from their final pop album (Borrowed Heaven, in 2004 – a traditional Irish album, Home, followed in 2005), and their last UK top 20 to date, is a return to the Irish-inflected pop of Talk on Corners and really quite charming.

  21. 21
    Chelovek na lune on 1 Apr 2015 #

    This is gratuitous: but that reference in #14 to the Corrs sounding a bit early 90s (and I agree) brings this glorious bit of Irish female-led power-pop to mind, which I ADORE, and which wasn’t on youtube (or have any online presence whatsover) last time I looked, and didn’t make the top 100 despite a bit of a major-label push. It does sound a bit proto-Corrs before they knocked the edges off.

    The Forget Me Nots – “Trouble”, from the “2 Fay Wray” EP, 1992.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZCFVXwELtM

    A bloody ace group, miles better than the Corrs….

  22. 22
    DanH on 2 Apr 2015 #

    This is a definite case of a song that has been pumped into me through years of working in retail, where it became wallpaper…and then I listened to it later on my own volition (well, my dad’s, he wanted me to download it for him), and it jumped out as a really great, solid pop song. Nothing mindblowing, but in the confines of pop, it just hits the right buttons for me. This is considering I never had any use for Shania ever…as many pointed out, this is pretty much a Shania track with the country instruments replaced by Celtic. Reminds me the most of “I’m Gonna Getcha Good,” mostly due to similar middle 8’s.

    Anyhow, I’d give this a 7.

    And actually, where I worked, they pumped “So Young” quite a bit for a while…probably the remix. So I knew that….”Runaway” I don’t quite recall, but I see it charted on US A/C, whereas “So Young” did not…

  23. 23
    Andrew Farrell on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #21 – now there’s a group I thought would never bother the comment box of Popular – and you’re not wrong, they were marvellous. I have the CD around here somewhere..

  24. 24
    Tommy Mack on 2 Apr 2015 #

    Have I come to the Radio 2 website by mistake? ;-)

  25. 25
    swanstep on 2 Apr 2015 #

    @Kinatowowi, 16. Hang on though, The Corrs were on the remix train from the beginning. Their first single ‘The Right Time’ went out with a vid of a radio-edit/dance mix – https://youtu.be/Wi3zbBF-_ZY – that was much peppier than the album version. I in fact first encountered The Corrs around 1996 seeing that vid used as a screen-saver or demo vid on every PC in an big-box electronics store in the US (it was a part of advertizing for Windows 95 or for Internet Explorer or, I want to say, something like Expedia? Or maybe it wasn’t Microsoft-related now I think about it: Aptiva pcs? Something pretty defunct by now anyway.).

    Anyhow, my exact thoughts at the moment, were: ‘Who are these guys? They’re better looking than the cast of Friends. Sounds… not bad at all!’

    Perhaps because of this beginning, I’ve tended to prefer their remixes. Drafting Mutt Lange in to pep up ‘Breathless’ therefore strikes me as a good move, but the upshot here is still pretty anodyne. Five minutes after listening I just can’t keep this tune in my memory, and when I try to summon it I find myself sliding into ‘So Young’. That would be a seven, but ‘Breathless’ is for me the definition of a professionally put together:
    5

    (P.s., I’m enjoying all the links to Corrs skits and parodies; keep ’em coming.)

  26. 26
    weej on 2 Apr 2015 #

    I’m surprised at all the “average & dull, therefore a 6” going on – this single contains nothing whatsoever that I actually enjoy in a piece of music. Its only useful function seemed to be serving as aural wallpaper, hence its use as background ambience in shops for years to come. The only nice thing I can say is that it isn’t actively annoying, so a 3 I guess?

  27. 27
    Kinitawowi on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #25: My vague recollection is that – in the early days, at least – the non-remixed version of The Right Time was the one that hit the video channels over here. (I’d forgotten what the video for that one looked like right up until that link, at which point it immediately recrystallised in my head.)

    The Youtube commenters recall it as Aptiva, with some going so far as to call it “The Right Time (Aptiva Mix)”… possibly there’s some regionalisation going on with the remix being more prominent in the US?

  28. 28
    mrdiscopop on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #15 That interview with Andrea is heartbreaking. I’d never really considered how Jim’s descent affected the rest of his family. She deals with the questioning very gracefully.

    #16 I always preferred the remixes which, to my ears, framed Andrea’s voice much more sympathetically than the plodding originals. But I was never a fan of Celtic music, having had it drummed into me (almost literally, at parades and festivals) as a kid.

    This song, though, I’d totally forgotten. It’s inoffensive enough, and does its job with the minimum of fuss. A solid 4.

  29. 29
    Cumbrian on 2 Apr 2015 #

    I agree with Kinitawowi at 16, inasmuch as Only When I Sleep and the original mixes of The Corrs material are what I am looking for from them and think of the dance remixes as submerging their work in production that it fails to take. The Corrs, in that sense, are a delicate band in which the traditional Irish touches which make them more distinctive need space to breathe. The remix of Dreams, in particular, I find insipid. The consequence is that I am going with the crowd on this one; even though it’s not a dance remix thing, there is a sense that, though polished to a high sheen and does the right things in the right places, it’s bland. Like a Ford Mondeo.

    Tom’s last sentence of the original review. Sorry – Back in Black FTW. Though I guess there’s an argument that Lange actually produced Def Leppard and Shania Twain, whereas he quite possibly stood AC/DC in front of some microphones, told Malcolm to crank it up, pressed record and stood well back. Anyway, Marcello puts it miles better than I ever could:

    http://nobilliards.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/acdc-back-in-black.html

  30. 30
    Shiny Dave on 2 Apr 2015 #

    Thinking about it, Tom mentions the Sonique and Gabrielle audience crossover, but I’m willing to bet there’s a substantial crossover with Westlife’s older fans.

    Easily my best Corrs memory is actually from two years before this, when my top set English group were taught by someone who had quite the love for and ability at storytelling; he booked out a side room at Weymouth Pavilion and got us telling stories to a crowd of tens, and for whatever reason I ended up singing a half-decent wispy rendition of “What Can I Do?” in my just-about-pre-pubescent voice. It was my first performance as a solo singer in any capacity, and it turned out to be a harbinger of things to sporadically come.

  31. 31
    James BC on 2 Apr 2015 #

    The best Corrs humour was Richard Herring’s shrine to the Corrs on This Morning With Richard Not Judy. Can’t find a clip just now though.

  32. 32
    wichitalineman on 2 Apr 2015 #

    I was unaware of the “beautiful Corrs” larks at the time, but was very aware of the family’s run of hits to date – sweetly sung and always melodic, Radio 2 was designed with the Corrs in mind. It was hard to see how Breathless made it to number one when What Can I Do and (especially) Runaway fell short. This certainly felt like an overly keen grab for Shania’s transatlantic market. It suits them ok – catchy, glossy, summery – but I agree with everyone who has said their core Corrs-iness is all but lost.

    Intriguingly, Breathless followed a flop, whose name I’ve forgotten, which sounded like a rickety, bawdy cross between the Watersons and B*witched (the chorus ran something like “I loves you the best”). Which presumably led them to believe they’d reached a fork in the road.

    Was it worth it, then, their Def Muttification for seven days at the top? As it killed their career here, I’d guess not.

    Good spot up-thread on Mrs Doyle.

  33. 33
    Matt DC on 2 Apr 2015 #

    Feel like, in Popular terms at least, this is the start of a type of pop music that is young, sexy, tasteful in a way that vaguely gestures in the direction of credibility, and still very very boring. All of these things had existed before but perhaps not combined together quite like this. Fast forward fifteen years and it’s virtually the default modus operandi of British and Irish pop music.

    No unconnectedly, this is the week that the first Coldplay album is released and goes straight in at number one and the fascination for all things unthreateningly nice really goes into overdrive.

  34. 34
    James BC on 2 Apr 2015 #

    Perhaps the Corrs were groundbreaking in one way: the above mentioned Talk On Corners: Special Edition was certainly the first time I’d seen a repackaged special edition album. A few years later they were everywhere, and now it’s almost expected that a big seller will be redone a few months later, with ever-diminishing additions made to justify the revamp. Great for sales, but would the ploy have been hit on if it hadn’t been for the Corrs?

  35. 35
    Andrew on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #34 James did it with Gold Mother: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gold_Mother

    With James and the Corrs there was a sense that this was a genuine desire to update the most current album with successful singles that hadn’t yet been recorded (or hadn’t been successes; ‘Sit Down’ had been reworked and was only a hit upon re-release) or new remixes/single versions.

    The more cynical acts/record companies will nowadays hold back a big single for a pre-planned re-release. It’s only really a great sales ploy until customers catch on that a re-release is inevitable and opt to hold out for it to arrive…

    Of course nowadays iTunes means that you can usually simply buy the extra tracks – or a selection thereof – on their own if you want them (if, indeed, you’re still buying music at all).

  36. 36
    Steve Williams on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #14 Although it seems like the kind of song that would sneak in at number one in a quiet week, it wasn’t an especially quiet week at all, because there were seven new entries in the top ten, I think a record…
    http://www.officialcharts.com/charts/singles-chart/20000709/7501

    Quite big acts about, too, including Oasis, Steps and Artful Dodger, plus that Limp Bizkit song was a bit of a talking point. And the best Atomic Kitten song. So it seemed incredible that of all of them it was this that made it to number one.

    The Corrs were a proper crossover band, though, I remember coming home from university and my parents had suddenly bought all their albums.

  37. 37
    onehitwanderer on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #33 Also about this time David Gray hit big with “Babylon” and associated album

    #34 Madonna with “Like a Virgin” when re-issued to include “Into the Groove”?

    To my ears this had a whiff of Belinda Carlisle circa “Leave a Light On”.

  38. 38
    Cumbrian on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #36: I’m an Oasis fan and I’d rather listen to The Corrs than Sunday Morning Call. Dreadful.

    Other than Break Stuff, that Limp Bizkit song is probably their high water mark, imo, and telling that the hooks on it have little to nothing to do with them. Though I’ll save more on them for the relevant thread, I think, notwithstanding Tom’s remarks on one of the other threads about the limits of the spoiler bunny’s powers.

  39. 39
    JoeWiz on 2 Apr 2015 #

    I stand by the first Corrs album. Some excellent, well crafted Irish tinged pop/rock. Talk on Corners was hugely overplayed, and I remember nothing of the third album apart from this single. Which isn’t awful but, as previously mentioned, is overproduced to within an inch of it’s life, and blends into the background far too easily.
    Interesting how far they fell, was the quality just not there? They weren’t particularly interesting personalities either, which meant the red tops didn’t have much to play with to keep them in the public eye. I seem to remember one of them trying to invent a relationship between Andrea and Robbie Williams…

  40. 40
    Phil on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #32: a flop, whose name I’ve forgotten, which sounded like a rickety, bawdy cross between the Watersons and B*witched

    Sounds either brilliant or awful, or else both. Can anyone put a name to this?

    #22 a Shania track with the country instruments replaced by Celtic – ??? I can’t hear anything there that’s Celtic, or country for that matter; it’s straight-down-the-line guitar-bass-drums driving music.

    The interesting thing is that they’d already done half-Corrs-half-Fleetwood-Mac with “Dreams”, and had a massive success with it. So why they decided to go no-Corrs-all-Belinda-Carlisle with this one (and presumably the album – I’m not curious enough to investigate) is a mystery. Dull, surprisingly unsexy (however glammed-up they got the Corrs never really did ‘sexy’ – presumably because they didn’t want to – which makes this song a mis-step on another level) and just annoyingly catchy. I’ll give it 5.

  41. 41
    Kinitawowi on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #34: Gold Mother was a slightly fiddly case – the second release of Gold Mother (the one with Sit Down and Lose Control instead of Hang On and Crescendo – Hang On was no great loss, but Crescendo is awesome) was the album previously released in America as “James”. Sit Down had been kicking around in some form for a couple of years before then – the first, sprawling eight minute single (not to be confused with the earlier and irrelevant Sit Down EP) is worth a listen – but hadn’t really solidified into a decent (or, let’s face it, sellable) arrangement. The same goes for The Corrs – Radio had been around since the TOC days but wouldn’t settle down to a recordable song until they pulled it out for MTV Unplugged.

    Of course, there was a third reissue of Gold Mother in 2001 (along with the other albums from Gold Mother through Whiplash – excepting the bonkers Wah Wah, obviously) which put both missing tracks back on at the end and is probably thus the one to own.

    If we want to talk heinous Special Edition rereleases, let’s stick with In Blue – somewhere around the third single (Irresistible or Give Me A Reason – I forget which came first) it got a two-disc rerelease; a few acoustic versions, a couple of live tracks, and long-standing escaped pre-gig warm-up track Love In The Milky Way (probably the best thing on it, if the least Corrs-y). It also did away with the original cover art (the infamous one with Andrea wearing a New York Dolls t-shirt). Not that 2CD special editions are particularly new, but previously they were usually simultaneous releases with the originals…

    Toploader’s “Onka’s Big Moka” got rereleased when (a) people knew who they were after Dancing In The Moonlight got everywhere and (b) Just Hold On became a single that needed to be added in somewhere.

    #32: Is that not their Chieftains collaboration I Know My Love? They worked with them on TOC (the cover of Little Wing, which damn near ruins the album – No Good For Me would have been a perfect ending), so they returned the favour for a collaborations album which was clearly more Chieftains than Corrs (which might be why it never got much higher than about number 37).

    #36: Oh my god that chart! It’s like I’m 19 all over again. Atomic Kitten at 10 was the song that sold me their album (I regret nothing), Sandstorm is timely given Youtube’s April Fools prank yesterday, and is that Sid “RICKAAAAAY” Owen at 24…?

  42. 42
    James BC on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #35 Yes – reissuing an album to add a later single wasn’t uncommon. Chaka Demus and Pliers did it as well to add Twist and Shout to Tease Me in ’93. It’s the term ‘special edition’ and the addition of several new or remixed tracks that seem new. What I’m saying is that Talk On Corners may have been the lightbulb moment for marketers: “Hang on, this is something we could do deliberately and make a lot of money from.”

    What was the next big selling album to use the same trick?

  43. 43
    Andrew on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #42 ah yes, in terms of ‘Special Edition’ and new artwork etc., you are absolutely correct that Talk on Corners may well be the first. I certainly can’t think of an earlier album that did that.

    Could we then attribute to Talk on Corners: Special Edition the beginning of the end of *The Album* as the definitive body of work, as we’ll soon watch it become a conveniently malleable, re-releasable, bonus track shilling exercise …and eventually give way to the playlist as the primary mode of consumption?

  44. 44
    Andrew on 2 Apr 2015 #

    #42 Also, of course the blue-covered Special Edition was entirely cynical. But I can remember an earlier re-release adding the non-remixed Dreams, which was absent from the first pressings.

  45. 45
    Rory on 2 Apr 2015 #

    Having worked my way through Taylor Swift’s early catalogue a couple of months ago in the wake of bingeing on 1989 and Red over Christmas/New Year, this sounds pretty similar. If early TS represents contemporary country then yeah, add a bit of banjo or steel guitar and this could be country. An unobjectionable 5.

    I’m curious to hear what Lange has done with Muse; the first couple of teaser tracks are okay, but haven’t grabbed me by the throat yet. Loved his Def Leppard productions back in the day, but they were a long time ago.

  46. 46
    James BC on 2 Apr 2015 #

    No, I would disagree that the Talk On Corners special edition was cynical. Without it, thousands of people would have bought the normal edition and been let down that the songs they liked most weren’t in the versions they knew.

    With regard to the disappearance of *The Album*, that’s true to an extent, but then again the kind of Important Acts who make Albums don’t tend to go in for special editions much. Coldplay did it with Viva La Vida, but they made the new tracks available as a separate EP as well, nice guys that they are.

  47. 47
    AMZ1981 on 2 Apr 2015 #

    It’s ironic that Breathless marked the Corrs’ peak, having been there or thereabouts with their previous singles (6-3-6-2) the first material from a new album sent them all the way. Post Breathless they never hit big with any song again. By the time they entered hiatus in 2005 they were already one of those acts that people could scarcely believe had been so big just a few years ago (Alanis Morisette was already one example, David Gray would prove another – along with several bunnies).

    I’m a latecomer to this debate but as far as I can see nobody has mentioned their most incredible feat and why the Corrs are the answer to a good pub quiz question. The reissued Forgiven Not Forgotten rose to number two in the album chart behind Talk On Corner making them the only act besides the Beatles to manage an albums chart 1,2.

  48. 48
    speedwell54 on 2 Apr 2015 #

    re 47 ..and Adele at number 1 and 2 with ’21′ and ’19′ in 2011, just to update the question. Maybe another?

  49. 49
    Izzy on 2 Apr 2015 #

    I wouldn’t know how to check, but surely both Guns N Roses and Bruce Springsteen will also have managed it?

  50. 50
    Andrew Farrell on 2 Apr 2015 #

    Well, this’d be one place to check and this’d be another.

  51. 51
    Rory on 3 Apr 2015 #

    This Mike Oldfield fan spurns your spurious Corrs chart factoid! (Or, if you’d prefer them the other way round…)

  52. 52
    mapman132 on 3 Apr 2015 #

    Artists who have accomplished this in the US, according to Wiki: the Beatles, comedian Bob Newhart, Guns N Roses, and Nelly. I think Jim Croce also did it following his death in 1973, but Wiki doesn’t mention him. Bruce came close in 1992: #2 and #3 behind Def Leppard. Finally, Michael Jackson probably would have done this in 2009, but chart policy at the time excluded older albums, thus leading to the unique situation of the top selling album(s) in the US not appearing on the Billboard 200 at all.

  53. 53
    23 Daves on 3 Apr 2015 #

    #36 Blimey! The crossover effect in full, erm, effect then.

    My Mum was the same with The Corrs. She’d heard of them before I even had, raving on the phone about some group or other who’d recorded a song called, in her words “Ooh, what’s it called, um, erm, I Never… er… oh… (*To Dad: “What’s that song I like, John?”*)… ooh… Oh, you must know it! They’re Irish, and ladies! They sing! Always on the radio! You must have friends that like them! Oooh… it’s on the tip of my tongue… Oh, Never Really Think I Really Loved You Anyway, that’s it. Have you got their album?”

    So there was an assumption among the olds that The Corrs were a hip and happening new band, probably because at the time my Mum raised them I think they hadn’t actually managed a Top 40 hit here. The sound of triumph in her voice when I said I hadn’t heard anything by them yet… unless you listened to Radio Two, there was a point where they were utterly avoidable.

  54. 54
    AMZ1981 on 3 Apr 2015 #

    Sorry about the gaffe which came about from assuming that The Corrs wikipedia article was correct. I did wonder if Mike Oldfield might have done it but forgot about the two early nineties double releases.

  55. 55
    fivelongdays on 4 Apr 2015 #

    #36/38 – I’ll talk more about this at the appropriate time, but Take A Look Around was (IMHO) the high water mark not just for Limp Bizkit, but for NuMetal. Best single of 2000, and a surefire 10.

  56. 56
    Phil on 5 Apr 2015 #

    Can’t have been easy being Jim Corr. I remember an interviewer asking him what it was like for him on tour, living in close quarters with these three internationally celebrated and highly glamorous women…? To which he replied, reasonably, “well, they’re my sisters”. And that relates to the image problem the band had more generally. However glammed-up Andrea got, the Corrs always gave off an air of just wanting to get on with playing music and having fun doing it: what you saw was what you got, they were siblings who played music together and, er, that was it. The industry had other ideas for the three women (look at that video). That was bad enough for them, but it was even worse for Jim; in the New Model Corrs he would have been the Zeppo.

  57. 57
    Tommy Mack on 5 Apr 2015 #

    I remember a Q piece where they hung with The Corrs at their rehearsal studio. They claimed Caroline (?) ‘makes John Bonham sound like teletubby Po gently tapping a plastic tambourine’ which seems a bit of a stretch, I doubt even Caroline would have listed ‘meaty drum sound’ among The Corrs strengths!

  58. 58
    Kinitawowi on 25 May 2015 #

    #39 “Which one’s which in The Corrs?” – Robbie Williams, I Tried Love

  59. 59
    ciaran on 10 Jun 2015 #

    The Corrs were incredibly successful in the latter half of the 90s over in Ireland. In the pre-internet days they were on every Radio playlist, travel ad, talk show so prettyunavoidable.As un threatening as those who entered the ‘lovely girls contest’ in Father Ted.

    The success of 1995-97 looked like it would just be kept within Ireland and then lo and behold the easy celtic listening shtick has caught on across the water in 1998.

    I was intrigues by Breathless when I first heard it as it looked like a total new direction. I never copped the Shania Twain similarities at all but it doesnt work in its favour nowadays. Like a group who’ve gone to the states for 3 months and who picked up a few tunes but quickly discarded on return.They hardly look like their enjoying themselves in the video either.4

    They were still active after this but not as successful as they once were.Jim’s rantings a la David Icke all too familiar. Sharon is one of the judges on Rte show ‘The Voice’ now. I must admit I had a soft spot for Andrea’s ‘Shame on you’ from 2007.

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