May 13

Popular ’94

Popular60 comments • 2,935 views

I’m glad to see the back of this year. As usual, I give songs a mark out of 10, you can too, and here’s where it all gets added up. What gets 6 or more from you?

Which Of These 1994 Number Ones Would You Give 6 Or More To?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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My bottom scorers this year were a brace of 2s for Man U and Wet Wet Wet, and my top scorer was Baby D, which got an 8. This is now the 4th year in a row where I’ve not given a 9 or 10. (Every year from 1971 to 1990 had at least one 9+.)


  1. 1
    thefatgit on 2 May 2013 #

    Peel list here:

    1. Inspiral Carpets (Featuring Mark E Smith) – I Want You
    2. The Fall – Hey Student
    3. Veruca Salt – Seether
    4. Elastica – Connection
    5. Supergrass – Caught By The Fuzz
    6. LSG – Hearts
    7. Elastica – Waking Up
    8. Portishead – Sour Times
    9. Stereolab – Ping Pong
    10. Done Lying Down – Just A Misdemeanour
    11. H Foundation – Laika
    12. Ash – Jack Names The Planets
    13. Pulp – Do You Remember The First Time
    14. Pavement – Range Life
    15. Wedding Present – Swimming Pools Movie Stars
    16. Sebadoh – Rebound
    17. Hole – Miss World
    18. Shellac – Crow
    19. Madder Rose – The Car Song
    20. Sleeper – Delicious
    21. Pulp – Common People
    22. Pavement – Gold Soundz
    23. Pulp – Babies
    24. Shellac – The Dog & Pony Show
    25. Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
    26. That Dog – One Summer Night
    27. Nirvana – The Man Who Sold The World
    28. Ash – Uncle Pat
    29. Sabres Of Paradise – Wilmot
    30. Wedding Present – Click Click
    31. Orbital – Are We Here
    32. Beck – Loser
    33. Ash – Petrol
    34. Pavement – Cut Your Hair
    35. Madder Rose – Panic On
    36. Salt Tank – Charged Up
    37. Wedding Present – So Long Baby
    38. The Fall – City Dweller
    39. Wedding Present – Spangle
    40. Nirvana – Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
    41. The Fall – M5
    42. Elastica – Line Up
    43. Underworld – Dirty Epic
    44. Nirvana – About A Girl
    45. Hole – Doll Parts
    46. R.O.C. – Girl With A Crooked Eye
    47. Sonic Youth – Superstar
    48. Sleeper – Swallow
    49. Tuscadero – Angel In A Half Shirt
    50. Transglobal Underground – Taal Zaman

  2. 2
    Tom on 2 May 2013 #

    I remember that list and thinking Peel’s audience were in a definite rut.

  3. 3
    Andrew Farrell on 2 May 2013 #

    That Peel list (including bonus anachronistic Common People) makes my heart swell in a way which is surely unconnected with my being 19 at the time.

  4. 4
    weej on 2 May 2013 #

    #2 – I remember that list and thinking that 1994 had been the most amazing year in forever. But I was born in 1979, so draw your own conclusions.

    As for the number ones, worst year so far, I only clicked three, and none of those were particularly special.

  5. 5
    Tom on 2 May 2013 #

    #3 The Common People one was nice actually – a session version IIRC.

    I think I’d have liked the list more if I’d liked Elastica (beyond Connection) or Ash.

    It was definitely an age thing, and a narcissism of small differences thing – I was listening to a load of indie too, plus a bit more hip-hop and dance music than Peel’s fans were voting for, it just wasn’t the alt-rocky stuff Peel’s listeners were rewarding.

  6. 6
    thefatgit on 2 May 2013 #

    A couple of Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged performances on that list. Mazzy Star, Pavement and Beck also suggest the influence of Satellite and Cable on the minds of the masses, perhaps.

  7. 7
    Tom on 2 May 2013 #

    Those American bands were all over the music press!

    Select’s list was probably closer to my niche (i.e. it’s VERY student friendly)

    1. Bomb The Bass – Bug Powder Dust Stoned Heights/Island
    2. Primal Scream – Rocks Creation
    3. Oasis – Cigarettes & Alcohol Creation
    4. Tricky – Aftermath Island
    5. Manic Street Preachers – She Is Suffering Epic
    6. Sabres Of Paradise – Wilmot Warp
    7. The Grid – Swamp Thing De/Construction
    8. Blur – Girls & Boys Food
    9. Beastie Boys – Sabotage Grand Royal/Capitol
    10. Blur – To The End Food
    11. Dj Shadow – Lost And Found Mo’wax
    12. Shy Fx And Uk Apachi – Original Nuttah Sour
    13. Dawn Penn – No No No Big Beat/Atlantic
    14. Suede – Stay Together Nude
    15. Elastica – Connection Deceptive
    16. Radiohead – My Iron Lung Parlophone
    17. Primal Scream – Jailbird Creation
    18. Therapy? – Nowhere A&M
    19. Saint Etienne – Pale Movie Heavenly
    20. Portishead – Sour Times Go! Beat
    21. Oasis – Live Forever Creation
    22. The Prodigy – Voodoo People Xl
    23. Goldie – Metalheads London
    24. Terrorvision – Oblivion Emi
    25. Stereolab – Ping Pong Duophonic
    26. Echobelly – I Can’t Imagine A World Without Me Rhythm King/Fauve
    27. Soundgarden – Black Mole Sun A&M
    28. Beck – Loser Geffen
    29. Full Moon Scientist – Old Man River’s Crying Hard Hands
    30. Green Day – Welcome To Paradise Wea
    31. Reel 2 Real – Featuring The Mad Stu Ntman Move It Positiva
    32. S*M*A*S*H – Ladyloveyourc*** Disquesdepopcore
    33. Whigfield – Saturday Night Systematic
    34. Gene – For The Dead Costermonger
    35. Coolio – Fantastic Voyage Tommy Boy
    36. Sabres Of Paradise – Theme Warp
    37. David Holmes – Johnny Favourite Warp
    38. Warren G And Nate Dogg – Regulate Island
    39. Underworld – Dark And Long Junior Boy’s Own
    40. Beastie Boys – Sure Shot Grand Royal/Capitol
    41. Manic Street Preachers – Faster/Pcp Epic
    42. Shampoo – Trouble Fooo
    43. Justin Warfield – Pick It Up Y’all Wea
    44. Orbital – Are We Here? Internal/Ffrr
    45. Portishead – Numb Go!Beat
    46. Elastica – Line Up Deceptive
    47. Dust Brothers – My Mercury Mouth Ep Junior Boy S Own
    48. Whale – Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe East West
    49. Ride – I Don’t Know Where It Comes From Creation
    50. The Auteurs – Chinese Bakery Hut

  8. 8
    enitharmon on 2 May 2013 #

    This is the first such poll in which I have voted “none of the above” – I have tended to assume with past polls that those who did so were simply taking the piss but in my case here it’s because those few tracks I am familiar with I wouldn’t give 6 to and the great majority means nothing at all to me. Hey ho, I grow old, I grow old. Do you think I could eat a peach without getting juice all over my rolled up trouser legs?

    There are two tracks in the Peel list I would give more than 6 to, I wonder if the populistae can guess which they are? I’d say they were the only two I had ever heard but curiously I find I have another one in my music collection – Underworld by Dirty Epic, no, sorry, the other way about. I have no idea where it came from, well I do know, it comes from a home-baked CD with home-baked sleeve somebody sent me once (but I’ve forgotten who) with the title “Sainted Rhythms”. Googling has turned up no trace of an album called “Sainted Rhythms” by Underworld so I assume that it is a compilation designed to persuade me of the worth of that kind of thing. The track is actually called “Dirty Epic/Cowgirl” and clocks in at 18:24. The vocalist gets his kicks on Channel 6, apparently. Perhaps some kind person will help me to identify it. I’m not sure how I’d score it, because I don’t know what to compare it with. Like trying to score Voodoo Chile in the context of 1970 pop I guess.

  9. 9
    enitharmon on 2 May 2013 #

    weej @ 4 – My signoff about Voodoo Chile in 1970 crossed with your post but I guess it makes a similar point but for a different year/different generation. Look upon the pop singles charts for 1969-1971 and despair, but they were years in which a whole load of terrific and ground-breaking music was being made.

  10. 10
    punctum on 2 May 2013 #

    I voted for two, the last two.

    Having gone through the ’69-’71 number one albums on TPL, I’m astounded by the mixture of absolute classics and absolute mindrot. And yet my most popular posts from that period are the ones I did on Ray Conniff and Top Of The Pops Vol 18.

  11. 11
    Tom on 2 May 2013 #

    #10 the undisputed king of Popular page views remains Peter Sarstedt, incidentally. HMMMMMMM.

  12. 12
    Chelovek na lune on 2 May 2013 #

    Bit crap, really, overall, that list of no 1s. Although if there is one thing to thank Wet Wet Wet for it for keeping the list relatively short, as most of what they kept off wasn’t markedly superior…

    I was 19 in 1994, first year at university, which, for me, meant first year away from indie (or indeed more broadly, popular) culture at all. So this marks the end of my period of intense interest in pop music, although 1982 and 1989 were clearly the best years while it lasted… (I do recommmend a few years out like that, quite seriously.) Well, going from East London to St Andrews might explain that even more. Although I saw that year (EDIT: NO – IT WAS THE PREVIOUS YEAR!) in at a party in Dagenham in the company of, among others, some bloke who claimed that he used to bunk off school with at least one of East 17.

    As for the Peel list: Portishead, yes, of course. Pulp, yes, of course. Everything else: well, in short, no. From the Select list, add Tricky, the Manics and that S*M*A*S*H EP, and …that’ll do, I think. I”m still inclined to think of “Patience of Angels” as my song of the year, and was really disappointed to learn that it was all about a story set in Cambridge, and not, as I imagined, somewhere in Edinburgh perhaps.

  13. 13
    Brendan F on 2 May 2013 #

    5 for me, the best since the annus mirabilis of 1990. Maybe I’m getting soft in my old age.

  14. 14
    enitharmon on 2 May 2013 #

    Man in the Moon @ 12 says: “As for the Peel list: Portishead, yes, of course. Pulp, yes, of course. Everything else: well, in short, no.”

    Phew! Haven’t missed anything thing then.

    Marcello @ 10: The fact that terrific music was being made doesn’t mean that it gets into the charts, nor that what gets into the charts is terrific music. Of course. You knew that anyway. Quality ≢ Quantity.

  15. 15
    Billy Hicks on 2 May 2013 #

    Doop, Whigfield, Baby D and East 17. For once my choices are almost identical with the main Popular audience, them being 4 out of the top 5 leaders in the poll so far.

    1994 was a huge year of loss and change for both sides of my family. In March I was awoken in the night to be told my Grandad Peter had died, ironically while Mariah’s ‘Without You’ was #1. He was a huge fan of computers and technology, spending much of his life on amateur radio and would have loved to have seen the internet. My Great-Grandma died in the June, and on the other side, my Grandma Josephine in October on the same day ‘Baby Come Back’ hit the top. Apparently one of her favourite songs was Minnie Riperton’s ‘Loving You’ (#2 in 1975), which makes my every listen of it somewhat heartbreaking – not only were both her and my Grandma taken from the world too early, but from the same type of cancer.

    Christmas and New Year was spent with both families together, sharing their losses and looking optimistically at the future. Happily I’d also gained two cousins that year, either side of the family, some welcome new life in a year of loss. Ending the year aged 6, I’d almost become immune from grief, with three family deaths and, out of all the Disney films to come out, ‘The Lion King’ at the cinema adding Mufasa to the list. I’ve had few major losses since, and as of writing my surviving grandparents are alive and well in their 70s.

    It all means that even just seeing the year ’1994′ written down is an odd, somewhat sad feeling for me, despite how young I was at the time. Roll on 1995 and indeed the rest of the 1990s, we’re getting closer and closer to a musical landscape that, for the most part, I remember!

  16. 16
    fivelongdays on 2 May 2013 #

    1994 was the year I got into music. It is also the year that my two favourite albums of all time, Therapy?’s ‘Troublegum’ and Manic Street Preachers’ ‘The Holy Bible’ were released.

    I touched on T? during the ‘Inside’ thread – suffice to say, Andy Cairns’ mixture of angst and humour, coupled with buzzsaw guitars and dancy drums struck a chord that has never stopped ringing – and there’s going to be some opportunities to talk about the Manics later, too.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve looked at the Select list and the Peel list, and pretty much all the songs on there that I actually know I’d give at least six.

  17. 17
    fivelongdays on 2 May 2013 #

    For the chart completists, here’s the NME 50 singles of the year…

    1. Blur: Girls & Boys
    2. Oasis: Cigarettes & Alcohol
    3. Oasis: Live Forever
    4. Elastica: Connection
    5. Sabres Of Paradise: The Theme
    6. Beck: Loser
    7. Supergrass: Caught By The Fuzz
    8. Public Enemy: Give It Up
    9. Oasis: Whatever
    10. Beastie Boys: Sabotage
    11. Goldie Presents Metalheads: Inner City Life
    12. Blur: To The End
    13. Oasis: Supersonic
    14. Gene: Sleep Well Tonight
    15. Whigfield: Saturday Night
    16. Elastica: Line Up
    17. The Stone Roses: Love Spreads
    18. Blur: Parklife
    19. Veruca Salt. Seether
    20. Manic Street Preachers: Faster/Pcp
    21. Tricky. Ponderosa
    22. Wabren G: Regulate
    23. Shampoo: Trouble
    24. Dawn Penn: You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)
    25. S*M*A*S*H: Lady Love Your Cunt
    26. Suede: Stay Together
    27. Dj Shadow’
    28. Primal Scream: Jailbird
    29. Urge Overkill: Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon
    30. Madonna: Secret
    31. S*M*A*S*H: Kill Somebody
    32. Portishead: Sour Times
    33. Bomb T H He Bass: Bug Powder Dust
    34. Salt ‘N’ Pepa Featuring En Vogue: Whatta Man
    35. Nick Cave: Do You Love Me?
    36. Manic Street Preachers: She Is Suffering
    37. Soundgarden: Black Hole Sun
    38. Suede: The Wild Ones
    39. Orbital: Impact Usa
    40. Youssou N’dour And Neneh Cherry: 7 Seconds
    41. The Grid: Swamp Thing
    42. Renegade Soundd Wave: Renegade Sound Wave
    43. Portishead: Dumb
    44. Hole: Miss World
    45. Rem: What’s The Frequency, Kenneth
    46. Tricky! Aftermath
    47. Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart: Becoming Moe Like God
    48. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci: Merched
    49. Gene: Be My Light, Be My Guide
    50. Green Day: Welcome To Paradise

    …and the Melody Maker top 20

    1. Girls And Boys – Blur
    2. Live Forever – Oasis
    3. Aftermath – Tricky
    4. Regulate – Warren G
    5. Connection – Elastica
    6. Sleep Well Tonight – Gene
    7. Sour Times – Portishead
    8. Sabotage – Beastie Boys
    9. Ping Pong – Stereolab
    10. Faster/Pcp – Manic Street Preachers
    11. Your Ghost – Kristin Hersh
    12. Supersonic – Oasis
    13. Kathleen Ep – Tindersticks
    14. I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me – Echobelly
    15. Parklife – Blur
    16. The Sisters Ep – Pulp
    17. Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon – Urge Overkill
    18. Loser – Beck
    19. To The End – Blur
    20. Cigarettes And Alcohol – Oasis

  18. 18
    Weej on 2 May 2013 #

    I got the Elastica LP the day it came out – it had a flexidisc with a cover of Adam & The Ants’ Cleopatra with it, I remember. It was very highly rated by seemingly everyone at the time, but seems to have failed to make it to the canon – all I hear about it these days is that it’s derivative – which it is, but it improves significantly on its influences, I’d rather hear it than Wire or The Stranglers any day. Brilliant from start to finish, except Indian Song of course.

    Other great stuff on the Peel list – Early never-to-be-bettered tracks from Supergrass, Sleeper and Ash, the sleepy heroin ache of Madder Rose’s Car Song, the only great thing The Inspiral Carpets ever did, Underworld of course (Rosie – the lyrics in Underworld songs are generally free-association improvisations, my favourite is “Woman in a box with her head in her box / Speaks French spoken like a tourist French / Hey classic Coca-Cola”) Stereolab’s Ping Pong (not their best but still) and a host of other stuff Punctum described much better than I can on the Love Is All Around thread.

    And Pulp, obviously I’m going to say Pulp.

    The Select list is odd, still full of great stuff, but in a seemingly random order. Was there a reader vote that year?

  19. 19
    punctum on 2 May 2013 #

    Canons are only good for firing; that’s language and logic as I use them.

    I got the Elastica album on tape the Friday after it came out, along with The Bends and Moby’s Everything Is Wrong which came out the same week. Still have all of them (and they all play perfectly after 18 years; so much for the impermanence of cassettes!) and they’re all fab although I think the Moby one was my favourite at the time.

  20. 20
    Mark G on 2 May 2013 #

    I dug out the Elastica debut about a month ago, it still sounds great. Yes, every band seemed to have their “India” song (see also “Shadow” The Primitives)

  21. 21
    punctum on 2 May 2013 #

    that was my favourite track on “Lovely”!

  22. 22
    Tom on 2 May 2013 #

    #17 I will always be grateful to that Melody Maker list for getting me to listen to “Regulate”, I’d missed it in the charts, loved it ever since.

    #18 There was lots of Elastica-are-derivative stuff at the time too! “Who cares?” being the only reasonable response. I never got into them but I don’t think that was why. (I had just got into Wire and was DELIGHTED that they’d grabbed such a good riff for “Connection”, which I rushed out and bought).

    Our very own Kat Stevens is a world-renowned Elastica expert who wrote about them for One Week One Band, by the way.http://oneweekoneband.tumblr.com/tagged/elastica/chrono

  23. 23
    Mark G on 2 May 2013 #

    It was also on their “Early years” compilation, but in “Demo/early” form.. (The “Lovely” version had a properly scored indian orchestra, I believe made all the difference)

    I remember finding “Lovely” as being one perfect pop album. Will have to dig *that* one out, too…

  24. 24
    Auntie Beryl on 2 May 2013 #

    Just three. Baby D, E17 and… Tony Di Bart.

    A major quality disconnect between the number ones and what lay beneath.

    “Dirty Epic” is wonderful, enitharmon!

  25. 25
    lonepilgrim on 2 May 2013 #

    Here’s the top 50 singles of 1994 according to The Face (via http://www.rocklist.net)

    1. Oasis – Live Forever
    2. Warren G and Nate Dog – Regulate
    3. Tricky – Aftermath
    4. Oasis – Supersonic
    5. Blur – Girls And Boys
    6. Portishead – SourTimes
    7. Pulp – Do You Remember The First Time?
    8. Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry – Seven Seconds
    9. Portishead – Numb
    10. Goldie presents Metalheads – Inner City Life
    11. Beck – Loser
    12. DJ Shadow/DJ Krush – Lost & Found/Kemuri
    13. Oasis – Listen Up/Cigarettes And Alcohol
    14. Stone Roses – Love Spreads
    15 Oasis – Shaker maker
    15. Sabres Of Paradise – Wilt
    16. Craig Mack – Flava In Ya Ear
    17. Beastie Boys – Sabotage
    18. Barbara Tucker – Beautiful People
    19. Elastica – Connection
    20. Veruca Salt – Seethed
    21. Roni Size – Music Box
    22. Urban Species – Spiritual Love
    23. X Project – Code Red
    24. Symbol for The Artist formely …. – The Most Beautiful Girl In The World
    25. Kylie Minogue – Confide In Me
    26. Green Day – Basket Case
    27. Blur – End Of The Century
    28. Tom Jones – If I Only Knew
    29. Dawn Penn – You Don’t Love Me
    30. The Dust Brothers – Twentieth Century Sky EP
    31. Stereolab – Ping Pong
    32. Beastie Boys – Sureshot
    33. Supergrass – Caught By The Fuzz
    34. Shampoo – Trouble
    35. Ahmad – Back In The Day
    36. Sonic Youth/Redd Kross – Superstar/Yesterday Once More
    37. Whigfield – Saturday Night
    38. Kristin Hersh – Your Ghost
    39. Smashing Pumpkins – Disarm
    40. REM – What’s The Frequency Kenneth?
    41. Pulp – Babies
    42. Primal Scream – Rocks
    43. Jhelisa – Friendly Pressure
    44. Gloworm – Carry Me Home
    45. E-Z Rollers – Believe
    46. Lena Fiagbe – What’s It Like Be Beautiful?
    47. Leviticus – The Burial
    48. Red Snapper – The Swank EP
    49. Aaliyah – Back And Forth

    that’s quite an intriguing spread of genres and acts

  26. 26
    lonepilgrim on 2 May 2013 #

    and the NME top 50 from the same source:

    1. Blur: Girls & Boys
    2. Oasis: Cigarettes & Alcohol
    3. Oasis: Live Forever
    4. Elastica: Connection
    5. Sabres Of Paradise: The Theme
    6. Beck: Loser
    7. Supergrass: Caught By The Fuzz
    8. Public Enemy: Give It Up
    9. Oasis: Whatever
    10. Beastie Boys: Sabotage
    11. Goldie Presents Metalheads: Inner City Life
    12. Blur: To The End
    13. Oasis: Supersonic
    14. Gene: Sleep Well Tonight
    15. Whigfield: Saturday Night
    16. Elastica: Line Up
    17. The Stone Roses: Love Spreads
    18. Blur: Parklife
    19. Veruca Salt. Seethed
    20. Manic Street Preachers: Faster/Pcp
    21. Tricky. Ponderosa
    22. Warren G: Regulate
    23. Shampoo: Trouble
    24. Dawn Penn: You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)
    25. S*M*A*S*H: Lady Love Your C*nt
    26. Suede: Stay Together
    27. Dj Shadow’
    28. Primal Scream: Jailbird
    29. Urge Overkill: Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon
    30. Madonna: Secret
    31. S*M*A*S*H: Kill Somebody
    32. Portishead: Sour Times
    33. Bomb T H He Bass: Bug Powder Dust
    34. Salt ‘N’ Pepa Featuring En Vogue: Whatta Man
    35. Nick Cave: Do You Love Me?
    36. Manic Street Preachers: She Is Suffering
    37. Soundgarden: Black Hole Sun
    38. Suede: The Wild Ones
    39. Orbital: Impact Usa
    40. Youssou N’dour And Neneh Cherry: 7 Seconds
    41. The Grid: Swamp Thing
    42. Renegade Sound Wave: Renegade Sound Wave
    43. Portishead: Dumb
    44. Hole: Miss World
    45. Rem: What’s The Frequency, Kenneth
    46. Tricky! Aftermath
    47. Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart: Becoming More Like God
    48. Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci: Merched
    49. Gene: Be My Light, Be My Guide
    50. Green Day: Welcome To Paradise

  27. 27
    flahr on 2 May 2013 #

    7 – I realise it’s the label but personally I think MSP should be forced to subtitle all of their songs “(Epic)” in future

  28. 28
    lonepilgrim on 2 May 2013 #

    oops apologies for (re)posting the NME list – I missed the earlier posting

  29. 29
    anto on 2 May 2013 #

    re:16 “Troublegum” was absolutely massive at my school. It’s the first album I ever heard where the songs segued into one another which intrigued me. Some of the best opening lines on any record – “With a face like this I won’t break any hearts”, “Masturbation saved my life”, “Heaven kicked you out. You wouldn’t wear a tie” and perhaps best of all “Here comes a girl with perfect teeth. I know she won’t be smiling at me.”

    As for Elastica, few bands during this period were better on tv. Basically the camera loved Justine Frischmann. We’ve all heard a million times about Starman/Boy George/Roxy Music on TOTP but I would say Elasticas first appearance on the show had some effect on younger viewers understanding of androgynous beauty too. The difference was that Justines dark-eyed looks and deep voice made us appreciate such things from the other direction.
    I was never that bothered wheter they sounded like Wire or the Strangers or whoever. I think they could have surpassed their influences if they had played their cards right.

  30. 30
    fivelongdays on 2 May 2013 #

    I am sure Elastica’s first album was 1995. That said, this is a singles blog, so…

    RE: Canons – It’s funny, and I think it all depends whose talking about them. Where’s the split between ‘Canon’ and ‘Cult’?

  31. 31
    Patrick Mexico on 2 May 2013 #

    Re: #12

    “Bit crap, really, overall, that list of no 1s. Although if there is one thing to thank Wet Wet Wet for it for keeping the list relatively short, as most of what they kept off wasn’t markedly superior…”

    No way, no way! Well, if I’m being cynical, the no 2s of that summer were a cod-reggae/hippy snorefest, but as UK Top 40 singles during their 15-week reign of [beyond] terror go, I’d much rather be talking about these 15 on Popular – that if it wasn’t for Marti’s mob and had the right press coverage, coulda been contenders:

    1. The Grid – Swamp Thing – minimalist instrumental brilliance, like a modern Apache.

    2. Manic Street Preachers – Faster – one of the best songs ever written. “Like hearing [..] a band [..] with guns to their heads, forced to condense everything they believed into one final four-minute edict” – Simon Price, that’s definitely our price.

    3. Dawn Penn – You Don’t Love Me (No No No) – Hey UB40: *this* is reggae music!

    4. Warren G feat. Nate Dogg – Regulate – Slick, sleazy and sublime appropriation of Michael McDonald’s I Keep Forgetting. One of the golden age of hip-hop’s last stands.

    5. Corona – The Rhythm of the Night – again, one of the best songs ever written. And according to Twitter, it cured Tom’s winter flu.

    6. DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – Summertime – if you don’t find some charm in this, you don’t have a soul. Or you’re a massive racist. Or have Seasonal Affective Disorder.

    7. DJ Miko – What’s Up – obviously terrible, but a funny-as-hell “trolling” of 4 Non Blondes and the histrionics of Seattle-centric alternative rock. It’s what Kurt would have wanted. No, really. Who mentioned He-Man?

    8. Maxx – No More (I Can’t Stand It) – one of Eurodance’s defining moments – synth line reminiscent of a distressed flute, garbled “ragga man” gibberish from a proto-Dappy, but despite itself, THAT strong female lead rave vocal in the chorus makes it kind of excellent.

    9. Seal – Kiss from a Rose – nowhere near as cool as Killer, but a thing of melodic, genuinely soulful beauty.

    10. Beastie Boys – Sabotage – The clue’s in the title, and had this been number 1, we wouldn’t be discussing a future baseball-capped, bearded bunny of disturbing origins.

    11. Neneh Cherry and Youssou N’Dour – 7 Seconds – obviously Massive Attack clones have now milked this sound for all it’s worth, but my word! What atmosphere! What tasteful use of African vocals without resorting to cringeworthy world music package tour cliches! (No, I mean this, seriously.) Almost as upset about this missing out on the no. 1 spot as Buffalo Stance.

    12. Blast – Crayzy Man – Chicago house, Detroit techno and Hacienda rave dynamics combine for an underrated club classic. A signpost to some of the more emotionally ambiguous club classics we’ll encounter on Popular very soon.

    13. Ace of Base – Don’t Turn Around – much better than Aswad’s take on it, suits strait-laced Nordic gloom much better than gonzo British reggae.

    14. Magic Affair – Omen III – more ridiculous Eurodance that’s difficult to take seriously and is less sonically inventive than Blink-182 but have you seen the size of that chorus? Have you seen its Mo Farah, blink and you’ll miss it pace? “Go where you want but don’t forget the old man” – should have been a Nirvana/Jesus Lizard-style division of labour with Pulp’s Help The Aged.

    15. Veruca Salt – Seether – delighted to see the love for this on the many readers’ polls. OK, it didn’t break the top 40 but if you can get a crowd going like this at Glastonbury, you’ve got something right. Would have mentioned Black Hole Sun but find what inspired Nirvana – the Pixies, Husker Du, Sonic Youth sugar rush – much more exciting than Soundgarden, Alice in Chains or Pearl Jam who I once described as “The Calling with power chords.” But more on that later. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPsQcB52V18

  32. 32
    Billy Hicks on 3 May 2013 #

    Yes at Omen III :D One of those Eurodance tracks that should have been huge (and was elsewhere in Europe) but criminally underperformed here, in this case peaking at #17. See also La Bouche’s ‘Be My Lover’ the following year…

  33. 33
    Chelovek na lune on 3 May 2013 #

    #31 well…I’d agree that Dawn Penn, Warren G and Corona were all superior bits of pop music, if no more and no less…and “7 Seconds” is indeed a classic (but Hush! We’ll have a chance to discuss the amazing Ms Cherry before too long)…but the Grid, IMO, did better earlier on (“Floatation”, even the more pure pop “A Beat Called Love”); and while the MSPs were indeed on top form at this time…it was all about THAT album, and the totality of the severity, the suffering, the extreme harshness of it all, which, balaclavas or no, didn’t really, really, translate to the 3-4 minute form demanded of the single (in which they really did excel at other stages of their career, both earlier and later)

    …although, curiously, from your list, it’s “The Omen III” that really sticks out. Quite wonderful, as well as ridiculous. Euro-disco meets the Clockwork Orange. Manic, such an inventive and powerful use of the main riff…and a purposeful and genuinely creative use of stock elements of this type of music (the “winding down” of the drum machine at the end, e.g.) – the nearest soulmates (though the autocorrect to “schoolmates” almost does the job, too) this record had was “Feel What You Want” by Kristina W, which was gloriously severe; and some of the work of the Tyrrel Corporation, who’d done a decent job of exploring menace, despair and mild degradation over keyboards and a drum machine a couple of years earlier. Part 90s Euro disco-pop; part quasi-totalitarian menace: had Poyushchye Vmeste followed this model a decade later (best known in the English-speaking world for “You Must Be Like Putin”, but with a whole album of tacky, over-the-top, inappropriately poppy tracks with bouncy tunes, and driving beats and lyrics sung cheerily about topics like alcoholism (“If Not For Beer”) , abortion (“Little Wonder (Inside You)”, parliamentary democracy (“My Deputy”), civic pride (“My City”) family relationships..and so on accessible to Russophones) perhaps they might have gone on to bigger things, and to have become genuinely scary, rather than merely tacky, and cast aside as such.The Magic Affair track was really rather extraordinary: horror-show cartoon horror, perhaps.

    But this is by no means the only year where no 1s are less interesting than that which bubbles away beneath the surface…

  34. 34
    wichita lineman on 3 May 2013 #

    Re “this is by no means the only year where no 1s are less interesting than that which bubbles away beneath the surface”.

    You could say that of almost every year on Popular, with the possible exceptions of 1966 and 1973. But, hey, that’s why I’m here, so we get to talk about Matchstalk Men rather than Death Disco, and E17 rather than Pulp, again, again, again.

    Having said that, I’d be delighted if someone started a blog that dissected things like Omen III :)

  35. 35
    Tom on 3 May 2013 #

    You’d expect it to be true every year! Since we’re talking 1 record vs 39 (or 29 in earlier days).

    I wonder how often the #1 is the best record in the Top 40. At one point I thought of adding a “Best record in the Top 40” field on Popular, in fact, but decided it would be a distraction.

  36. 36
    wichita lineman on 3 May 2013 #

    Oh go on.

  37. 37
    Chelovek na lune on 3 May 2013 #

    But it WOULD be a distraction! Tho the basic point is valid…

  38. 38
    swanstep on 3 May 2013 #

    Just one (Prince) for me. I’m predicting at least three in 1995 (thank god, I’m dyin’ here).

  39. 39
    Chelovek na lune on 3 May 2013 #

    Ah, there’s one in 1995 that I consider a serious contender for the title of “worst (and most unworthy) number 1…EVER” . Which given the competition is saying something.

  40. 40
    glue_factory on 3 May 2013 #

    Three for me. This is the first time I’ve felt a serious disconnect between the number ones and the records that I was listening to. Maybe it’s simply a function of getting older and one’s musical tastes becoming more less mainstream, but it was only when I read the chart from Select magazine that I thought “Ahhh, that was 1994”

  41. 41
    Rory on 3 May 2013 #

    I’ve been cooling my heels here lately too, because not many of these number ones do much for me. I’ve even rejected my earlier score of 6 for Chaka Demus & Pliers so I could go for a curmudgeonly “None of Them”: take that, 1994!

    Meanwhile, it was a year chock full of Blur’s finest, Radiohead’s new lease of life, top-notch Suede and Pulp and other things I love still. Not to mention a very fine album (in its US incarnation for me, especially) by a band dear to our hearts. So, come back, 1994, all is forgiven.

  42. 42
    sid on 3 May 2013 #

    *first time comment*

    I’ve started reading Popular during the 1994 entries, unfortunately also the year when I stopped listening to and taping the best bits of the Top 40, aged 17. If that seems a very advanced age to still be doing that sort of thing I don’t remember listening to the charts at all until sometime around my 14th birthday (not sure what the trigger was, certainly not Chesney or Cher). I bought my first Melody Maker not long afterwards, so for two or three years ‘chart’ and ‘indie’ music were concurrent and almost entirely separate interests, with my (guilty) enjoyment of the former strictly confined to the home, while attempting to maintain a cooler image amongst my peers. Didn’t work mind, I can vividly recall my proto-Britpop tastes being sneered at by both the ‘lads’, who were generally into dance or rap, as well as more alternative types who favoured grunge and were also discovering Hendrix, the Doors, Dylan etc. Sadly by the time my bands ‘won’ the argument (couple of bunnies approaching in 95) there was no opportunity to feel vindicated, as we had finished school and my tastes had moved on as well.

    Anyway I don’t remember any of these 1994 number ones doing much to stem my dwindling interest in the charts, and any enjoyment at the time was probably drained away by their heavy rotation on Capital FM, which we were subjected to every day on a very long journey to and from school on the sixth form bus. Baby D and possibly Tony Di Bart would have been my (secret) favourites then, and definitely are now – both in their different ways had that exquisite uplifting yet wistful/nostalgic feel which is only amplified at 19 years distance. Whigfield and East 17 I found unbearable (loved the first two East 17 singles though) but get a vote now for having a certain ‘those were the days’ charm about them.

  43. 43
    Patrick Mexico on 3 May 2013 #

    Re #32: Thanks Billy! Be My Lover is indeed a classic of its genre. Sometimes I’ll listen to Eurodance compilations that walk the line between genius and stab-yourself-in-the-ears horror, but that cuts through all the junk (perhaps including the worrying next number 1) like a knife through butter. Just don’t imagine it in the Bristolian accent, in turn it makes me imagine Ian Holloway in eyeliner. I’d been drinking so I was scraping the barrel a tiny bit for great summer 1994 records, but anything’s better than Wet Wet Wet for 15 weeks. By around August, weren’t people consciously buying it as a troll? Surely nobody in their right mind can love Four Weddings and a Funeral THAT much.

  44. 44
    Tom on 3 May 2013 #

    #39 There are two number ones next year where my liking for them may well drive some of my readers off. I wonder if one of them is the same!

  45. 45
    Chelovek na lune on 3 May 2013 #

    #44 Moderately (but only moderately) astonished by your VICIOUS SLATING of “Vincent” as I was (and noting a certain hint of grade inflation of late…), but…if the record I have in mind is one you can bring yourself to like, I would be most surprised, but should it be so, then I greatly look forward to reading your justification (and also Marcello’s take on it, should that be forthcoming)….

    (For my part…there are at least two, possibly to some extent three, 1995 no 1s I may be prepared to conjure up a defence for in the anticipated thrust of negative opinion, too)

  46. 46
    punctum on 3 May 2013 #

    *peeks at 1995 number one list*

    word that springs to mind is “ennui” :-(

  47. 47
    Tom on 3 May 2013 #

    What about the ennui? Have we lost their trust?

    *exit pursued by a bunny*

  48. 48
    punctum on 3 May 2013 #

    Some great number one albums to look forward to in 1995 (part of why I started TPL) and some really rather good number twos as well; alas the number one list is the short straw here :-(

  49. 49
    Patrick Mexico on 6 May 2013 #

    Re: #31 (self-critical here!) I’ll trade DJ Miko for a certain bunny who we’ll be talking about no less than 8 (in Grandstand-ese, EIGHT) times. It’s also, despite it being “far too smelly” for the band in question, refreshing as traditional lemonade, and what Kurt would have wanted. Then again, maybe, I don’t really wanna know.

    Re: #33 Thank you, Chelovek. That is phenomenal. Omen III was the highlight of this already wonderful album of my childhood:


    I’m a sucker for the totalitarian* theatrics of the acts you mentioned, so will have a look at Poyushchye Vmeste et al. I guess the Manics’ Holy Bible-era uniforms** naturally sway my attention to all things Russian..

    * In a musical way!
    ** In an unambiguously heterosexual way, but oh god, James’s mullet back then… if I wasn’t married already to my Japanese hologram wife

  50. 50
    Baztech on 6 May 2013 #

    Just looked at 1995…not as bad as I thought. Or that may be because of a certain locking of horns for the no.1 spot between 2 britpop faves. Can’t wait to see comments on that.
    There might be a touch of melancholy as it’s the last moment the charts seemed to matter to a large proportian of young people. (very debatable???) In my eyes (I was 7 at this point)

    OK I am skipping ahead, 1994 No1s were pish though. Peels list only decent IMO. “As you masterbate with your Shaun Ryder face” indeed.

  51. 51
    Patrick Mexico on 7 May 2013 #

    Indeed – I think that might smash the comments record currently held by :cough: JJ Barrie! Helps that the weather today is *very* summer of Britpop. Colchester, Burnage, a glass of wine, favourite easy chair, box of popcorn.. sit back, relax, and watch the sparks fly. Revisionism of Britpop has been in vogue for a full decade now, ever since John Harris’ The Last Party was published. We’ll soon find out if in any way that entire genre was :choke: actually any good at all.. I’ll try not to be too cynical right now though, we just need to avoid embracing certain nostalgic tropes, as these (sorta) wise words prove:


  52. 52
    punctum on 7 May 2013 #

    #55 – both of which appear on number one albums, so if you want to know my views on them I’m afraid you’re going to have to wait until TPL gets to them.

  53. 53
    James BC on 7 May 2013 #

    Great to see the two early Ash songs on the Peel list (and they are the best things on it).

    It’s hard to say whether Britpop helped or hindered Ash. Did they benefit from renewed interest in “guitar music”? Or were they a bit heavy to really fit in? Either way, they are still going, as good as ever, one of the best bands of every era they’ve survived through.

  54. 54
    lonepilgrim on 7 May 2013 #

    I had a cassette compilation of Brit nominees for 1994-1995 which featured a wonderful selection of tunes from a variety of genres – including Common People, The Universal by Blur, Kiss to a Rose by Seal and something by PJ Harvey whose name I can’t remember.

    I’ve tried tracking it down via Google but have had no luck yet – any suggestions?

  55. 55
    Alan not logged in on 7 May 2013 #

    was it this

    which had PJ’s Down By The Water. it’s Brits96 mind

  56. 56
    lonepilgrim on 7 May 2013 #

    thanks Alan! no wonder I couldn’t track it down

  57. 57
    intothefireuk on 8 May 2013 #

    Only Baby D gets the 6 and above vote for me. Very poor but not unexpected. Otherwise the above lists show how much was really going on and how much quality music was being produced.

  58. 58
    DV on 3 Jun 2013 #

    Wow, the NME top 50 is wayyyyyy better than the lamer real top 50 for this year.

  59. 59
    Chelovek na lune on 1 Mar 2015 #

    So the Official Charts Company now has published an archive of the Scottish Charts, ostensibly going back to February 1994, but in fact there are quite a few weeks missing (or possibly in some casescombined into monthly charts) for the first few months, and with numerous oddities that are so glaring that they must surely be errors or not credible.

    Towards the end of the year, the compilation has evidently settled down, and as regards no 1s, the differences between the UK chart are as follows:

    No 1 in Scotland but not UK :
    1) Mc Sar & The Real McCoy – Another Night
    2) Stone Roses – Love Spreads

    No 1 in UK but not Scotland
    1) Baby D – Let Me Be Your Fantasy.

    Sorry to see Baby D not make it north of the border; kind of pleased to see the Real McKoy do so, and profoundly indifferent towards the Roses’ underwhelming comeback single.

  60. 60
    benson_79 on 3 Jan 2021 #

    First time I’ve voted None of the Above, having started from the very beginning. One thing I’ve enjoyed about Popular is how it challenges what I’ve come to learn are my irredeemably rockist beliefs; that said I’m baffled by the love for Baby D. I hated any Eurodance record at the time but the cornier ones now raise a nostalgic smile. LMBYF still feels… dull, but it’s fascinating to read about the love for it, a love that I will never truly understand *sob*

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