Five more offerings from the musical heavens, all of which can be enjoyed in the Spotify playlist below. This week’s edition spans 30 years, from a cult synthpop 80s band to a grammy-winning troupe of all-conquering Canadians.
Slight Return – The Bluetones
They might not have retained the popularity of some of their Britpop peers, but when The Bluetones released their now-platinum-certified debut album ‘Expecting To Fly’ in February 1996, it went straight in at #1, knocking Oasis’ ‘(What’s The Story) Morning Glory?’ off the top of the album charts. ‘Slight Return’ was the biggest hit from ‘Expecting To Fly,’ reaching number two in the charts as Britpop’s popularity began to wane over the course of the year, and the song is practically a definition of what the genre is – from the jangly guitars in the intro to that killer key change in the chorus.
Higher Than The Sun – Primal Scream
Bobby Gillespie and his bandmates in Primal Scream have done their fair share of drugs over the years, so who better to pen an ode to mind-altering substances than this merry bunch of Glaswegians? Having started out as a band rooted in punk rock, the Scream embraced ecstasy and rave culture as the 1980s became the 1990s, enlisting the help of revered DJ Andy Weatherall to create their 1991 opus ‘Screamadelica.’ The album is indebted to the influence of acid house and this prime cut isn’t even a thinly veiled tribute to getting off your tits. “Hallucinogens can open me or untie me” and “I find a higher state of grace in my mind” are just two selections of Gillespie’s lyrics; a man who certainly enjoyed the second summer of love.
Spiderwebs – No Doubt
Gwen Stefani might only be known to some as a very successful solo artist, but long before ‘Hollaback Girl’ she fronted the also very successful No Doubt. The band’s 1995 album ‘Tragic Kingdom’ was at the forefront of the ska-punk movement and spawned a number of singles, including international hits like ‘Don’t Speak’ and ‘Just a Girl’ on its way to reaching diamond-certified status in the US. ‘Spiderwebs’ didn’t chart quite as high, but the song – written in response to Stefani being called incessantly and recited poetry to – remains one of the band’s best-known tracks.
Afterlife – Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire are undoubtedly one of the biggest bands in the world, having released four critically acclaimed albums and established a reputation as one of the finest live acts around. Following 2010’s Grammy Award-winning masterpiece ‘The Suburbs’ was always going to be difficult and 2013’s ‘Reflektor,’ a double-album drawing influence from critique of modern society and life in Haiti while incorporating more elements of dance music than ever before, proved to be their most divisive release yet. Second single ‘Afterlife’ has more than a hint of borrowing from New Order’s ‘Temptation,’ and features a music video comprised of scenes from the 1959 film ‘Black Orpheus’ – a Brazilian adaptation of the tale of Orpheus and Eurydice.
This Is The Day – The The
The The are one of the lesser-known synthpop bands of the 1980s, having since developed a cult following. With singer/songwriter Matt Johnson being the only constant member of the band, their 1983 album ‘Soul Mining’ was originally credited as a Johnson solo album but has since had its credits amended. The album featured the group’s biggest song, ‘This Is The Day.’ With an unmistakeable accordion riff and swirling background synths, as well as some stellar wordsmanship from Johnson including “You didn’t wake up this morning ’cause you didn’t go to bed, you were watching the whites of your eyes turn red,” the song gained newfound popularity in 2011 when Manic Street Preachers released a cover to coincide with their compilation album ‘National Treasures.’