Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Shine (1995)

The Shine series probably played quite a big part in the musical education of a fair few 20 something indie fans throughout Britain during the mid to late 90s. Starting in 1995 and ending in 1999 after ten albums, they were put together by the PolyGram TV label, each volume focussed on the main crop of that year's indie 'hits', and obviously came about due to the more mainstream success of British rock music during those years. By 1999 Britpop was truly dead and it's no surprise that the series finished, but while it lasted each cd (and later 2 cds) did a pretty good job of acting as a greatest hits for that period (the 'Greatest Album In The World Ever' series did a similar thing). As mentioned they did mostly feature British bands, but some American names did sneak on. More importantly some now very obscure names featured with their semi-hits of the time, probably due to the fact that as two of these double cds were coming out each year for a while, they needed to put a bit of filler in.

Anyway I was putting together a sort of Britpop classics mix cd, and decided to listen through them all, and I found it so enjoyable/excellent/occasionally awful that I thought i'd post a few songs and thoughts on here for each volume. So yes, the first came out in 1995 and was a twenty song single cd. You get some pretty major singles from the big names; Blur's Parklife, Oasis' Cigarettes And Alcohol, but as the Britpop explosion wasn't quite started yet, the designers had to drag in a few far older, more obscure, and even not really 'indie' names. For the old, we have New Order's much underrated Regret (my favourite single of theirs, and probably the last truly brilliant thing they ever did), which was two years old by this point, and The Smiths How Soon Is Now. I guess those two are to fill the indie dancefloor hits quota. The same can probably be said for The Farm's 1990 hit All Together Now, which is quite quite lovely. A funny thing about re-listening to all of these was that I knew every note of some of them and yet hadn't heard them (or realised I knew and loved them) for probably about 12-13 years. At this point I was only just getting into indie music (my first big ventures being to buy Different Class, Beautiful Freak and The Great Escape), and was content to tape my favourites from the top 40 every week, noting down my favourite lyrics and being the lonely radio listening to geek that many of us started out as. Therefore it's nice to be able to rediscover these songs. Somehow every word and note of All Together Now was still embedded in my pop-memory/soul.

Another really old one is The House Of Love's Shine On (1987!), which is one of the loveliest of all 80s indie singles and really inspires me to get off my arse and seek out more of their stuff. I can only think this one was included due to the brilliant taste of the compiler, because surely some more commercial stuff could have sneaked on? For the non indie-ish stuff we have Zombie from The Cranberries, obviously included here due to its massive hit status (see also James' Sit Down), and at heart a goodish song despite being overplayed. The first hints of soon to be massive indie mainstays such as Pulp and Suede (Animal Nitrate, the iridescent Do You Remember The First Time) are obvious highlights, and we also get chunks of Elastica, Dodgy, Shed Seven (oh noes) and the abhorrent Charlatans. From that list you get a tiny preview of some of the non-joys that would follow on later volumes. I never knew Cast had so many fucking songs. As I said before, there are a few American songs to fill it out, Green Day's Welcome To Paradise and Dinosaur Jr's killer Feel The Pain. In the massively fun mucho-90s category, we round things up with dashes of The Wonder Stuff, Inspiral Carpets and Jesus motherfucking Jones. Oh, and Electronic (filler).

Here are a few classic highlights. All of them are divine in their every second. Enjoy!

Suede - Animal Nitrate
The House Of Love - Shine On
The Farm - All Together Now
Dinosaur Jr - Feel The Pain


Blogger Paul Gonella said...

no love for the charlatans? the best album the charlatans have ever done came out that year, 'the charlatans'. incredible. i still have the first shed seven album down as a guilty pleasure. saw them in a tiny venue in chelmsford in 92 before the were signed, they were great.

8:57 am, November 14, 2007  

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