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No Hits Required: Episode 2: 90s & 00s Pop CDs

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  • No Hits Required: Episode 2: 90s & 00s Pop CDs

    No Hits Required:
    Overlooked Gems on 90s & 00s Pop CDs




    Atomic Kitten - Feels So Good(2004)
    Track : Love Won't Wait


    The great Atomic Kitten mystery. This is the with The Tide Is High on it. It's harmless enough but wouldn't make the cut for me even if it was a No Hit. Love Won't Wait is the killer here. A brilliant disco tune which rather oddly gives me a similar euphoric high to Margie Joseph's I Can't Move No Mountain which Mr Divine introduced to me via one of his excellent yearly compilations. Another track called So Good is enjoyable in a similar way but not quite there. Well done to Kylie Minogue for co-writing So Good anyway.

    The great Atomc Kitten mystery is that after several listens of this CD I was ready to say nothing to see here because Love Won't Wait is so damned good I was totally convinced it must have been a massive hit single; played out, pop-charted and therefore ineligible. It was never a single though, despite standing head and shoulders above everything else on this CD!

    Notes :
    Equally mysterious, Love Won't Wait was included on the illegal single CD Essential Atomic Kitten collection released in Germany but not on the officially-released double-CD 'Best Of.' Absolutely mad. The damned thing screams instant club and chart hit to me, especially if it was put out with a brace of trendy remixes.

    Sleevenotes reveal two strong reasons why this track is so good compared to the rest of the CD. First up, it was written by Rob Davis and Alex Von Soos and they didn't pen anything else here. I don't know Soos (another name for the 90s / 00s Pop Notebook), but ex-Mud bassist Rob Davis is of course the co-author with Cathy Dennis of Kylie Minogue's awesome Can't Get You Out Of My Head.
    Another minor but significant detail, it's the only track here with additional production by Ash Howes. Ash Howes is a bonafide superstar in the world of 90s / 00s pop and his name crops up again and again on 90s and 00s pop Cds. See here for his extraordinary resume.

    Summary :
    Splash 50p on this CD so you can sort a vinyl carve of Love Won't Wait for your next Wedding DJ set. It's one- tracker hands in the air disco heaven which would probably be ideal at Heaven or any similar disco-celebrating emporium.



    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



    Liberty X: Being Somebody (2003)
    Track: Everybody Cries


    In 2001 the five winning members of UK talent show Popstars formed Hearsay and the five runners-up formed Liberty. The press dubbed Liberty Flopstars and another band objected to their name, making them the first second-rate singing group to be taken to court for literally taking a Liberty. The Sun newspaper stepped in with a readers contest to choose a new name. So failure, being sued and having their name chosen by a tabloid all before they had recorded a single note. They paid their pop star dues did Liberty X.

    I knew ploughing through three for a quid 90s / 00s Pop CDs would rustle a few decent house and disco tunes and some satisfyingly melodic songs. Emma, Rachel, Louise, and the Kittens have certainly delivered that already. I wasn't expecting to find something as beautifully moody and majestic as Everybody Cries from this, Liberty X's final CD. It's a plain song in itself but production-wise this mournful little gem builds and builds and before you realise what's happening it's raising arm hairs when the synths, wailing vocals and orchestra unite at the climax. If you like the cinemascope-style peak moments of Zero 7 at their best then you'll love this as much as I do.

    Notes:
    Now this was a minor UK hit but I'm bending the rules for it as it was not only their final single but also the one that ended their contract. It entered the UK chart at 13, dropped to 27 a week later and then disappeared without a trace. In pop act terms; a complete failure and it hastened the bands demise. It was their last throw of the pop stardom dice. Finishing their career as controversially as they started, the official video for this song was labelled 'irresponsible' by health and safety types who felt it sent a message to impressionable young fans that walking along railway lines is OK.

    Everybody Cries is on my No Hits Wall Of Fame as an excellent but underrated song. The fact the band never wanted it as a single and it became their swansong is a bonus. I have to say that YouTube really doesn't do this song justice. Pick up the CD for 50p or less and hear it loud on a proper stereo. It sounds awesome. Props are due to the writers Hannah Robinson and Pascal Gabriel, producer Marius De Vries and orchestra leader Gavyn Wright.

    Summary
    Being Somebody is an enjoyably upbeat and punchy CD from start to finish and Everybody Cries is the bittersweet exception. A beautiful little bittersweet kitchen sink drama of an exception. I really like it anyway. Here's the official controversial video:

    <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>

  • #2


    Geri Halliwell: Scream If You Want To Faster (2001)
    Track: I Was Made That Way


    The second CD from Geraldine Estelle Halliwell following on from 1999’s Schizophrenic which contained three No. 1 hit singles (Look At Me, Mi Chico Latino and Lift Me Up) and sold 600,000 in the UK alone. Fading public interest meant this CD sold less well initially but it picked up later and managed two top ten hits (the title track and Calling) and her version of It’s Raining Men made the No. 1 spot in numerous countries.

    There are lots of enjoyable tunes on this and like on fellow Spice Girl Emma Bunton’s Free Me echoes of the easy listening boom ripple through several tracks.

    The most mellow and understated track on the CD is the killer for me. I Was Made This Way improves on repeat listens. A mellow and autobiographical head-nodder; like Liberty X’s Everybody Cries it has shades of Zero 7 but the chorus turns it into a pure end-of-the-night, lighters aloft sway-a-long. It’s the last track on the CD too so it’s an ‘ender’ in fact as well as sound.

    It’s a slow but finger-clicking pop gem and the crescendo of sound that builds up as it evolves is bloody marvellous. You’ll probably shrug, Huh? and ‘meh’ after one listen but give it a chance and it gets right under your skin. It was produced by Stephen Lipson, another ‘go-to’ producer very active during this period of pop.

    Notes:
    This and the similarly very mellow Calling (which was a hit) are the only tracks on this CD co-written by Halliwell with Peter-John Vitesse. Another name to conjure with in this genre; Vitesse was the keyboard player in the 80s incarnation of Jethro Tull before going on to be an independent songwriter, arranger and producer working with the likes of the Pet Shop Boys, Carly Simon and Frankie Goes To Hollywood. He turned down an offer to become a member of Paul McCartney’s re-formed band Wings. Check out his Wiki for yourselves here.
    A very nice fella too. On Jethro Tull forums he humbly acknowledges the huge amount of help Ian Anderson gave him when he was starting out in music.

    Summary:
    A keeper as once past the title track at the start this isn’t a bad CD at all. If you do like I Was Made That Way try Calling too. It’s like an ultra- sweet pop version of Gary Moore’s Parisienne Walkways.



    No Hits Required: Episode 1: Here
    <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>

    Comment


    • #3


      allSTARS – S/T (2002)
      I don’t remember these at all. X Factor ? Pop Idol? The cover claims 4 hits but doesn’t name them. I’m struggling to guess which tracks they could have been and don’t even care enough to Discog search it. Lamont Dozier (!) is on the writing credits for track 4 but it’s dreadful. Familiar names abound again; Rob Davis, Cathy Dennis, Chris Braide but the man all over this like a rash is Peter Cunnah. That’ll be he of D:Ream – Things Can Only Get Better fame. Not for allSTARS it didn’t.

      Eternal – Always and Forever (1993)
      It pains me to say this lacks No Hit goodness. I had forgotten how immense the mega-hit Stay is. That bit where she sings ‘I don’t know, I-I-I-I-I don’t know, just what it takes to get to you….’ is major face-melt pop genius. I bloody love the opening 16 bars to Save Our Love too. That big underwater bell sound has never been used to better effect. It’s a shame then that the rest of the CD just pootles along without doing much. Fact fans may want to know that Lotti Golden was heavily involved in this 4 x Platinum seller.

      David Jordan – Set The Mood (2007)
      Too clever, too wordy and just cold as f*ck. I’m not even sure if this is an attempt at pop. It’s that nether region between Pop and Rock. David just tries too many styles like he’s trying to show how versatile he is but there’s no humour, spark or quirkiness. The Jimi Hendrix posturing on the inside sleeve is NAGL either. Don’t know what ZTT were thinking of. I thought they were a pop label.

      Pussycat Dolls – PCD (2005)
      This is a superb CD but the first six tracks were all mega-hits. Cover versions of Right Now, Feelin’ Good, Tainted Love and Sway (now there’s a Vinyl Vulture-friendly list of covers !) are interesting but just not good enough. The remaining tracks are not quite up to no Hits standard either. This CD is still a keeper though as the hits are all lined up like little soldiers from Track 1 to 6. For the record : Don’t Cha, Beep, Wait A Minute, StickWitU, Buttons and I Don’t Need a Man. Gotta respect the PCD back story too. Like Destiny’s Child, they worked hard to get to where they did.

      Sophie-Ellis Bextor – Read My Lips (2001)
      Oh GawdBlimey this is awful. It took about three songs to realise the hurdle which is Sophie’s voice. I can’t for the life of me work out her accent but once it clicked she enunciates like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins it was Game Over. I ploughed on but there’s no noteworthy pop here unless you like the hits Take Me Home or Murder On The Dancefloor.

      Will Young – Let It Go (2008)
      A succession of singles from this charted lower and lower as they were released. Eg White co-wrote and produced the first and most successful one called Changes which reached Number 10 in the UK singles chart. Eg was one half of 80s band Eg and Alice who did the superb It Doesn’t Mean That Much To Me back in the 80s. This is a mellow and philosophical affair but a little dull again. (Apologies to Mrs Expiry and Mrs Oddman)

      All Saints – Saints and Sinners (2000)
      An oddly downbeat CD. The hit single Pure Shores is far and away the best track. Whoopin’ Over You starts like a long- lost Jean-Jaque Perry track but ends up sounding a lot like Smashmouth - Walking On The Moon. I Feel You is very, very like Minnie Riperton’s Les Fleurs, as in it heavily borrows from but it's nowhere near as good.

      Cathy Dennis – Into The Skyline (1992)
      Norwich’s finest ! Cathy’s sparse 80s House sound is spread right across this with the exception of the Bacharach-esque sounding Moments Of Love. It’s amazing how crude this CD sounds compared with productions just five years later. It sounds really hollow and very basic. Studio technology / sounds changed fast in the 90s. I really like Moments In Love but it’s a full-on love ballad and would be a FF >>> track on anything other than a slow, lovers soul comp and that’s not what we want.

      Liberty X – Thinking It Over
      This is Liberty X’s first CD with Just A Little on it. Lightning doesn’t strike twice unfortunately. It’s a pleasant enough CD but nothing really sticks.
      <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>

      Comment


      • #4
        "Lemar Obika (born 4 April 1978), professionally known simply as Lemar, is an English R&B singer–songwriter and record producer. Lemar has had a run of chart success in the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. He rose to fame after finishing in third place on the first series of British talent show Fame Academy, which was won by songwriter David Sneddon."


        Just found a couple of cracking old skool R'NB style tracks on Lemar's 2008 CD The Reason. Will share in Episode Three.
        <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>

        Comment


        • #5
          I do like these threads - I remember most of these singles from the time as well (this is why I miss TOTP, I have no idea what's going on in the hit parade these days!)

          I remember Donny Osmond being absolutely captivated by Geri's 'Calling' when he heard it on GMTV - he kept on breaking into 'Calling out your name....' all the way through his interview, though he clearly only knew the first line.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have to agree with m'Lord Thames - I love these threads
            For me this is what VG+ is all about - finding gems amongst the siht
            Looking forward to more, Ian, and maybe some bands that fell between the cracks as well as the songs
            Now I'm off to take a moody wa
            K down the tube tracks in my long leather coat
            "Record collecting is no mere hobby, no innocuous leisurely diversion. It is a feverish passion bordering on dementia, driving those under the influence to irrational, compulsive, fanatical extremes."

            Night of the Living Vinyl

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Expiry2011 View Post
              Now I'm off to take a moody wa
              K down the tube tracks in my long leather coat
              Have the moderators intervened!?

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the kind words all. Here's hoping Waxidermists enjoy this theme. I suspect there'll be a whole bunch of No Hits Required CDs littering the highways of America shortly after the Waxi Swap drops.

                I think Episode 3 will be a little more Vulture friendly: Solange ( Beyonce's sister) doing great things with a German EZ horn riff, The Wanted mash-up Ennio Morricone and Jay Sean delivers a sparkling and bouncy pop gem completely against the grain.

                .
                <<Soul Strut 100>>Collectable CDs 1 Forumusic: April 2014 Collectable CDs 2<<'95 WOF>>

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