Tuesday, May 15, 2012

1992: This is the song that we played

There have been some duff years in music, but none so much as 1992.

When I was going through the charts from start to finish - bear with me, it's for a project - I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

I've been trawling through the years recently, seeing if there's any Top 40 stones I've left as yet unturned. And while there are probably about five songs from 1968 I physically either can't my hands on or simply can't bear to hear because I'm sick to death of them, in 1992 the number is about 20 times that but the reasons are very different except for the can't bear bit. The main reason I don't have them is because they're dreadful.

Along with Whitney Houston and some ghastly early Nineties soul, then morphing into the RnB we know and loathe today, are endless faceless producer-fronted rave novelties like Poing, The Bouncer, Sesame's Treet and other utter bollocks. I have never skimmed a chart so quickly without pausing to download a gem as I have 1992.

Also, I don't remember much about the year that stands out except a trip to Israel (another thread entirely), and a trip to Boston/New Hampshire for a wedding. Twenty years on and husband left wife for some toothy Hamptons popsy despite married couple having gone through the heartache of IVF resulting in twins followed by another baby the natural way. And I thought he was so boring. They met whale watching for God's sake. I hear he's got a drink problem now and her back's murder. Shame, as I quite liked him, but that's 1992 for you. As disappointing back then as it is to look at now, musically at least.

Perhaps I'm being unkind. I suppose there's the odd thing that sticks out. Bell Bottomed Tear by the Beautiful South is one of the loveliest songs ever made (more from them later), The Wedding Present did that single a month thing, Right Said Fred did Deeply Dippy which always reminds me of a visit to Barcelona that year to see a friend who taught English and whom I'm convinced was leading a double life, Def Leppard asked us if a rock was out of the question and Curtis Stigers and Richard Marx were the Vince Hill and Des O'Connor of the moment.

Our downstairs neighbour was dumped by this silly girl from New Zealand and played One by U2 and Walking On Broken Glass by Annie Lennox at top volume for about six weeks, XTC brought out the marvellous Nonsuch album, the Sisters of Mercy had the soaring Temple Of Love, a tune made for driving really fast down the A2, Erasure did that rubbish Abba tribute, the Manics were just getting started, the Lightning Seeds were bringing out records that were just this side of catchy classic pop - don't know what it is but it's missing a vital ingredient, Wet Wet Wet followed up a number one single I couldn't hum if you held a gun at my head with the brilliant Lip Service, the only song of theirs I actually care for, and there were some corkers from Thomas Dolby, Cyndi Lauper, the Shamen, Inspiral Carpets, Tasmin Archer, Crowded House, Suede, Bizarre Inc and Mike Oldfield. I already own these of course.

Let's not forget the lovely Drive by REM, Go West's brilliant Faithful, and poor Betty Boo tried a comeback which didn't work, but if you listen to Let Me Take You There it's not all bad.

Worse song of the year that wasn't a rave novelty: Would I Lie To You by Charles & Eddie. Hate it with a passion.
Second worse song of the year that wasn't a rave novelty: Stay by Shakespear's Sister

But I did do some downloading. Sixteen songs, including Buffy Sainte Marie, Nirvana, Altern8, Mr Big, The Cure, Clivilles & Cole, Morrissey, Bruce Springsteen, Arrested Development and k d lang. Still not a vintage year though.

Here's the Beautiful South with the best song of the year:


  1. You are so right about 1992. My final year in high school was littered with dreadful, dreadful chart music - what a legacy to darkened with.

    You are wrong about the worst song of the year though. The winner is by far the painfully unnecessary cover of Baker Street by Undercover. Perhaps then followed by their equally awful cover of the lovely Never Let Her Slip Away.

  2. I have a feeling that 1992 was the only year in which I never went to a single live gig - unthinkable now. It was a dismal time for music, and as you say, it helped spawn some monsters such as contemporary R&B.

    I'd be interested to hear more about Mr Double-Life from Barcelona, by the way.

  3. How bizarre. An old boss of mine tweeted his hatred of Would I Lie To You yesterday, an hour or so after a colleague in the studio I was working in declared his dislike for Stay. Are you channeling me or something?

    The Pasadenas' version of I'm Doing Fine Now was in 1992, and I absolutely love that.

  4. You're right, Cocktails, that was risible. Glad to see you!

    Mr Double Life may be another entry entirely. Not terribly exciting truth be told.

    Glad to know I'm not the only one, Matt. And yes, I'm always with you.