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UB40 – ‘(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You’ (Song 6 of 16)

6 Nov

This raggae version of a 1961 Elvis song would have been better done acapella in my opinion. The minimal intro teases at a classic to follow, however when all the instruments kick in, they only give the thing a wine-bar vibe. And this is more than wine-bar music. Much more.
3/5

Shaggy – ‘Oh Carolina’ (Song 2 of 16)

6 Nov

Orville Burrell, having altered the arrangement to a 1960 song and changed his name to Shaggy, had a hit with this grind-worthy dancehall sensation. It was pretty much two words and a lot of gibberish, but to be honest, that’s all it really needed and at the time, all that British pop fans wanted. These records also had ‘raas bumba claat’ versions – that means ‘arsewipe’ in the Queen’s English.

I don’t know why or when the raggae bubble burst, but it’s a damn shame.
3/5

Ace Of Bass – ‘All That She Wants’ (Song 5 of 16)

5 Nov

Ace Of Bass were essentially the ABBA of the bomber jacket generation, and that is no criticism believe me. As eclectic as they were ambitious, this monster had so much going on in it, it almost collapsed under the weight of its own excess (maybe why the chorus lines end without proper words).

A steady raggae beat, jazzy clarinets, trippy whistles, minor chords and assertive female vocals all feature in arguably the greatest achievement of the group’s career. At 3:33 it’s the perfect length for a chart-topper, and yet seems to be over too soon.
3/5

George Michael & Queen w/ Lisa Stansfield – ‘Five Live’ (Song 4 of 16)

5 Nov

This is actually a charity EP. Looking at the line-up, it doesn’t bode well from the off. George Michael has always been associated with horrible music. Queen had long lost the ability to write a decent song. As for Lisa Stansfield, who became infamous for releasing records with very white front covers, I believe her ponderous, bland souly drivel went down a storm in the early moments of wedding receptions in the late 90s, just to get a few of the more inebriated guests onto the dance floor.
Otherwise no one would ever dance.

1/5

The Bluebells – ‘Young At Heart’ (Song 3 of 16)

5 Nov

The violin. The fucking violin. That’s all I can think of or remember from this drastically altered Bananarama ballad. There is a time and a place for the violin in music and it certainly isn’t in repetitive, irritatingly twee indie pop hits… or maybe it is.

Anyway I can’t think of any use for this recording other than being played in the background when a film or TV character who is 40+ does something a bit wacky or out of context.
2/5

2 Unlimited – ‘There’s No Limit’ (Song 1 of 16)

5 Nov

Not only wall-of-sound production, but a welcome antidote to the awful Christmas novelty number one. This genre-defining classic is virtually perfect; not even nonsensical rapping middle eights can put a dampener on it. Rock fans relished the heavy blues-based chord progressions and dance fans enjoyed the gleefully slamming beats.

This Dutch duo arguably paved the way for what has since become a UK chart staple ever since – wholesome Euro dance pop, though the genre probably peaked early with this.
4/5

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