Friday, December 23, 2022

"Stand Up" by Underworld

Song#:  4009
Date:  08/26/1989
Debut:  95
Peak:  67
Weeks:  8
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  This UK band made a little blip in the US when their single "Underneath the Radar" spent a couple months on the Pop chart peaking at #74. The song was from their debut album of the same name, which was able to reach #139. The album and single were bigger successes in Australia so that most likely gave the band the ability to record a second album for their label Sire Records. They would come out of the studio with Change the Weather and this first single got things kicked off. The track performed fairly well at Modern Rock getting to #14. On the Pop chart it could only do slightly better than their previous charting single. This time around it wasn't enough to sell albums and it would fail to chart. The LP and single also failed to do much in Australia and with that the band folded - for the time being.

ReduxReview:  This shufflin' anthemic tune had a Euro rock flare that was nothing like what the band would be doing a few years later. It's an engaging tune, but I think it would have benefited from a more robust arrangement. The chorus on this should have really popped, but it doesn't quite get there. I think part of the reason is that the lead vocal wasn't as forceful or strong as it needed to be. The song should have made me want to jump out of my chair and stand up, but it made me sort of think - eh, I'll stand up when I get to it.

ReduxRating:  5/10

Trivia:  After Underworld split up, the originators of the band Karl Hyde and Rick Smith moved on to do other work. During that time, Smith got connected up with DJ Darren Emerson. The pair began to work on dance/electronic music tracks. Hyde would reconnect with Smith and heard what the pair were working on. It wasn't long before the trio started collaborating. They would record and release a few tracks starting in '92 under the name Lemon Interupt while also doing a few remixes as Steppin' Razor. Signed to the indie dance/electronic label Junior Boy's Own, the trio would revert to the Underworld name for a 1994 debut album titled Dubnobasswithmyheadman. Its acid house/techno sound thrilled critics and pretty much made folks forget about the first version of Underworld. A second effort, 1996's Second Toughest in the Infants, would garner even more praise and would break the band further thanks to the LP being released around the same time as the soundtrack to the cult British film Trainspotting. That popular soundtrack included a pair of Underworld tracks including "Born Slippy .NUXX," which was released as a single and became a major #2 platinum hit in the UK (#27 US Dance). Underworld would then hit their commercial peak with 1999's Beaucoup Fish. It would reach #3 in the UK and spawn a pair of Top 20 hits. Emerson would later depart Underworld leaving Hyde and Smith to continue on. They would record more albums and even write music for the 2012 Summer Olympics that were held in London. In the US, the techno era of Underworld was never able to get a song on the Pop chart. However, they would earn three Dance Top 10s. Beaucoup Fish would do the best on the album chart peaking at #93.


Thursday, December 22, 2022

"Glamour Boys" by Living Colour

Song#:  4008
Date:  08/26/1989
Debut:  98
Peak:  31
Weeks:  13
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  The band's second single from their debut album Vivid, "Open Letter (To a Landlord)," didn't catch fire. It stalled early on the Pop chart at a low #82. It did better at Rock where it got to #11. Looking for something to keep their momentum going, the band then released this third single, which was produced by Mick Jagger (he also supplies some backing vocals). While it stopped at a minor #26 at Rock, it did well enough at Pop to get the band their second Top 40 hit. However, it didn't move the needle much regarding album sales. It had already reached the platinum level back in April of '89 and that is where it would remain for a while. Later on in 1994, the LP would finally reach the double-platinum mark. "Glamour Boys" would earn Living Colour a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.

ReduxReview:  While I liked "Open Letter (To a Landlord)," I don't think it was the right choice for a second single. This track really should have been released. If it had been issued out second, I think it might have done a bit better on the chart. The fact that this one nearly cracked the Pop Top 30 following the lackluster performance of the previous single was certainly a clue that it was a stronger contender. It was a catchy song that poked a little fun at guys who are fixated on money, parties, clothes, etc. As the band states in the chorus, they are not like them - they're fierce! And they certainly were.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  The band would return in 1990 with their second album Time's Up. Featuring songs that touched on several genres and influences, the LP would reach #13 and go gold. None of its singles would make the Pop chart, but "Type" would be a hit at Rock (#5) and Modern Rock (#3). The album would earn the band a second Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance. After a small lineup change, the band would return in 1993 with Stain. While the song "Leave It Alone" (#14 Rock/#4 Modern Rock) would get them a Grammy nod for Best Hard Rock Performance, the LP stalled at #26 and failed to go gold. During session for a fourth album, the band encountered issues regarding their musical direction and decided to call it quits. That lineup of Living Colour would reunite in 2000. They have continued to record albums and perform over the years.


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

"That's When I Think of You" by 1927

Song#:  4007
Date:  08/26/1989
Debut:  100
Peak:  100
Weeks:  1
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This Australian band was formed by guitarist/keyboardist Garry Frost. Frost had been a member of Moving Pictures, who scored a Top 30 hit in the US in 1982 with "What About Me." After Frost left the band in '84, he began to contemplate forming a new band. He began working on songs and scouting for members and it all fell together in '87 with Frost bringing in his brother Bill on bass, James Barton on drums, and Eric Weideman on lead vocals/guitar, whom he saw performing on a TV show. The band began performing and in '88 they were signed to Trafalgar Productions. They would issue out this first single in Australia in the summer of '88. It would do well getting to #6. As the song was shaping up to be a hit, the band would assemble their debut album ...ish. It would be released in November of '88 along with a second single, "If I Could." The song would get to #4 while the album would spend four weeks at #1. The LP would eventually go 5x platinum in Australia. With that success, 1927 was able to secure a distribution deal in the US with Atlantic Records. This first single would be pushed out and while it would be able to make the Pop chart, it would only be able to reach the lowest rung on the chart for one sole week. In doing so, it became the only single in the 80s to debut at the #100 spot and fall off the chart the next week. Due to that result, the album would fail to chart. (Oddly, the same week this song debuted on the Pop chart, a reissue of Moving Pictures' "What About Me" was climbing the chart.)

ReduxReview:  I've been waiting all the decade for a single to peak at #100 for one week on the chart and here it is! While that is kind of a cool fact, it wasn't necessarily deserved. The song is better than its chart result. It was a nicely done, driving pop/rock tune with a sweet chorus that sort of fell alongside bands like Cutting Crew and The Outfield. I would have pegged this for at least a Top 50 showing. It might not have been strong enough to really sail up the chart, but should have done better than a lone week at #100.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  After the major success of ...ish at home in Australia, the band began work on a second album. However, conflicts within the band arose during the making of the LP and that led to founder Garry Frost leaving the band in 1990. The band would hire in a replacement and would finish off the album The Other Side. It would not be nearly as successful as their debut album. It would peak at #3 and go platinum mainly on the strength of the LP's lone Top 20 single, the #17 "Tell Me a Story," which was a track that Frost had written and co-produced prior to his departure. After a self-titled third album failed to do much in 1992, the band would split up. Lead singer/guitarist Eric Weideman would revive the 1927 name in 2009 and fill the band out with three new members. They would tour and release an album in 2013.


Tuesday, December 20, 2022

"Cherish" by Madonna

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4006
Date:  08/19/1989
Debut:  37
Peak:  2
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  Madonna continued her reign as the 80s queen of pop with the first two singles from her fourth regular studio album Like a Prayer. The #1 LP spawned the #1 platinum title track along with the #2 gold-selling "Express Yourself." Both were heavy-hitters in tone, theme, and production, so when it came time for the third single, this lighter, romantic track was selected. The change would go over very well with the song reaching #2 Pop while becoming her third song to top the AC chart. With this song reaching #2 at Pop, that gave Madonna 16 consecutive Top 5 hits. She bested The Beatles' 15 streak, but remained in second place behind Elvis Presley's 24 Top 5 streak (discounting b-sides, EPs, and out-of-the-vault releases).

ReduxReview:  This doo-wop-ish confection was sort of the "True Blue" of the Like a Prayer album. A retro-styled, crowd pleasing palate cleanser that would easily become another hit. The beach/mermen black and white video for the song directed by photographer Herb Ritts (who was basically forced into the job by Madonna) certain helped the single along. Oddly, Ritts would go on to do two more beachy black and white videos - "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak and "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" by Janet Jackson. The song certainly wasn't one of Madonna's meatiest, but it was a pleasant, easy listening ditty that did its job in earning Madonna a 17th Top 10 hit.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Madonna co-wrote this song with producer Patrick Leonard. Apparently, Madonna had recently read Romeo and Juliet and it served as a bit of inspiration for the tune. She calls the characters out by name in the lyrics. Also included in the song are lyrics borrowed from a 60s hit of the same name. The Association earned their first #1 hit in 1966 with "Cherish," a song written by lead vocalist Terry Kirkman. That tune's opening lyric is "Cherish is the word I used to describe." Based on a suggestion from Leonard, Madonna incorporated part of that lyric into her song at the end of the bridge as "cherish is the word I used to remind me of your love." Later on in 2012, a mash-up of the two hits was performed by the cast of the TV show Glee. It appeared on a Valentine's Day episode titled "Heart" during season three.


Monday, December 19, 2022

"When I Looked at Him" by Exposé

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  4005
Date:  08/19/1989
Debut:  71
Peak:  10
Weeks:  20
Genre:  Pop

Pop Bits:  This trio's second album What You Don't Know got kicked off with the gold selling title track single, which got to #8 Pop/#2 Dance. For a follow-up, this mid-tempo ballad was selected for release. It would just barely make the Pop Top 10 making it their sixth single in a row to cross that mark. It would do better at AC getting to #3. Earlier in August, the album reached its peak of #33. Just a few days prior to this single debuting on the chart, the album would be certified gold.

ReduxReview:  Here's another one where I didn't remember the tune until I heard the chorus. I find parts of this song odd. At the end of the opening there is a really strange transition chord that doesn't make sense. Then there are like two bridges before the chorus that include a key change, I think. It was just a strange composition. Once the chorus comes along, things settle in. Luckly, the chorus is strong enough to overcome the unmemorable verses. The final key change adds dramatic urgency near the end and Jurado does a nice job with the vocal. The song was like a nearly baked cake. It may have tested done, but it wasn't fully cooked all the way through.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Like the trio's #1 hit ballad "Seasons Change," this song featured lead vocals by Jeanette Jurado. Later in 1995, Jurado would get the opportunity to appear in a film. She would portray singer Rosie Hamlin, lead singer of the early 60s band Rosie and the Originals in the indie drama My Family, which starred Jimmy Smits and Esai Morales. In the film, Jurado would get to sing the band's lone hit, 1960's #5 "Angel Baby." Her version of the song would also appear on the film's soundtrack. My Family did modestly well at the box office. The story concerned three generations of a Mexican-American family. The film also featured Jennifer Lopez in a small role. It was the third film she appeared in prior to her breakout performance in '97's Selena and her '99 hit debut album On the 6. Rosie Hamlin was a young singer that found her way to California after being raised in Alaska. Barely a teenager, she started performing with a band. While in school, she would write a poem about her first boyfriend that then became the lyrics to the song "Angel Baby." When she was 15, she and the band were able to record a rough two-track version of the song that they shopped around. No one bit, but after they convinced a department store to play it in their listening booth to good feedback, Highland Records picked up the song. However, in order for the single to get released, the band had to sign a contract that gave the record company possession of the master tape and the composer credit going to another band member, who was the eldest. The song would go on to be a #5 hit, but then Hamlin realized she was getting zero royalties due to someone else being listed as composer. Issues ensued that would lead to the end of the band. Hamlin would regain copyright control in '61, but then she'd spend years in court over royalty disputes. Hamlin tried for a solo career with an album in '62, which resulted in the minor #66 single "Lonely Blue Nights." After that, Hamlin dropped out of music for a while but would later record a few more singles and perform. "Angel Baby" would be covered by many artists including Jurado, Tiffany, and Linda Ronstadt. However, only one other artist has been able to reach the Pop chart with a version. Latin pop singer Angelica would cover and release the song in 1991. It would get to #29 on the Pop chart.