Sunday, May 17, 2015

Hits, Cult Classics & Obscurities: 1990

In the three previous editions of our latest series of posts, we've traveled back to 1980, 1985 and 1995 to remind you of some key tracks from these years that can be classified as hits, cult classics or obscurities based on their level of commercial success. Regardless of their popularity though, there is no doubt in my mind that the most appropriate label for all the song trios we've presented so far is Killer Tracks. Here's another killer trio, this time from 1990:

The early '90s was certainly a great era for the UK alternative music scene. Among the numerous new bands taking their first steps in that period were The Charlatans from the West Midlands, a band whose sound was quickly associated with the Madchester scene, and Ride from Oxford who soon became one of the pivotal bands of the shoegazing sound. 

"The Only One I Know" was just the second single of The Charlatans, released on May 14th, 1990, and it instantly became a big hit, landing at number 9 on the UK Singles Chart and also breaking into the Top 10 of the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in the US. Here's our choice for hit single of 1990:

It would take Ride a little longer to have a similar hit in the UK (that would be 1992's "Leave Them All Behind", which also peaked at number 9), but there is no doubt in the mind of shoegaze fans everywhere that the string of EPs that launched the band's career in 1990 include some of their best and most influential songs. One of them is our choice for this year's cult classic: here's "Chelsea Girl", track 1, side A of their debut, self-titled EP released on January 15th, 1990 on Creation Records, the song that was my introduction to Ride:

Danielle Dax has created throughout the '80s some truly unique, inspiring experimental pop records, all released on small, independent labels. In 1990 she made her major label debut with the fine "Blast The Human Flower", produced by Stephen Street. Despite a more accessible sound and a very good cover of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" which she released as a single, the record didn't find the success it deserved and after one more independent release in 1995, Dax retired from music to focus on other artistic endeavors including interior design. 

Have a listen to her cover of "Tomorrow Never Knows" below and make sure to check out her original compositions as well, not only on "Blast The Human Flower" but also on records like "Inky Bloaters", "Jesus Egg That Wept" or "Pop-Eyes".

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