Thursday, 22 January 2015

REWIND: Sleeper - 'Inbetweener'

I usually do this on a Sunday, but have had to move it to a Thursday this week due to being very busy. Being hugely nostalgic about the 90s, and also being aware of how shit the singles charts are now, @ThisIsMyJam95 is a comforting blast from the past. Every week the Twitter page posts the Top 40 from 20 years ago and invites followers to pick their favourite new entry from that week. As well as evoking some wonderful memories, it's also an opportunity for me to hear songs that I was never aware of then, since I always have a listen to all of the choices.

While Rednex's 'Cotton Eye Joe' remained at the top of the chart for January 21, the number 38 entry was a reasonably respectable Snoop Dogg pastiche by rapper Paris entitled 'Guerilla Funk'. At number 31, Jim Carrey singing 'The Mask' theme tune 'Cuban Pete' is a good bit of fun, while that week's number 34 comes from Donna Allen. Unfortunately 'Real' is not on Spotify, and Sony have blocked it from YouTube so I can't tell you whether it's any good or not. Van Halen's poor 'Don't Tell Me' took the number 27 position, while TLC continued to peddle more of their dull RnB as 'Creep' went in at 22. At number 24, 'Saved' by Mr Roy was a simple dance remix of 'Soul Limbo' by Booker T And The MGs, better known as the theme tune to the cricket. Deuce were a lame pop act who entered the chart at 21 with 'Call It Love', while 'Hoochie Booty' by boyband Ultimate Kaos was equally horrific. The week's highest new entry came from the ever-mundane R.Kelly, whose 'Bump N Grind' still bumps and grinds my gears 20 years on. However, it's good to see Barry White going in at number 20 with the suitably smooth 'Practice What You Preach'.

At 37 was the re-release of New Order's excellent '1963', originally a B-side from 1987, this time remixed by Arthur Baker for a single release. At 26, Scarlet were a duo who scored a hit with 'Independent Love Song', which until a few minutes ago, I had not heard in years. Pop balladry at its very best. Massive Attack's sublime 'Protection' was the week's second highest new entry, at number 14. But I can only choose ONE song as my favourite, and Massive Attack would have won if it wasn't for the song at number 16... The bouncy excitement and carefree attitude of Britpop can be heard all over Sleeper's magnificent 'Inbetweener', which I'm definitely going to have to choose as my 'jam' of the week. The song was taken from their debut album 'Smart', while the video parodied the grocery store-set ITV game show Supermarket Sweep and featured the programme's presenter Dale Winton. Formed in 1993, the band had eight UK Top 40 hit singles and three UK Top 10 albums before splitting in 1998. Singer Louise Wener is now a successful novelist. 'Inbetweener' was featured on the brilliant 'True Brit' compilation that I purchased in summer '96, but the wonderful 'What Do I Do Now' was the first thing of theirs that I heard, thanks to it being included on one of the tapes that Smash Hits used to give away free with the magazine. Yes, I was STILL buying Smash Hits in 1996, but immediately ceased reading it in 1997 after they gave Radiohead's incredible 'Paranoid Android' a bad review, while their Single Of The Week was Hanson's 'MmmBop'.

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