May 11, 2016

Top Ten Flashback: May 11, 1991

Here we go with another flashback to the Australian singles charts to this point in time 25 years ago, for the week ending Saturday, May 11, 1991. I was twelve years old at this time, and although three of the songs below are dance tracks I still like, another two (by the same band) are songs I love by Sydney's premier exponents of 'barbed-wire pop', as their music was described in a press ad. Let's begin the countdown!

10.  Southern Sons – "Hold Me In Your Arms"
I enjoyed Southern Sons' debut single "Heart In Danger", but it took me many years to really appreciate it. This was their third single and although it reached number 9, I wasn't big on ballads, even when I was 12. Therefore I will return to these guys' debut single as their finest moment.

9.  The K.L.F. – "3 a.m. Eternal"
The K.L.F. were unlike most other artists of the time and I liked this single a lot more than "What Time Is Love?". In turn, I liked the follow-up to this, "Last Train To Trancentral", even more. What were they on about with all that bizarre chanting? I still don't know, but you could sure dance to it.

8.  E.M.F. – "Unbelievable"
I've only heard one song by E.M.F. I know, I should get on over to some video streaming site beginning with Y and listen to some more. But I thought this track was ace, and still do. Beyond that, I liked the band's visual design, and colour schemes. Like the three different-coloured letters on the sleeve artwork, and those vertical stripes on the backdrop in this song's video. I think they were ingrained in my mind almost as much as the song was.

7.  Bingoboys – "How To Dance"
Okay, so it's a cheesy novelty dance-pop song, but I still like it. It's cheery and upbeat, and reminds me of happier times when life didn't totally suck nard, as one Nelson Muntz would say. I was almost on the verge of purchasing their album, but back then I had this rule that I had to like three songs by an artist to get their album. And I never heard another Bingoboys song, so I never did.

6.  Cher – "The Shoop Shoop Song"
Aaaargh! Take it away. I hated this song a quarter-century ago and still do now. It's hokey and embarrassing, and the stupid music video with those other Mermaids idiots is just cringe-worthy. Someone Cher's age (45 at the time) should have known better than to sing these imbecilic lyrics. Forget it, there's no way I'm listening to this puerile rubbish again.

5.  The Screaming Jets – "Better"
The first song by this band I heard; I remember thinking the video seemed a bit Faith No More-ish, then I read it was directed by Ralph Ziman, who also directed FNM's ace video for "Epic". I haven't been able to verify online if this is true, though.

4.  Ratcat – "Don't Go Now"
Believe it or not, kids, this was the first CD I ever bought. The single cost me $5, and it didn't come with a free sticker as you can see in the sleeve art here. Oh no.  My version came with a fold-out Ratcat poster, which I also still have. (I never put it up, so it's in perfect condition.) This was the single's third week in the charts and it was already up to number 4; it would hit number 1 in its sixth week. Still a great song and much poppier than their previous release (see below...)

3.  Roxette – "Joyride"
How well this tune has held up over the last 25 years is open to debate. I still rather like it, as well as its video. Did liking Roxette ever become uncool? I don't think so. I guess they had a knack for melodies few others had, if their chart success is anything to go by. This song had recently dropped from its number 1 spot.

2.  Daryl Braithwaite – "The Horses"
Whereas this one was about to hit number 1 in a week. I'd actually forgotten it did. I thought this song was a bit daggy at the time, but I don't hate it as much as I did then. There was a memorable letter to Smash Hits, where the writer asked Blacky the cat, "Hey Blacky, have you ever noticed how much the girl in 'The Horses' film clip touches her hair? Maybe it caught on fire as a child and now she subconsciously touches it to make sure it's still there? Or maybe she's wearing a wig and the salt water is causing it to become unstuck??" Blacky merely replied, "Or maybe she was told to keep running her fingers through her hair?"

1.  Ratcat – "That Ain't Bad" (Tingles EP)
Ah, Ratcat. At number one. Ace. I bought this EP on cassette, and apparently it holds the record for the longest climb to number 1 on the Australian charts. This was its second and final week at number 1, and its 13th week in the top 20. Unfortunately, it would soon plummet out of the top 50 on account of being deleted, but that insanely catchy buzzsaw guitar lives on. Still a fine track, and one that deserves to be played at maximum volume until your neighbour comes around and threatens to duff you up.

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