heard on the wire

Chief economist and senior director of mergers for the Office of Fair Trading

I can’t say I’m that keen on the music of 1991, a year in which I count just six four- and five-star ratings in iTunes, contrary to a general consensus that the year produced three “classic albums” (a phrase and concept I abhor, but nevermind). Talking of which….

Nirvana garnered huge critical acclaim and commercial success with their Nevermind LP, the sound of a bloke shouting incomprehensibly, like a drunk tramp outside a town centre shopping arcade. Primal Scream’s Screamadelica was similarly lauded, a zeitgeist record that’s actually quite boring; likewise Blue Lines, Massive Attack’s debut. Clearly I’m in a minority here (or at least I was) as Blue Line’s Unfinished Sympathy was number one in a 1998 Radio One poll to find the best songs ever, just ahead of its contemporary, Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, while Screamadelica’s Loaded managed number 62. Nirvana also took top spot in that year’s festive fifty.

Fortunately — as usual — there was another fine Fall LP, Shift-work, and a standout track, Edinburgh Man, that bears comparison with anything Mark E Smith and his many cohorts have produced in the past 30 plus years. 1991 also saw the return of Half Man Half Biscuit with a terrific LP, McIntyre, Treadmore And Davitt.

It also played host to the debut LP from Heavenly — Heavenly vs Satan — proving the British “twee” guitar pop was just about alive and well and providing half of those iTunes ratings. How can you not love a record that was sung by the future chief economist and senior director of mergers for the UK’s Office of Fair Trading.

Heavenly :: Wrap My Arms Around Him

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heard on the wire is a blog about music old and new, but mostly new. It occasionally uses 21st century file formats that may not be supported by 20th century web browsers. For best results use Safari or Chrome. And If you like the music posted here, please think of the effort and expense that has gone into making it and consider buying a copy of your own.

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