Which Decade Is Tops For Pops? – Year 7 – the Number Twos.

Nearly there, folks… nearly there. It’s been a slower slog than usual up the foothills of this year’s top tens – but with the summit nearly in sight, I think you’ll detect a noticeable and welcome improvement in the quality of today’s selections. So, start spreading the news; it’s the Number Twos!

1969: Where Do You Go To My Lovely – Peter Sarstedt. (video)
1979: Chiquitita – Abba. (video)
1989: Belfast Child – Simple Minds. (video)
1999: You Don’t Know Me – Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden. (video)
2009: Just Dance – Lady GaGa featuring Colby O’Donis. (video)
Listen to a short medley of all five songs.

wd09-02-69For anyone who has seen Wes Anderson’s delightful 2007 comedy The Darjeeling Limited (2007), and the short film Hotel Chevalier which precedes it, Peter Sarstedt‘s “Where Do You Go To My Lovely” will be instantly familiar. The late John Peel might once have named it as his most loathed record of all time, and who are we to argue – but then I’ve always found it stirringly evocative, if more than a little absurd.

(What’s WITH all those yes-you-do’s and no-you-don’t’s, for instance? It’s if Sarstedt is conducting a one-sided argument with a phantom, and it makes me want to insert my own shouted rebuttals – “there’s diamonds and pearls in your hair”, “NO THERE AREN’T!” – except there’s not enough space within the song to do that properly. Mr. Sarstedt, you protest too fast.)

A rum bunch, those Sarstedt brothers. Peter only had one other hit (“Frozen Orange Juice”, from later in the year) – which is one more than his younger brother Robin (“My Resistance Is Low”, 1976), and a good few less than his older brother Eden Kane (whose “Boys Cry” popped up on Which Decade five years ago). But when it came to song titles, Peter was the rummest. Hands up, who’d like to hear “Many-Coloured, Semi-Precious Plastic Easter Eggs”… or “Sons of Cain Are Abel”… or “Open a Tin”… or “No More Lollipops”… just me, then? Oh, suit yourselves.

wd09-02-79Much as I love them, Abba‘s occasional Hispano/Latino genre excursions have always left me cold – and hence “Chiquitita” has always struck me as a dull, syrupy slog.

(I was all set to point out its hilarious titular similarity to “Chicken Tikka”, but French and Saunders beat me to it on Friday night’s Mamma Mia spoof for Comic Relief. MY gag! MY gag!)

Set against this, one can only commend the group’s decision to donate half its royalties to UNICEF, as part of 1979’s “International Year of the Child” initiative – an arrangement which persists to this day, and which has benefited the organisation by over 2.5 million US dollars. Such impeccable altruism won’t earn “Chiquitita” any more points – but in honour of the gesture, I shall suspend all further slaggings, and move swiftly on to…

wd09-02-89…this dismal dirge from Simple Minds, whose renewed topical relevance makes it no more or less dismal. This was the second longest single to top the UK charts after “Hey Jude” – and my God, can’t you just feel the weight of every one of its three hundred and ninety-nine ponderous, U2-aping seconds?

The topicality didn’t end there, either. For having asked the Big Questions regarding “The Troubles” on the A-side, Jim Kerr and his crew turned their attentions to the South African Question on the B-side, with the marginally more bearable “Mandela Day” and a cover of Peter Gabriel’s “Biko”. All very sincere and well meant, I’m sure – but as Neil Tennant wryly commented, two years later: “How can you expect to be taken seriously?”

wd09-02-99Remember when I heaped surprised-and-delighted praise upon Roy Orbison’s “You Got It”, naming it as this year’s happiest re-discovery? Well, the process can work in both directions, and here’s a prime example.

I was looking forward so much to hearing this Armand Van Helden track again, as it was very much my song-of-the-moment ten years ago, providing the soundtrack to some agreeably debauched moments (a weekend in Brighton springs to mind)… but dearie me, whatever uniquely spell-binding qualities it once had now strike me as well-executed, but ultimately a bit routine.

So perhaps this is one of those former dance anthems whose appeal at the time depended upon its straight-out-of-the-box freshness, and its brief moment of universal floor-filling appeal? Take both elements away, and what do you have left? In this case: just another disco-sampling vocal house track.

wd09-02-09Hold up, did I say “noticeable and welcome improvement?” And if so, then why have I been so down-in-the-mouth about the last three songs? Well, there’ll be no dispirited mealy-mouthings where Lady GaGa is concerned: an artist who initially irritated me beyond belief, before the realisation dawned that beneath the off-putting hype and the you-simply-have-no-choice inevitability of her UK success, there’s actually a not-half bad pop performer (at least, when she’s not dribbling on about licking disco lollipops and generally trying too hard to be “OutRAGEous!”).

All initial cynicism duly stripped away, “Just Dance” stands revealed as a wry, cleverly crafted encapsulation of a state of mind which I spent rather too much time chasing in the 1990s: lurching around some dimly lit boite de nuit, happily fucked up beyond the point of no return, divested of any residual notions of dignity and shame, and not giving one flying fuck about anything beyond the immediate pursuit of pleasure. Salad days indeed! And so, for its sheer tingle of “been there, done that” recognition, “Just Dance” gets today’s top billing.

My votes: Lady GaGa – 5 points. Peter Sarstedt – 4 points. Armand Van Helden – 3 points. Abba – 2 points. Simple Minds – 1 point.

Over to you. The 1960s and 2000s are the two front runners, with the 1970s and 1980s still within grasping distance of the ultimate prize. I can’t see Simple Minds doing the 1980s any favours, but I dare say that the usual Abba-love will keep 1979 in the running. Bring on the votes!

Running totals so far – Number Twos.

1969: Where Do You Go To My Lovely – Peter Sarstedt. (118)

Absurd. I Love it. The most inauthentic bogus frenchman ever? (SwissToni)

Absurd? You might not wear diamonds and pearls in your hair, but some of us did. In our younger days. Well, diamonds and sapphires. Anyway, I still love the song after all these years. (Z)

This is one of my desert island discs. Lovely yummy 60s nonsense. (Sue Bailey)

Oh, how lovely to hear this again. Amazing how something so seemingly corny stands up after all the years. (NiC)

Makes me want to hop onto a Eurostar right now. (diamond geezer)

Sarstedt gets the 5 almost entirely for the “just for fun, for a laugh, a-ha-ha-ha” line which has always brought a smile to my face every time I’ve heard it. (Andy)

The evocative references are a script for a 60s movie. Who might have thought this song was about them? As we discussed on Popular, one theory is that it was Sophia Loren. Some said the narrator is a bit of a bastard, but the bitterness of the old friend left behind by the social climber is well drawn. (Erithian)

The ultimate name-dropping song set to a waltz rhythm. (Amanda)

Historic and iconic, but probably doesn’t bear too much analysis. A kitch classic. (Hedgie)

Husband has now been singing this around the house for days, yes he has. (jo)

I have a feeling if I listened to this more it would start to irritate me, but at the moment novelty lets it win. (The Lurker)

I’m struggling with its rather mannered performance, but nevertheless there’s something evocative and memorable about this. Mind you, I’d be happy never to hear it again. (Hg)

I’m conflicted on this one. I oughtn’t to like it, there’s nothing special about the tune. His voice has just a bit of personality. But there is something haunting and evocative about it. I didn’t know it until the 80s and at the time it summoned an aura of 60s jet set glamour which I thought at the time was enviable. (Gert)

When I first heard the Bonzos’ “My Pink Half Of The Drainpipe” as a child, with its pompous stentorian baritone vocal and gloriously out-of-tune accordion, I immediately assumed that it was a parody of “Where Do You Go To, My Lovely?” In fact, it predated the latter song by nearly a year; so both songs appear to have been calculated responses to the impact of Jacques Brel, mixed with a little pre-motorcycle accident Dylan bitterness. Some untidy commentators have even gone as far as describing Sarstedt’s song as a British “Like A Rolling Stone,” which is rather like saying that “I Predict A Riot” is Britain’s “Louie Louie.”

There was a BBC TV special to tie in with the record, entitled On Cool: The Thoughts And Attitudes Of A Contemporary Songwriter, and the first song he sang on the show was “Take Off Your Clothes.” That perhaps should already be more than enough information than is strictly needed. However, Sarstedt was faintly rugged in appearance and sensitive in sound – somewhere between Jason King and Cat Stevens, but with a better-maintained tan and a sharper bush to his moustache. His elder brother Richard, you may recall, had had a number one back in 1961 as Eden Kane (“Well I Ask You”) – so again the ’60s wheel turns full circle.

“Where Do You Go To” was yet another attempt at an epic pop song – once again, the single broke the five-minute barrier – and acts as a fairly snide putdown of an uppity rich girl whom the protagonist happens to have known from their jointly impoverished childhood. It also serves as a handbook of slightly-past-their-sell-by-date 1969 chic signifiers – Sacha Distel, Zizi Jeanmaire, Marlene Dietrich, the Sorbonne, the Aga Khan, Picasso – things and people considered “in” by weathered sixtysomething Monaco bankers, or traitors in exile. The woman is named at the song’s climax as “Marie-Claire,” which may simply be a pre-postmodern reference to the magazine – some say the song is about Sophia Loren and her recidivist father, others, pointing to the reference to “your Rolling Stones records,” contend that the subject is Bianca Jagger.

The performance attempts to be earnest, with its closely miked 12-string acoustic and double bass, but Sarstedt never appears to be anything other than cynical and somewhat spiteful; he seems not so much to judge the surface futility of her life, but destructively envious (“Your body is firm and inviting/But you live on a glittering stage”) and, when referring to the racehorse the Aga Khan buys her for Christmas, becomes openly mocking (that mirthless “hahahaha”). He claims to “know what’s inside your head…/When you’re alone in your bed” but comes across as more of a stalker. (Marcello Carlin)

What a load of pretentious faux sophisticated Euro references jammed through a not particularly appealing voice. I gave it a point for the hilarious clunker “You get an even sun tan. On your back. On your legs.” (asta)

The worst song about Eurotrash ever? I understand he has better songs, but really just about anything else he ever did HAS to be better than this, on principle.xz

An interminable gloat. (Billy Smart)

1979: Chiquitita – Abba. (116)

Utopian and expansive endless Euro singalong. (Billy Smart)

I bought this with 11th birthday money. Quite a pop tart I was by then. Strange that I still expect it to jump at the bit where the record’s scratched. Notwithstanding Andrea (my best friend) pointing out that Terry Wogan used to sing along ‘Take Your Teeth Out Put them Back In Again’ to the closing piano, it is a seriously good song. It’s Abba, what more can one say! (Gert)

Not one of their best, admittedly, but many of their characteristic strengths are on display: the oddly literate/stilted lyrics (“you’re enchained by your own sorrow”), the killer melody, the occasional weirdness nagging away in the background. Sinead O’Connor did a more laid-back version, which replaced the hackneyed Seventies oompah beat with a hint of sparkly Irish dub and revealed its fragile, optimistic heart a little more clearly. (Hg)

Despite the Spanish name this is more Greek than Hispanic with its prominent bouzouki accompaniment. (Amanda)

Not their best, but that still means it’s brilliant. (diamond geezer)

Not my favourite Abba song. But IT’S ABBA!! How can you not love it? (Sue Bailey)

Might well be my least favourite Abba song, but one cannot deny it has qualities and so on. (Simon C)

Not very good for Abba but would be pretty acceptable from anyone else. (Z)

I am surprised I am marking this so low. It’s certainly not anywhere near their best, but still a song most bands could only wish was in their back catalogue. (Hedgie)

I’m generally not one for “ABBA love,” I’ve never taken that whole untouchable/perfect-pop respect they have and without that millstone Chiquitita seemed OK. (Andy)

Not too much to say about this except I first saw them perform this on a big budget TV special which seemed to have something to do with the United Nations. As I’ve said many times elsewhere, the campfire-strumming/Seekers-referencing/vaguely political subtexting Abba are my least favourite Abba manifestation (and no, my favourite Abba manifestation are not the damaged/divorced/Visitors model but the supremely sexy, feline, cocksure, pop-merrily-reinventing/resurrecting Abba – “WALKING in the moonlight?” Yeah, right!) so while this is decent enough it scarcely stopped the 1979 clock from ticking. (Marcello Carlin)

I’m interested that there’s so much faint praise above. I can’t see that this is anything other than a perfect classic-era Euro(vision) pop song. It’s got an absolutely killer chorus, the usual clever, perfect harmonies, lovely little breaks, and that bit at the end where you think it’s finished – badang! – it’s started again! Which has become a cliche I know, but is still stupidly fantastic. (JonnyB)

I keep thinking this is some kind of Chiquita banana commercial gone horribly wrong.xz

Political ABBA is just silly. I don’t care if this was their biggest South American hit.. It stinks.Like an old banana. (asta)

I fucking loathe Abba. I just can’t abide them. This isn’t even one of the good ones. No, no, no, no, no. Sweet Jesus, why is Mama Mia the most popular film of all time? Is that not a living symbol of all that is wrong with the world and why mankind is doomed? (SwissToni)

2009: Just Dance – Lady GaGa featuring Colby O’Donis. (105)

She’s perfect, isn’t she? She’s like a bonkers art project that the kids don’t quite understand as they dance to the strange lady’s hit record. Forget Gaga, if you can, the song is a work of supremely efficient genius, isn’t it? (SwissToni)

She’s caught in a trap, but does she want to walk out? The strobes are flashing a little too rapidly to allow comfort (“Can’t find my drink or man/Where are my keys? I lost my ‘phone”) but she clings onto the music like the surest of lifeboats, that quare fellow of elegant Doric arches of 1981 news bulletin synthesisers kissing the caramelised crunch of 1985-pressured rock (snare that Poisoning reference to “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”). “I love this record baby, but I can’t see straight anymore.” What was so great about straight, anyway?

Meanwhile, her man, or a man, anyway, is similarly stumbling in an anti-thrust throttle in a different corner of the room, or perhaps a quarter of an inch away from her (“checkin’ out that catalogue”). They are both being swamped by the whirlpool of raved-over confusion but the load is also keeping them buoyant; everything, but everything, including life, is powered, depends upon, that music: “Just dance” she keeps urging in a “keep breathing” way, the semi-reversed cymballic thuds bouncing towards and into their lungs.

The setting is somewhere between the disorientation of the Streets’ “Blinded By The Lights” – minus the fatal fuelled resentment – and the awakened nightmare of Sing-Sing’s “Going Out Tonight” with a tinge of “Dance Wiv Me.” Unlike the Sing-Sing song, though, there will be no grievous denouement – “There’s no reason, I understand why you can’t leave here with me” – and unlike the Dizzee/Calvin song everyone is gathered in a mutually understanding union; the world outside is closing in on them and they have to pull together, dragging back the bitonal jewels of that sublime DAF breakdown towards song’s end; “Spin that record round.” “Gonna be okay.” The message unchanged; only when we’re dancing can we see what it means to be free; swim to the surface, bids the African-American, view the blue of water and sky and remember how hard we fought to wear this suit and be immaculate. (Marcello Carlin)

Is she a Madonna for the noughties with her brand of tuneful, danceable pop? (Amanda)

5 points. What can I say, I got this before she was big here (back when I was in Toronto) and my hunch about her was right; the new Madonna, more or less.xz

All the muffin talk aside, I think she’s the perfect mirror of the moment. She could be singing about Lindsay Lohan, or Lily Allen, or a whole host of former Bear Stearns employees at a club frantically trying to keep reality at bay. Who knows, given the times, in a few weeks, it could be me. (asta)

This sort of thing isn’t usually my cup of tea, but it’s as original as dance (or “dy-ance”) records get and I can more than put up with it. (Erithian)

Proving that British music won’t be running out of originality for a long time yet. (diamond geezer)

Shouldn’t like it, but I do. Catchy, zippy and I can listen to it without knowing whether she’s wearing pants or not. (jo)

I’m sorry I am putting this low, because I want it to be higher to prove I don’t detest the Noughties. It could have been top in a different slot. (Gert)

Good for what it is, which is formulaic and not here to stay. (Simon C)

Dance music gets a real bum deal from me in this contest. Cos I do love it, when I’m a bit off my face and on a dance floor. But I listen to these on a laptop, at my kitchen table. Where things like Peter Sarstedt sound better. (JonnyB)

I quite like this right now, but I confidently predict I will be so sick of it by the end of next week. (Sue Bailey)

I really loathe her to an extent I haven’t managed since Westlife, which is saying something. (Geoff Itinerant Londoner)

Junk-food music. Banal, soulless, superficial, cynical, over-hyped, autotuned, play-it-by-numbers, self-regarding nonsense. (Hg)

1999: You Don’t Know Me – Armand Van Helden featuring Duane Harden. (90)

It could be said that House music never really went away, of course; it laid low for awhile, quietly took notice of the world spinning around it, refreshed itself and came back. Two years after his stellar remix of “Professional Widow,” Armand returned to the top with a dance record which gave an early signal of an extremely popular trend in 21st-century number ones; a pounding but elastic beat, still recognisably Deep House, but bearing a palpably major influence from the French beatmasters – see not only “Music Sounds Better With You” but also things like Alan Braxe and Fred Falke’s “Intro,” whose lynchpin is the midsong acappella break from the Jets’ eighties hit “Crush On You” – producing a panoramic dance tableau which morphs in and out of recognisability but always bears a suitably soulful lead vocal on top.

This time the break was provided by Cheryl Lynn (“Dance With U” – not an answer record to Reginald Bosanquet’s “Dance With Me”), and Harden’s vocal seems to have been more or less entirely improvised on the spur of the moment in reaction to van Helden’s backing track. Certainly his words are anything but friendly; his is an exquisitely painful and righteously angry denunciation of those who seek to “judge my life” and “pulling me down” every time he tries to “move on up.” It’s rather like a rougher variant on Alexander O’Neal’s “Criticize” – “No happiness in their own lives/So they act out all their jealousies” – and Harden proffers some fiery growls on the “gotta” of “I gotta be strong” and the final, exasperated “Anything I try to do!” One could extrapolate a cry on behalf of House itself, suddenly reminding everyone of its continued existence (Harden’s carefully modulated tenor is similar to Robert Owens’), and indeed “You Don’t Know Me” lays the public foundations for some of my favourite number ones of recent times. Stand up for your right to jack! (Marcello Carlin)

Because I don’t know this song, it’s fresh to me. I can imagine playing this at the end of the week, perhaps before heading out to the Lady Ga Ga club. Unlike Just Dance, I can’t remember a single lyric, but I’d still play it more than once. (asta)

This doesn’t have any particular cultural resonance for me. I vaguely remember it, but haven’t heard it for years. Sounds pretty good now: a bit wonky, a bit counter-intuitive. (Hg)

If this had been in the No 3s list, it would have been top. (diamond geezer)

Still sounds box fresh to me! (Hedgie)

Still gets me twitching, but it sounds rather functional ten years on. (Billy Smart)

Not my bag at all, but you can’t deny that the choon has lasted pretty handily and sounds reasonably fresh today, for all of its overexposure. (SwissToni)

I was expecting what I now realise is U Don’t Know Me with Basement Jaxx, which is much better. (Simon C)

I liked it the first time, and the second but not the third. I had to listen again to be sure. Could you have a more dutiful voter? (Z)

Wanted to like this way more than I did; puzzled at ongoing Radio 1 playlist ubiquity, but maybe I’d just stopped clubbing quite so much. (Matthew)

Maybe I need to hear this in its proper setting (a nightclub) but it doesn’t do anything for me coming out of my computer speakers in my spare bedroom. (Amanda)

Quite amusing the first million times I heard it. Probably still quite amusing if I were off my tits on something. But I don’t do that any more, so… meh. (Sue Bailey)

I think this was one of the first tracks to use that soon-to-be-ubiquitous effect that sounds like a chewed-up cassette tape. Yuk. (Erithian)

Boring. Unpleasant to the ears. So disco hadn’t moved on in the 20 years since Leif Garrett. (Gert)

Generic floorfiller, than loses any goodwill through the lyrics – the classic whine of the me generation. It’s almost enough to make me start reading the Daily Mail. (The Lurker)

1989: Belfast Child – Simple Minds. (51)

Yes it’s bombastic, portentous, even a mite pretentious. And yes I’ve never been too fond of Jim Kerr since a Q&A session on an 80s TV show where he talked about sneaking into gigs as a youngster and then rounded on a kid who asked about high ticket prices for Simple Minds gigs with the words “Find another hobby”. But the ambition, atmosphere and sheer scale of this record do win me over. (Erithian)

Ahem, my 16 year-old self bought this. I find the insanely overblown nature of this unheathily compelling… (Billy Smart)

4 points. Oh I can hear the guffawing now. Heard in context within Street Fighting Years it is a lot more understandable than it is by itself. And since I listened to that non-stop in ’89, that’s how I’m voting.xz

3 points. Blimey – did I really type that? I – ummm – well I haven’t heard it for years and just thought it sounded a bit – magnificent in its way? Perhaps a victim of its own subject matter. They should have written about wholes of moons and it would still be getting played. (JonnyB)

In the late 80s I was seriously into Simple Minds, and thought that this had a haunting quality about it. I have to say it hasn’t stood the test of time, and it sounds too much like rip-off U2. Still, it’s better than a lot of the dross that one has had to endure in previous numbers! (Gert)

On paper, it looked like “we” had won; Marc Almond at number one, followed by Simple Minds at number one – Simple Minds, moreover, produced by Trevor Horn. Hadn’t this been the plan all along? Well, yes…but not like this. Not this way…and besides, on examination of the credits to the Street Fighting Years album, we find, in fashionable lower capitals: “produced by stephen lipson and trevor horn”…and the anecdotal evidence points to Lipson having done most of the work (I’m actually prepared, on reflection, to offer a sterling defence of that album when Then Play Long eventually gets round to it; it’s just a shame that here I have to deal with its worst three tracks).

The venerable folk song “She Moved Through The Fair” seemed to have returned into fashion in 1988; All About Eve covered it on their first album, but the really remarkable reading was that given by Van Morrison and the Chieftains on Irish Heartbeat – floating above out-of-tempo drone strings, Morrison muses and chews on the words, finally surrendering to beyond-language babbles of pure sound; it is extremely reminiscent of the holy first half of side three of Keith Tippett’s Frames, and you want it to go on forever.

Jim Kerr wrote new lyrics to the tune and retitled it “Belfast Child” – the lead track of the E.P. – but typically then proceeds to batter it to death with his stadium rock steamhammer. Clocking in at over six-and-a-half minutes, “Belfast Child” is the kind of epic which has to wear its gigantic EPIC badge on its aircraft hangar lapel, much like the office joker feels obliged to wear a gigantic I’M MAD ME badge. Blustering between ill-defined dynamics and absurd, non-committal nursery rhyme lyrics, the Irish Question, which Simple Minds had never previously addressed, not even obliquely, was a clear excuse for Kerr to make his final assault on Being Bono. As he repeatedly howls “THE STREETS ARE EMPTY!” over Charlie Burchell’s Dire Straits guitar, one waits in vain for the red flag to be unfurled and for the amplifiers to be ascended. Ultimately it is the post-New Pop equivalent of Wings’ “Give Ireland Back To The Irish” – but at least the absurd, well-meaning McCartney had a specific point to make. Or does Kerr’s plaintive belching of “Come back Bill-Y!” and “Come back Mar-Y!” suggest the proposed waving of an orange flag?

The remaining two tracks are little better. “Mandela Day” is a coarser rewrite of 1981’s immortal “Seeing Out The Angel,” sacrificing all its mystery and subtlety for yet more simplistic yea-saying regarding “25 years ago this very day” and “they took That Man away” (actually, as recording for the album commenced in March 1988, it would have been at least 27 years any very day, but anyway…). Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” meanwhile gets buried in interminable avalanches of repetitive roaring and singularly inappropriate bagpipe fanfares; compared to the restrained heartbreak of Robert Wyatt’s minimalist reading of the same song (released on a 12-inch Rough Trade E.P. in 1984) – complete with Wyatt’s still fresh and painful memories of his friend Mongezi Feza, whose lifespan was more or less the same as Steve Biko’s and whose end was, many say, caused by the same factors – Kerr’s bloated buffalo of a cover version is positively an insult.

Still, the E.P. became their first, and to date only, number one; their new mass audience wanted that bluster, big gestures on big screens, the new gold dream long having rusted into unfeasible copper. Yes, Simple Minds got to the top, as they had wished, but the victory was Pyrrhic and the price they paid – well, could it ever be refunded or restored? Check out Neapolis a decade later for some surprising answers. (Marcello Carlin)

Sounds like something tacked on the end of a song for the purposes of extending it for live performance rather than the song itself. (Amanda)

I like this much less than I did when it came out. Dull, generic, worthy. Boring. (Sue Bailey)

This is a totally unconvincing Irish lament. The melody form is there, somewhere, under the layers of production and the lyrics have some strength, but it’s incredibly stilted and devoid of real emotion. I had to go off an listen to a tin whistle recording of Turas Go Tir Na Nog just to get rid of the aural residue from this one. (asta)

This got to number 2? Astonishing. It is dreadful, all five minutes and whatever interminable seconds of it. (Z)

The sort of overblown stadium pomp that U2 are usually guilty of. (diamond geezer)

Gives stadium rock a bad name. (The Lurker)

Hilarious at the time, in its strain to be U2. (Matthew)

Wanna be. Why they would wanna be i don’t know, but obviously they do. (jo)

Just awful. A confused and derivative mess. (Hedgie)

Utter toss. I loved the heady whirl of Up On The Catwalk, but this is just mawkish, misguided sentimentality of the worst kind. (Hg)

I used to think I secretly quite liked a bit of Simple Minds. This is rubbish. (Stereoboard)

Ah. Another band I loathe for their stupid fake sincerity and portentious sense of significance and their own self-importance. So full of themselves that you can even hear it on record. Rubbish. Total guff. (SwissToni)

I may loathe Lady Gaga, but she’s still better than this shit. (Geoff Itinerant Londoner)

Decade scores so far (after 8 days).
1 (1) The 1960s (28)
2 (1) The 2000s (26)
3= (4) The 1970s (24)
3= (1) The 1980s (24)
5 (5) The 1990s (18)

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