Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The top 26 Scottish singles of all-time, Part 3

No. 16: "Murderers, The Hope Of Women"
The Poison Boyfriend, 1987
If I had my way, songs such as this would be banned from all wedding receptions and playing tracks such as "Murderers, The Hope Of Women" would be the norm. The haunting acoustic number is Momus' take on the sacrament of marriage -- and his take is sacrilegious, to say the least.

"But I poisoned you with every kiss/Smothered you with domestic bliss," go the words, touching upon the general ennui that can arise among those in holy matrimony. "This is where your misery starts/This is where your mystery stops" -- for this wedlocked couple, there's no more secrets to share, the new car smell is gone, the flame has been snuffed.

"I make a metaphor for the way being married can kind of kill your potential," Momus once said when discussing the song. (And yes, he took the plunge himself once: in 1994, marrying a 17-year-old Bangladeshi girl.)

No. 15: "Top Of The Pops"
The Rezillos
Can't Stand The Rezillos, 1978
In 1978, The Rezillos lampooned the long-running music program Top Of The Pops, poking fun at its penchant for showcasing hackneyed, soulless artists miming to pre-recorded dross. Naturally, the guitar-accelerated number soared to No. 17 on the U.K. charts -- and earned the group an invitation to "play" on the show.

The Rezillos agreed. Wonder if the TOTP producers knew the joke was on them upon hearing couplets like, "There's one -- born every day/Sing song -- then fade away," or, "What is selling, what to buy/The stock market for your hi-fi."

No. 14: "Falling And Laughing"
Orange Juice
Steven Daly's thoughts on the single (from The Glasgow School liner notes):

"'Falling And Laughing' was a fairly ambitious choice for Orange Juice's 1979 debut single. As a recent addition to the Orange Juice repertoire, the song offered clear and early evidence that Edwyn's songwriting was developing at a pace that his youthful band would be hard pressed to match. Since we neither a publicist nor a single contact in the London media, we had to just send out review copies of 'Falling And Laughing' and hope someone out there would understand a record that used the word 'consequently.'"

They did -- and so did countless of inspired artists in the decades to follow.

No. 13: "To You Alone"
The Beta Band
Don't be fooled by the crude cover art, as there is nothing amateurish about this rich and complex release.

"To You Alone" came on the heels of the group's eponymous debut, which received its share of sour press, mainly after the band distanced itself from the release (citing tight deadlines and a lack of money as two factors prohibiting them from crafting the LP they wished). The single earned The Beta Band berths on a number of 2000 "best-of" lists and helped establish the act as one of the most influential of the last decade.

No. 12: "Iceblink Luck"
Cocteau Twins
Heaven Or Las Vegas, 1990

"Iceblink Luck" -- and much of Heaven Or Las Vegas, for that matter -- is where Cocteau Twins finally drift down from the substratosphere like a golden eagle feather and land delicately upon solid ground.

Guitars so incandescent you feel the need to squint, pulsing and brazen basslines, burnished vocals from Elisabeth Fraser -- but it's all toned down enough to allow the song to pass as standard pop fare. Cocteau Twins produced more inspiring, seminal works earlier in its career, but nothing as engaging as "Iceblink Luck."