The Wedding Present – The Hit Parade (1992)

The Hit ParadeAlright, I cheated on this one. This isn’t random.

A few weeks ago I noticed that the associated Twitter account to this blog (@recordatrandom) had a new follower (a rare occurrence!) and I was delighted to see that it was David Gedge (@weddingpresent). Ever savvy, David must have picked up on the Twitter chat this blog was engaged in when planning the next record club event (I was pushing for some Weddoes to be played that night). Lo and behold, the next day David is following both the blog and the record club (he’s been invited along next time he is in the area).

So David, errr, this one’s for you…. Continue reading

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Pet Shop Boys – Introspective (1988)

20130416-193308.jpgHow can you not love an album with a cover as iconic as this? Introspective was the first Pet Shops Boys album (and 25 years later still one of the few) not to feature one of them in some shape or form on the cover, indicating that this was an altogether different proposition.

And it was. Consisting of only 6 tracks it initially feels more like an EP, although as each track weighs in at at least 6 minutes, there is still plenty to enjoy. At the time, Neil Tennant marked Introspective as the end of their “Imperial Phase”, expressing disappointment when Domino Dancing, released shortly before the album, only charted at number seven while it’s two predecessors had managed to get to number one. In hindsight, he shouldn’t have worried, apparently Introspective is their second biggest selling album to date.

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ABC – Beauty Stab (1983)

Ask most people with a passing interest in pop music from the 1980’s to name two ABC albums and I doubt they would name Beauty Stab. Or in fact anything other than The Lexicon of Love.

ABC Beauty StabI can understand that. LoL was a huge international success and (for me at least) the soundtrack of summer 1982. All subsequent ABC releases were overshadowed by LoL. Nothing stood a chance, really. Which is probably why I hold a torch for Beauty Stab.

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The Smiths – The Queen is Dead (1986)

Received wisdom was that The Queen is Dead is The Smith’s greatest album. It’s a great album. But not their greatest. That would be Strangeways Here We Come. It’s true. Morrissey and Marr agree with me. But I only have that on CD and cassette so it’s excluded (at least for now) from this blog.
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Nevertheless, this is still an “all killer no filler” kind of record. I played this copy the other day when some friends visited, and provided a talking point while the kids ran about the rest of the house. It struck all of us that there just isn’t a duff track on here. Even the one person who didn’t really like The Smiths grudgingly agreed.

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Prince – Sign ‘O’ The Times (1987)

Its silly, no? When a rocket ship explodes. And everybody still wants 2 fly.

Sign O The TimesSign ‘O’ The Times is always the critics’ choice for “best Prince album” or “last great double album of the eighties”. I don’t think it merits either of those claims. For me, it’s bloated, dated and for large parts of it quite actually boring. But when it’s good, it is very good indeed.

The album was reportedly a triple set until Warner’s asked Prince to reduce it, concerned about the under-performance of Parade a year before. They were right to be as Sign ‘O’ The Times suffered the same commercial fate. It’s easy to forget that Prince, although still a massive star at the time, was actually declining in sales. The same fate befell Lovesexy a year later, with the Batman soundtrack only holding up because of the huge success of anything related to the movie.

It’s not an album I could happily put on and listen to all the way through any more, as I found out yesterday when I ended up pottering around the house waiting for the next good one to come on. I lose patience with it far too quickly. This is meant to be a classic, after all. How many people actually listen to it all in one go?

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