Welcome to our BIG chart countdown, and if you’ve been wondering, “Where’s Paul?”, well, wonder no more…
40) Saint Etienne – You’re In A Bad Way
Bob, Pete’n’Saz, the best Blue Peter team we never had (imagine the weekly films about Italian club style and obscure glam 7″s), at the apogee of their retro-futurism. “Get your kicks watching Bruce on the old Generation Game” indeed.
39) Sparks – Beat The Clock
Post-ironic disco Hitler and hyperactive brother meet Giorgio Moroder and accidentally shape all coming synth duos in their style, if sadly not their image. Nothing about it lets up, and TOTP got to feature some perfect staring down the lens from Ron.
38) Prince – When Doves Cry
Of course His Purpleness was going to place this of all years, but with what? Another one where the candidate’s consistency split the vote but the disco-funk workout about arguing parents with no bass and a lot of soloing won out.
37) Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know
Kirsty’s coming, don’t worry, but Trace’s untutored vocal suits the retro’d arrangement and leaves room for the writer to get a word in edgeways (“Bay-bee!”) Bonus points for just palling about in the video with…
36) Paul McCartney – Coming Up
Fab Wacky Macca Thumbs Aloft’s single-musician masterpiece, a shuffling funky journey with no comfortable end that keeps on keeping on just because it can. And he impersonates Ron Mael in the video, which if you think about it is a very odd concept.
35) New Order – True Faith
With Blue Monday on the exclusion list the panel gravitated in enough numbers towards the track that steals more than just a producer from the Pet Shop Boys’ melancholy club playbook, albeit with Barney’s usual wayward approach to lyrical sense. Very small boys talked to him, apparently.
34) Dollar – Videotheque
It’s forgotten what with Trevor Horn’s subsequent infamy, not to mention indeed David Van Day’s Bucks Fizz/burger van infamy, that it was with Dollar that he had his first successes outside his own bands. Videotheque, co-penned by Horn, is a perfect case in point, all clever vocal exchanges and dramatic futurism inventing the sound of ZTT.
33) Buggles – Video Killed The Radio Star
Covered by practically everyone, overtaken by the “new technology” it fretted about to the extent that nobody blames VCR as much as pities it, and yet somehow the production sound, both intentionally dated and otherwise, makes it unforgettable. You can practically hear the reel-to-reel recorders and the ribbon mike Trevor Horn is singing in a weird fashion into.
32) Chic – Le Freak
Working title: Fuck Off. Even on the reworded version you’re so busy following the bassline you hardly notice the level of irony in the delivery.
31) Blondie – Heart Of Glass
Pointless saying this is impossibly cool because that’s really Debbie’s raison d’etre. Disco with ice in its veins, elevated by the production work of the former half of Chinnichap (more of their work really should have made this list, you know) and then again by Deb’s sneering sashaying.
That’s it for this week!