After the immaculate new pop and rock concepts of the eighties, the nineties came as a bit of a shock; a return to seventies values where pop was manufactured chart music for kids and housewives and ‘real’ music was everything else. I was never quite sure which was which but it didn’t matter a jot. As our senses were subsumed by a smorgasbord of fractured cultures, aspirations and impulses, the pop song became a lucky dip grab bag of insubstantial noise.      


1990 was the last thrilling year before the culture shakedown really began. As everything turned Day-Glo, the charts were jammed with grebo and baggy chancers, a pop rave version of a Beatles tune and a bunch of techno freako’s from Wiltshire. Classic Secret Pleasures all, they were the last blast before pop became a dirty word again, struggling for a new direction as groups with nothing to say made valiant attempts to keep up with the plethora of new genres, sub genres and micro genres dreamt up by ego wanking music journo’s and DJ’s.


All that kept the charts from drowning in a bucketful of lightweight slop was the occasional hit by the likes of EMF and James. That’s how desperate the times truly were. And that’s how they would have stayed if Britpop hadn’t tumbled over Primrose Hill to lay karmic waste to pretty much everything. Of course, hidden amongst all the revivalist, jingoistic nonsense there was still a tiny treasure trove of great pop records, but it soon degenerated into nothingness when Noel Gallagher and his Dad rock cronies started flashing the cash and snorting the powder.


And so, as yet another new dawn faded, the nineties ended almost as insignificantly as they had begun. The only groups left standing were the flotsam and jetsam of Britpop and a glorious fucked up mess of never shoulda, woulda, coulda’s. While they bore absolutely no resemblance to the classic popsters of old, they did go some way to proving the theory that all groups have at least one good song in them. And if they could do it in the nasty nineties, anyone could.


01 THE BELOVED ‘Your Love Takes Me Higher’ (A Side March 1990)

02 CANDYFLIP ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ (A Side March 1990)

03 JESUS JONES ‘Right Here Right Now’ (A Side September 1990)

04 POP WILL EAT ITSELF ‘X, Y & Zee’ (A Side January 1991)

05 EMF ‘Children’ (A Side April 1991)

06 SOHO ‘Hippy Chick’ (A Side May 1991)

07 JAMES ‘Sound’ (A Side November 1991)

08 CARTER THE UNSTOPPABLE SEX MACHINE ‘The Only Living Boy In New Cross’ (A Side April 1992)

09 BETTY BOO ‘Let Me Take You There’ (A Side August 1992)

10 STEREO MC’S ‘Creation’ (A Side May 1993)

11 EDWYN COLLINS ‘A Girl Like You’ (A Side October 1994)

12 DUBSTAR ‘Stars’ (A Side July 1995)

13 THE CARDIGANS ‘Love Fool’ (A Side September 1996)

14 SPACE ‘Neighborhood’ (A Side October 1996)

15 WHITE TOWN ‘Your Woman’ (A Side January 1997)

16 MONACO ‘What Do You Want From Me?’ (A Side March 1997)

17 REPUBLICA ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’ (A Side May 1997)

18 THE DANDY WARHOLS ‘Everyday Should Be A Holiday’ (A Side February 1998)

19 PLACEBO ‘You Don’t Care About Us’ (A Side October 1998)

20 GAY DAD ‘Joy!’ (A Side June 1999)