Two decades old this week is the Lightning Seeds album Jollification. You know, the one with all the hits on it! In an extended chart run it rumbled all over the place, eventually peaking at number 12, and showing itself to be a great example of the mid-nineties pop album.
Opening the album is what became the final single Perfect, one of three top twenty hits from this album. It perhaps isn’t the best song ever, but it’s got the sort of strong pop melody that you should probably associate with Ian Broudie.
That’s followed by the brilliant first single Lucky You, which you would be hard pushed not to remember. Listening to it now, two decades on, it’s difficult to put your finger on quite what’s so special about it. Perhaps it just captured a moment two decades ago, and has long since had its time. Or maybe this really is a great song? I suspect the Lightning Seeds‘ impact on pop music is now largely limited to Three Lions and Three Lions ’98, but this album does prove that they had other strings to their bow.
Open Goals is nothing special though, and so it isn’t until third single Change that we’re reminded what we’ve been missing for the last couple of decades. And it’s good, but it does sound very old now. I suppose you have to just try to enjoy it for what it is, and forget that it was twenty years ago already.
Side A closes with Why Why Why, which does have a chord change, but what it doesn’t have is any kind of memorable melody. There’s definitely some filler on this album, but fortunately there are enough hits to make up for the shortcomings of the other tracks.
Marvellous, starting the second half, is another hit, and although its swirly introduction is a little over the top, it does build its way up to become a great pop song, even though surprisingly it was the smallest hit from the album.
It’s downhill from there though. For Feeling Lazy we seemingly take a trip back to the 1960s, and My Best Day is a worthy attempt at a catchy song which somehow just doesn’t quite work. Punch and Judy is pretty poor, too. The final track Telling Tales does pick things up a bit, but by this stage it feels a bit like too little, too late.
So I think it’s fair to conclude that Jollification is a patchy album. But if nothing else, the aural journey back to 1994 is worthwhile, and when it’s good, it is very good.
You can find Jollification at Amazon and all major retailers.