From indie four-piece, to Madchester duo, to husband-and-wife pop duo, to deep house exploratory act, The Beloved packed a lot into what was, sadly, less than a decade-long career. If you don’t remember them, but have any kind of fondness for the 1990s, you have a lot to look forward to.
You might remember their 1990 hits Hello and The Sun Rising, or perhaps the fantastic 1993 single Sweet Harmony, or if you know your deep house then you might have even come across some of their less mainstream material.
Where to start
Begin with their exemplary 1997 singles collection Single File. Frustratingly most tracks are in their original album form, so you may ultimately find it superfluous to your needs, but it’s got all the hits plus a few surprises, and should serve as a good introduction to the different aspects of the band.
What to buy
Start with their 1990 second album Happiness to hear how things really began, and then jump to the near-perfect X (1996). That then leaves you with either Conscience (1993) or the remix album Blissed Out (1990) – if you like their pop sound better then go with the former, and if you want to explore their darker side then try the latter.
Don’t bother with
They had a whole indie career prior to Happiness, which does include some great moments but is probably not worth selling the car to buy them, if that’s what it comes to.
Definitely Forever Dancing and If Only from the debut album Where it Is (1987). Some of the singles have fantastic remixes hiding on them, particularly the unreleased versions of Deliver Me (1996) and the drum and bass version of The Sun Rising (1997). Also track down the 2001 non-album single With You, which should still be available digitally. The single version of It’s Alright Now (1990) is completely unlike the album version and is rather brilliant – get the 7″ single for a great version of Scarlet Beautiful on Side B.