Music for the Masses 15 – 29 March 2000

Bay Radio, like any student radio station, suffered a little from bad student taste, and the student union was often pretty much empty at 10.55 in the morning, for reasons which are very obvious indeed. So if anything particularly dreadful turned up on the playlist, I would often try to hide it at 10.55am, before the show started properly.

show15br (2)

Show 15: Wed 29 Mar 2000, from 10.55am-1.05pm

Tracks taken from the playlist (Total 14 tracks). A indicates A-list (7 tracks); B indicates B-list (4 tracks) and C indicates C-list (2 tracks). S indicates the Single of the Week. R indicates tracks taken from my own collection (Total 8 tracks). L indicates the ones from the “library” (Total 5 tracks).

  • 1. Clinic “The Return of Evil Bill” A
  • [IRN 11.00 News]
  • 2. David Arnold & Nina Persson “Randall & Hopkirk Theme” A
  • 3. Dubstar “Stars” R
  • 4. Death in Vegas “Dirge” A
  • 5. Timo Maas “Der Schieber” A
  • 6. Enigma “Push the Limits” R
  • 7. Travis “Turn” A
  • [Coming Events Feature]
  • 8. Echoboy “Kit & Holly” A
  • 9. Beck “Mixed Bizness” S
  • 10. Planet Perfecto feat. Grace “Not Over Yet 99” R
  • [Advert Break]
  • 11. Shamen “Indica” R
  • 12. Fragma “Toca’s Miracle” B
  • 13. Merz “Lotus” B
  • [IRN 12.00 News]
  • 14. Everything But the Girl “Hatfield 1980” R
  • 15. Moby “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” L
  • 16. Richard Ashcroft “Song for the Lovers” A
  • 17. Asian Dub Foundation “Real Great Britain” C
  • 18. Pala “Cat-Like Creatures” B
  • 19. Bloodhound Gang “The Bad Touch” L
  • 20. O.M.D. “Walking on the Milky Way” R
  • [Top 10 Single & Album Charts]
  • 21. York “The Awakening” L
  • 22. The Clarke & Ware Experiment “Music for Multiple Dimensions” (Technology) R
  • 23. Big Yoga Muffin “Is that How You?” C
  • [Advert Break]
  • 24. Ouch “Seen the Light” A
  • 25. Rage Against the Machine “Sleep Now in the Fire” A
  • 26. Komputer “The World of Tomorrow” R
  • [IRN 1.00 News]
  • 27. Depeche Mode “Only When I Lose Myself” R

Producer: None.

Notes: Well that was fun, wasn’t it, kiddies. No, I didn’t think so, either. Well, it went about averagely, with me stopping a record half way through (never done that before) and also playing the track I’d just played (never done that either actually). So I think I’ve done about all the big mistakes possible now. Well, except for missing the news, which everyone else seems to be managing with considerable enthusiasm. Mind you, I did manage to overlap it with a jingle…

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Preview – Björk

Björk knows how to dress up for a party! And celebrate she should, because her latest album Vulnicura was released last week, and it’s officially good to have her back. Here’s a track called lionsong:

Chart for stowaways – 28 February 2015

Here are this week’s top ten singles:

  1. Marsheaux – See You
  2. Delerium – After All
  3. Étienne de Crécy – Hashtag My Ass
  4. Dirty Vegas – Save a Prayer
  5. The Beloved – Ease the Pressure
  6. Shit Robot – Space Race
  7. Pet Shop Boys – I don’t know what you want but I can’t give it any more
  8. Saint Etienne – Worksop Parramore
  9. Marsheaux – Leave in Silence
  10. Delerium – Underwater

Marsheaux‘s cover version of Depeche Mode‘s A Broken Frame also holds onto the number 1 album slot for a third week.

Beginner’s guide to Crystal Castles

With a unique brand of noisy electronic pop, Crystal Castles definitely have something special about them. Each of their releases has its ups and downs, but the ups are particularly worth hearing. Sadly they do seem to be down a member at the moment, so quite what the future will hold remains to be seen.

Key moments

You might have come across the brilliant Celestica or the collaboration with Robert SmithNot in Love.

Where to start

Get all three eponymous albums, one at a time – Crystal Castles (2008), Crystal Castles (II) (2010), and Crystal Castles (III) (2012).

What to buy

Essentially that’s it, but you will need to track down a copy of Not in Love at some point, as the original album version doesn’t include The Cure‘s vocalist.

Don’t bother with

Most of the other singles – there are only a few scraps worth salvaging.

Hidden treasure

A couple of the remixes of Affection are pretty good.

For stowaways

Essential Albums – Enigma

Long before this blog ever existed, some time around late 2000 or early 2001, I started compiling a list of essential albums. There were just six entries, and this was the third.

Enigma – Le Roi est Mort, Vive le Roi! (1996)

  • Chart Position: 12
  • HitsBeyond the Invisible (26), TNT for the Brain (60)
  • Highlights: Morphing Thru TimeTNT for the Brain

Less well known and considerably less successful than either of its predecessors, MCMXC a.D. (1990) and The Cross of Changes (1993), this album was originally intended as the closing point of a trilogy, and is widely celebrated as Michael Cretu‘s finest moment. Although the album introduces few new ideas or even guests, it remains the most enduring album of the Enigma project.

There are some rather sweeping statements in the above paragraph, but a lot that I still agree with. Despite a couple of awful tracks (Third of Its Kind is the most notable) this is a fantastic album. The Beginner’s guide to Enigma is here.

Depeche Mode – Violator

If you’ve got a song like World in My Eyes, put it right at the beginning of your album. Grab people in the first few seconds with the warm analogue bass sound, and throw them a beautifully catchy melody so they can’t escape. Welcome to Violator.

Just a year after the release of the enormous 101 live album, Depeche Mode seemed to have thoroughly said goodbye to the 1980s. Their eras of nervous plinky plonk and early experiments with samplers had long since been successfully closed off, and Music for the Masses (1987) had seen them start to transition from the edges of the black-wearing Goth movement to become early leaders of some kind of stadium rock. Violator, released a quarter of a century ago this week, saw them at the top of their game.

I’m always a little nervous about categorising things – picking genres – and so it is with Violator. To me, it’s firmly electronic, but others will pigeonhole it in any number of places, probably most commonly that horrible catch-all “alternate”. Sweetest Perfection is a great example of this – even trying to describe the sound would be enough to flummox the most descriptive writer. The answer, of course, is just to enjoy the slightly grimey but also beautiful music.

The first single from the album follows, the enormous Personal Jesus. It’s been covered by many renowned artists and loved by many more, but even if you know it well, it hides many levels of complexity. It’s not rock by any stretch of the imagination, and yet it’s full of bluesy guitars and finally sees Dave Gahan find his natural status as a Rock God.

Pretty much any track on here could have been a single, and the beautiful Halo is no exception. It’s a little more understated than some of the others, but by the time the chorus turns up it leaves little doubt that you’re in the middle of something very special indeed. Similarly, Waiting for the Night, disappointingly marking the halfway point of this album already, is tender and beautiful, with one of Gahan’s finest vocals in duet with songwriter Martin L. Gore‘s softer singing style.

This is firmly the age of the CD, otherwise there might be a gap just here, but suddenly out of nowhere, the enormous Enjoy the Silence turns up. If you don’t think this song is incredible, there is most definitely something wrong with you. The production is perfect – understated in all the right places, and a little overblown where it needs to be. Gore’s writing is at its most confident, and Gahan’s delivery is exceptional. You can try all you want to find fault here, but there is none.

What you didn’t get on the single was any mention of the title, Enjoy the Silence, and when it turns up here it heralds a short and weird instrumental, supposedly entitled Interlude No. 2 – Crucified. Its relevance on the album is a little unclear – it almost needs a “mind the gap” sign, but it provides a little breathing space before the final single Policy of Truth, perhaps the catchiest and most pop-flavoured track on here. It still retains the grubby undertones which have characterised the whole album, particularly in the last minute or so. You could be forgiven for thinking this was rock music, as discordant feedback loops through the song, and yet there’s hardly a guitar in sight.

Martin L. Gore sings his own vocals on Blue Dress, an intentionally nervous performance on a short and sweet song which mixes smoothly into Interlude No. 3, another uncredited instrumental which seems to be mainly built around samples of London Underground trains. Finally we’re ready for the enormous closing piece Clean.

As with the rest of the album, there’s an understated beauty to CleanDepeche Mode were, as I said earlier, definitely at the top of their game, but it doesn’t sound as though they had actually realised this yet. Clean is an exceptional, anthemic song, made more than a little ironic by Gahan’s drug problems and Gore’s alcoholism which would come to a head at the time of the subsequent album.

It’s a fantastic closer to a truly perfect release, and the only thing left to do now is to listen to the follow-up, Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993).

If you can still find it, the double disc version is the essential one, but otherwise go for the 2013 remastered version, still widely available.