Chart for stowaways – 9 June 2018

Here’s the latest singles chart!

  1. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  2. Ladytron – The Animals
  3. Tracey Thorn – Dancefloor
  4. Simon Mills – Poke EP
  5. The Radiophonic Workshop – Things Buried in Water
  6. The Beloved – Looking to the Future
  7. Shakka feat. AlunaGeorge – Man Down
  8. Jean-Michel Jarre – Remix EP (I)
  9. Röyksopp – I Had This Thing
  10. Sparks – I Wish You Were Fun
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Chart for stowaways – 21 April 2018

Here are the week’s top albums:

  1. Sparks – Hippopotamus
  2. Tracey Thorn – Record
  3. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  4. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury
  5. Kylie Minogue – Golden
  6. David Bowie – Legacy
  7. David Bowie – Changestwobowie
  8. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon
  9. Jean-Michel Jarre – Oxygène 3
  10. Goldfrapp – Tales of Us

Retro chart for stowaways – 19 May 2007

These are the top ten singles from eleven years ago this week:

  1. Sohodolls – My Vampire
  2. Dragonette – I Get Around
  3. Groove Armada feat. Stush – Get Down
  4. Jean-Michel Jarre – Téo & Téa
  5. Client – Drive
  6. Onetwo – Cloud Nine
  7. Air – Once Upon a Time
  8. Faithless – Music Matters
  9. Erasure – I Could Fall in Love with You
  10. Client – Lights Go Out

Jean-Michel Jarre – Chronologie

A quarter of a century ago this week, Jean-Michel Jarre released his eleventh studio album Chronologie. While he had never truly been overlooked, some of its predecessors such as 1988’s Revolutions were somewhat uninspired, whereas Chronologie heavily harked back to some of his earlier material and was, to an extent, a return to form.

It also marked a return to the large single-work albums that had characterised his early career. The eleven-minute Part 1, which opens the album, morphs pleasantly from a huge, symphonic piece, to sliding scales, and finally warped atmospheric sounds. When that finally breaks down, we fall into the dramatic French-only third single Part 2, an organ-based piece that bounces along very merrily for six minutes or so in its album form.

Closing Side A is the soft choral pad and orchestral-styled piece Part 3, which really is traditional Jarre in every way. The sounds he’s using here may not be particularly challenging to the listener, but he does seem to have finally found his place in the world of music.

Side B launches with the glorious lead single Part 4, which careered to number 55 in the UK, and then four months later saw a reissue which peaked one place lower in the charts. Frankly, it deserved much better – it’s easily the best track on here, an uptempo, catchy, beautiful dance-electronic piece that’s every bit as good as anything Jarre had released in the preceding decade.

Part 5 is a slightly odd, schizophrenic piece – the first half is gentle and laid back, then the second half is tribal and full of drama and hip hop scratches. It makes for a welcome break between the singles, but it’s difficult to know exactly what he was up to here.

Part 6 was the second single, released (and hitting the charts) as an album-length single in the UK. This was the album where Jarre really discovered remixes, and found that they could aid his commercial success. This single was a prime candidate, full as it is of punchy electronic sounds – it’s another brilliantly catchy piece which really should have been a huge hit.

The sound of a fly carries us through to the broader, creepier Part 7, which viewed on its own is a slightly pointless filler that serves relatively little function here. Then, finally, Part 8 arrives to close the album out. At the beginning, this is a triumphant piece which actually sounds a bit out of place here initially. Eventually, it breaks out into a different track, with more hip hop samples and an uncomfortable swing beat. Most of the album had been going so well, and then Jean-Michel Jarre chooses to close with this? The cuckoo-clock breakdown at the halfway point is every bit as daft as you might think from the description.

But whatever the shortcomings of the latter tracks, Chronologie is a very worthy return to form for Jarre, who by this time was already more than two decades into his career. Next step, more Oxygène!

The 2015 misspelt reissue of Chronology is still widely available.

Greatest Hits – Vol. 11

Time for another selection of reviews that you might have missed in the last year or two.

You can also see Vol. 10 here.

Stowaway Heroes – Vince Clarke

One of the most prolific names in music is Vince Clarke. After a couple of excellent false starts including Yazoo and The Assembly, he’s spent most of his career as the knob-twiddling genius responsible for Erasure‘s backing tracks.

Things started out, of course, with Depeche Mode, and we can’t really overlook his sunglasses and designer stubble in their breakthrough hit Just Can’t Get Enough:

Of course, Erasure is where he’s spent most of the last thirty years, and it would be difficult not to give him credit where it’s due for his exquisite performance in the video to Abba‘s Take a Chance on Me:

In recent years, he has branched out, working again with his old bandmate Martin L. Gore as well as half of Orbital, all of Jean-Michel Jarre, and others. From 2Square, his project with Paul Hartnoll, here’s Better Have a Drink to Think:

Genius is an over-used word without a doubt, but it’s absolutely fair to say that Clarke should be one of our stowaway heroes.

Stowaway Awards 2018

After all the excitement of previous years, I’ve decided to tone down the Stowaway Awards a little this year, with just six categories. Here they are, with the full lists of nominees!

Best Track

Nominees:

  • Depeche Mode – Where’s the Revolution
  • Erasure – Be Careful What You Wish for!
  • Gary Numan – My Name is Ruin
  • Goldfrapp – Become the One
  • Kraftwerk – Radioaktivität
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – As We Open, So We Close
  • Pet Shop Boys – Reunion
  • Saint Etienne – Whyteleaf
  • Sparks – Scandinavian Design
  • Yazoo – Only You

We announced the winner already – it’s Depeche Mode.

Best Album

Nominees:

  • Depeche Mode – Spirit
  • Erasure – World Be Gone
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury
  • Saint Etienne – Home Counties
  • Sparks – Hippopotamus

The winner is Depeche Mode.

Best Reissue / Compilation

Nominees:

  • Liza Minnelli – Results
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury: B Sides & Bonus Material
  • Pet Shop Boys – Nightlife
  • Pet Shop Boys – Release
  • Pet Shop Boys – Yes

The winner is Pet Shop Boys, for Release.

Best Artist

Nominees:

  • Depeche Mode
  • Erasure
  • Goldfrapp
  • Saint Etienne
  • Sparks

This year’s winner is Sparks.

Best Live Act

Nominees:

  • Jean-Michel Jarre
  • The Jesus and Mary Chain
  • múm

The winner is Jean-Michel Jarre.

Outstanding Contribution

Nominees:

  • David Bowie
  • Vince Clarke
  • The Future Sound of London
  • Leftfield
  • Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark

The winner: Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark.