Chart for stowaways – June 2020

June still saw Pet Shop Boys dominating, with Hotspot still at the top of the albums, and now My beautiful laundrette at the top of the albums. Kraftwerk continued to float around all of the charts, and we finally saw the long-awaited return of The Grid, with their new remix of Floatation.

Here are the singles from 13th June:

  1. Pet Shop Boys – My beautiful laundrette
  2. The Beloved – Grin
  3. Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls
  4. Pet Shop Boys – I don’t wanna
  5. Pet Shop Boys – Will-o-the-wisp
  6. Scotts/Travis Scott/Kid Cudi – The Scotts
  7. The Beloved – Forever Dancing
  8. The Grid – Floatation
  9. Kraftwerk – Taschenrechner
  10. Soft Cell – Potential

Chart for stowaways – 9 February 2019

These are the week’s top albums:

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity
  2. Jean-Michel Jarre – Planet Jarre
  3. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  4. The Radiophonic Workshop – Possum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  5. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  6. Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
  7. The Prodigy – No Tourists
  8. The Grid – Electric Head
  9. Sébastien Tellier – Politics
  10. Madness – The Very Best Of

Chart for stowaways – 26 January 2019

Here are the week’s top albums:

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity
  2. Jean-Michel Jarre – Planet Jarre
  3. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  4. The Radiophonic Workshop – Possum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  5. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  6. Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
  7. The Prodigy – No Tourists
  8. The Grid – Electric Head
  9. Saint Etienne – London Conversations – The Best of
  10. Culture Club & Boy George – Life

Chart for stowaways – 12 January 2019

Here’s the latest album chart:

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Planet Jarre
  2. Jean-Michel Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity
  3. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  4. The Radiophonic Workshop – Possum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  5. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  6. Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
  7. The Grid – Electric Head
  8. The Prodigy – No Tourists
  9. David Bowie – Glastonbury 2000
  10. Culture Club & Boy George – Life

Chart for stowaways – 29 December 2018

Let’s quickly catch up on the last album chart of 2018…

  1. Jean-Michel Jarre – Planet Jarre
  2. Jean-Michel Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity
  3. The Radiophonic Workshop – Possum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  4. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  5. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  6. The Grid – Electric Head
  7. Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
  8. The Prodigy – No Tourists
  9. David Bowie – Glastonbury 2000
  10. Culture Club & Boy George – Life

Albums chart of the year 2018

  1. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  2. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  3. Sparks – Hippopotamus [number 21 in 2017]
  4. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark – The Punishment of Luxury [number 13 in 2017]
  5. The Human League – Secrets [released in 2001, number 170 in 2017]
  6. The Radiophonic Workshop – Possum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  7. Tracey Thorn – Record
  8. David Bowie – Legacy [number 27 in 2016, number 4 in 2017]
  9. Kylie Minogue – Golden
  10. Jean-Michel Jarre – Planet Jarre
  11. Jean-Michel Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity
  12. The Grid – Electric Head
  13. Jon Hopkins – Singularity
  14. Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
  15. The Prodigy – No Tourists
  16. Pink Floyd – The Dark Side of the Moon [released in 1973, number 11 in 2017]
  17. Gorillaz – The Now Now
  18. Goldfrapp – Silver Eye [number 7 in 2017]
  19. Chvrches – Love Is Dead
  20. Culture Club & Boy George – Life

Chart for stowaways – 1 December 2018

Here’s the latest album chart:

  1. The Radiophonic Workshop – Possum (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
  2. The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Re-Imagined)
  3. The Radiophonic Workshop – Burials in Several Earths
  4. The Grid – Electric Head
  5. Jean-Michel Jarre – Equinoxe Infinity
  6. Jean-Michel Jarre – Planet Jarre
  7. Moby – Long Ambients 1: Calm. Sleep.
  8. The Prodigy – No Tourists
  9. Primal Scream – Give Out But Don’t Give Up – Original
  10. Culture Club & Boy George – Life

The Grid – Evolver

Fans of mid-1990s dance music cannot fail to be aware of The Grid‘s third album Evolver, and the huge hit singles that came from it. Famously named in homage to The Beatles‘ Revolver, this is the album where Richard Norris and Soft Cell‘s Dave Ball finally made their impact on the world of dance music.

It opens with Wake Up,

The second track was also the third single, the adorable Rollercoaster,

The huge hit from this album, and probably honestly the only reason most people remember anything about The Grid, was its second single, the joyful banjo-meets-trance track Swamp Thing,

There’s little else here with quite that same level of energy, but that isn’t necessarily a problem. Throb

The big surprise, in many ways, with The Grid is just how different each of their albums was – 1990 debut Electric Head is deliciously electronic pop, with some underground leanings, and 1992’s 456 is a transitory album, with only its final single Crystal Clear really sounding anything like Evolver. Then after a long break, 2008’s Doppelgänger is pure house.

With that in mind, it’s a little surprising just how unchallenging some of this album’s central tracks such as Rise

Some tracks do stand out though, for all of that, and Shapes of Sleep

Higher Peaks has a slightly different mood, sounding a bit more like a self-help tape than anything else we’ve heard up to now. But this is a long album, and it’s easy to get lost in between the hits.

Finally, we get the brilliant Texas Cowboys, released twice, as both the first and last single from this album, hitting number 21 and 17 respectively. The huge sirens, whiplash samples, and vocals are just mesmerising. This is easily the best track on here – it may not have had the novelty appeal of the banjos on Swamp Thing, but it’s a much better piece of music.

Spin Cycle follows, another huge dance piece, this time built around a rippling electric piano arpeggio. Good, but nothing particularly world-changing. In fact, it’s closing track Golden Dawn that offers the first real surprise here – it’s slower, and a bit less manic, except for a reasonably insane operatic lead vocal that eventually turns up halfway through. Leave the CD playing a little longer after the track finishes, and you’ll be treated to an entirely bonkers answerphone message to close the album out. Odd, but strangely enjoyable.

So Evolver is a good album – perhaps not a great album, and definitely one very much of its time – but definitely a good one. It’s undoubtedly The Grid‘s best known work, but is it even their best? We can debate that another time. Either way, if nothing else, if you’re looking for an hour of solid mid-90s dance and trance, this is a pretty good way to fulfill that desire.

You can still find the original release of Evolver at major retailers.

The Grid – Doppelgänger

In 1994, The Grid were at their creative peak – Texas CowboysSwamp Thing, and Rollercoaster were riding high on the charts, and the album Evolver was one of the biggest dance albums of the year. After their singles compilation Music for Dancing the following year, they then promptly disappeared for thirteen years. Their reappearance in 2008 with Doppelgänger was, bluntly, a bit of a disappointment after all the wait. But now it’s ten years old – is it as bad as it seemed at the time?

It opens with 8 Miles from Memphis, an eccentric acid house piece that probably couldn’t get you onto the dance floor if you weren’t already there, but also wouldn’t drive you off it.

A lot of your feeling about this album will be contingent on how you feel about US-style house music, the understated, beatsy type of dance music that uses repetition and sampling to lull you into some kind of dance frenzy. Vibration is typical of this – it’s a pleasant house track, but alongside the likes of Rollercoaster or Diablo, you have to wonder quite where it’s going.

Some tracks are better than others – the subaquatic sound of Pleasure Control works well, whereas the one single, Put Your Hands Together, while occasionally reminiscent of 1990s-era The Grid, turns out to be a bit dull. But whatever the shortcomings of some of the individual tracks, the album as a whole is pretty good actually – Slinker turns up with its fun warping, and Pure Statik appears with more of a dreamy post-disco feel.

A standout track at the halfway point is Mighty Heroik, which sees the legendary Robert Fripp turn up to add his usual wailing, dreamy frippery. For the first time on this album, there are echoes of the past – it reminds me slightly of Floatation from the first album Electric Head – as well as outstanding new sounds. This is what The Grid should be.

The laid back period of this album also brings us Saturday, another pleasant, sweet, largely instrumental piece. Closer is oddly familiar – it sounds like something you might have come across somewhere else, a decade or so earlier. Then Three Floors Above You takes us back to the house tracks we had started with, but with much more of a late night feel.

That is very much the feeling with the latter half of Doppelgänger – after the energetic house of the first half, we’re now into much softer, gentler pieces – Feed Your Mind is pleasantly sweet, and Fools Rush in is actually my favourite track on here, a soft vocal piece that glides along pleasantly for four minutes or so.

Finally, we get the closing track, Be Here with You, and here we actually get a load of “doo wop wop” vocals and harmonising. This isn’t exactly what you might expect of The Grid either, but it’s definitely pleasant.

So Doppelgänger held a lot of surprises, some better than others, and it’s probably fair to say that it wasn’t quite up to the standard of their earlier albums. But it does have something, and it does deserve a listen.

You can find Doppelgänger at all major music retailers.