Part one of an occasional series where I shine the spotlight of success on a pop gem hitherto left cowering in the shadows like an unloved step-child.
1. The Other Two – Selfish
Let me say first that I’m a HUGE fan of very plain, slightly bored, English girl pop voices. There’s just something about a heartfelt lyric delivered by someone who sounds as if they’ve just been asked to pick a pubic hair out of the Pick and Mix for the tenth time that affects me in a way that I haven’t invented a word for yet. Bananarama, obviously, illustrates this type of singing perfectly. See also Sarah Cracknell from out of Saint Etienne. Technically in tune, slightly dispassionate, never histrionic – for me these are the key ingredients in the perfect pop vocal.
Which brings us neatly to 1993’s Selfish, a top 50 smash from Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert, otherwise known as the other two in New Order, otherwise known as The Other Two. Clearly, nothing if not self-aware. Despite looking like a couple waiting to be cast in The Everything But the Girl Story, they managed a brief moment of glittering pop splendour with this shimmering, electronic bit of fluff about, presumably, a selfish person. I’ve never quite got around to analysing the lyrics, frankly – instead, this is one of my ‘bounce down the street’ records. I like to time it so that I shut the front door at 0:28, just as the beat kicks in, and then I can pad down the road thinking how nice everything looks in the sunshine. And what’s my favourite thing about this record? Why, it’s the vocal of course. Gillian – more used to prodding a keyboard while looking faintly embarassed on Top of the Pops – proves to be the undiscovered fifth ‘Ram, with an ‘ahem-ahem-excuse me while I sing in assembly’ set of chops.
Alas, the record-buying public found little to get worked up about, preferring to bestow chart honours upon UB40 with their dreadful (apart from the quite-good split second after the intro) cover of (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You. Bad nineties.
Actual chart position: 46
Deserved chart position: 8