Ranking #2 singles, UK edition: 1995-1996

During one of the most laddish eras in English pop music, I took sides because the young are the audience for music press manipulations. 1994=1996 was peak Select and Q reading for Young Adult Soto, a three-year period when enthusiasms obscured sexual development. In the sorry case of les frères Gallagher the expression of enthusiasm overcame development, sexual and musical. Attitudes in search of any welcome hint of structural incoherence, “Roll With It” and especially “Wonderwall” present themselves as such impeccably realized examples of formalism that Liam Gallagher’s adolescent sneer is their only X-factor (I level similar criticism at The Beatles’ TM “Free as a Bird,” with George Harrison’s harsh guitar break as its moment of humanity). At least the swishy synth backdrops of Pulp’s two consecutive #2s hearken back to New Pop, a more sexually and musically ambivalent era. Gimme The Mike Flowers Pop; the lounge lizard revival’s requirements at least tugged at Noel Gallagher’s melody.

This period belongs to jams like “Born Slippy” and N-Trance’s pair of hits, which earned daytime Miami airplay alongside the global smash “Children,” the Robert Miles track I always found gooey but will promote because context rules. U2 were never thrilling or kissable again. Annie Lennox’s “No More ‘I Love You’s'” is as impressive a re-imagining of a non-entity as Mike Flowers’.

The Hague

Oasis – Wonderwall
Robbie Williams – Freedom

Meh

The Beatles – Free As a Bird
Fugees – No Woman, No Cry
Oasis – Roll With It
Def Leppard – When Love & Hate Collide
Meat Loaf – I’d Lie for You (And That’s the Truth)
East 17 featuring Gabrielle – If You Ever
Queen – Heaven for Everyone
Peter Andre featuring Bubbler Ranx – Mysterious Girl
Kula Shaker – Hey Dude

Sound, Solid

George Michael – Spinning the Wheel
Los Del Rio – Macarena
Warren G ft. Adina Howard – What’s Love Got to Do With It
The Bluetones – Slight Return
Supergrass – Alright
Boyzone – Father and Son
3T ft. Michael Jackson – Why
N-Trance – Stayin’ Alive
The Mike Flowers Pop – Wonderwall
3T – Anything
Mark Snow – The X-Files

Good to Great

Underworld – Born Slippy .NUXX
Pulp – Common People
Robert Miles – Children
Alex Party – Don’t Give Me Your Life
Manic Street Preachers – A Design for Life
Annie Lennox – No More “I Love You’s”
Toni Braxton – Un-Break My Heart
N-Trance – Set You Free
Pulp – Mis-Shapes/Sorted for E’s & Wizz
U2 – Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
Perez ‘Prez’ Prado & His Orchestra – Guaglione

4 thoughts on “Ranking #2 singles, UK edition: 1995-1996

  1. “Libraries gave us power” except to the Gallaghers. They didn’t need them. I don’t know “Children” and with that title I’m afraid I will.

  2. I’m with you on Wonderghoul. One of the few songs to cause me active irritation whenever it’s on even in the background – which unfortunately in the UK is a hell of a lot.

  3. Pulp tower over this list of [mostly] unheard music. The apex of this decade, and almost everything since, was “Common People.” Unfortunately, I did near “No More I Love You’s…” once, before getting rid of that CD! Give me the Walker Brothers-meets-Cocteau Twins of The Lover Speaks’ original any minute of the day!

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