Friday, January 11, 2008

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #43 - Vacation by Vitamin C

Claire: If the magical period of the late 90s goes down as the last great period for shiny plastic pop, the last time labels invested in proper pop music without sticking in a pointless Timbaland beat or a tacked on rap verse, at least our pop went out with a bang. Strange as it may seem, the ultimate soundtrack to this glorious Pre-Idol era was the soundtrack to a cartoon that still makes absolutely no sense. The soundtrack to Pokemon The Movie might have contained the odd duff time filler (Blessd Union Of Souls anyone?) but the rest of the line up? Britney. B*Witched. M2M. Emma Bunton. Christina Aguilera. Billie Piper. N-Sync. And more, truly ensuring that chronologers of the late 90s pop scene need a copy of the Pokemon soundtrack to truly relive the era, of course, even if that gives money to the most baffling cartoon rubbish (and the movie, incidentally, was apparently SO confusing, it killed the franchise, so consider how odd it must have been) of all time.

Oddly, the alumni of late 90s Pop are gathered together in one place and then comprehensively outshone on the soundtrack by the greatest piece of pop you never heard made by a relatively minor pop name. Having attacked Ricki Lake in Hairspray, Colleen Fitzpatrick pottered around the fringes of (ugh) indie respectability with Eve's Plum, but her correct desire to be Debbie Harry shone through even then. Citing Blondie as an influence in every single interview was another positive step. However, recast as Vitamin C, mystifyingly her only hit was the dreck that is Graduation (Friends Forever), sloppy American high school rubbish akin to listening to that musical that boy with no penis made last year that made her rich but did nothing else. A shame because her work otherwise is nigh on peerless. The Itch, her indie baiting cover of Last Nite, the vastly under-rated Smile, all stayed shamelessly to the ideals of plastic pop, and best of all, she truly craved fame and would do anything to get it. Truly, the best kind of pop star. Alas, she never quite got there, as much as anything, for burying her best cut in the midst of a poorly purchased movie tie in.

Vacation is without doubt one of the greatest pop songs of all time. Based around the pop theory that while a guitar in it's place is sometimes OK, a surf guitar is much better, there is so much to enjoy. Whether it's the rampaging child like chorus, the breakdown in the middle with as much old skool scratching as your heart could desire with organ madness mixed in, the burnt through pop desire to escape the mundane of every day life and head to the beach of the lyrics, this is classic over the top throw in the kitchen sink pop production, in the best possible sense. The vibrancy and fun throughout the song propel it into top league of pop perfection.

This is pure 100% pleasure. If anyone could resist a homage to the faux surf parties of the 50s, they have a heart of stone. However, if you want a homage to "everyone leaves school and they'll get along forever", well, for some reason, THAT was a single...gee...can't figure out what she never made it to the big time...


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