Saturday, January 12, 2008

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #44 - Eurodisco by Bis

Alyson: In the truest sense, ridicule really isn't anything to afraid of. Given everyone cops it at some point in a self important music media, a band that you feel passionately about one way or another is surely a good thing. Ardal O'Hanlon used to say the third Oasis album acted like a cleaner for his CD player since after listening to it, every album he owned sounded better. After all, without a violent hatred of Creed, would you really appreciate majestic perfect pop? Without the slappable face of yer man from Nickelback, would you really appreciate, say, Into the Groove? Given the caution shown by say nothing pop stars, it's a shame controversy and creating music that actually causes opinion is almost dying out in radio land.

Scot poppers Bis, for instance, set themselves up as a love them or loathe them musical act by singing about Sweetshops and Kids in a bratty bubblepunk way without a care in the world, twenty somethings with the carefee attitude of ten year olds, and then appearing on Top Of The Pops before technically they were signed (the first band to do so). To their fans though, who showered them with immediate devotion, their audacious energy and tuneful shouting was wonderful and childlike and of course it was sniffed at by snobby music critics. However, with 1999s "Social Dancing" album (one of the 90s best albums), the punk discord and railing against tuneless techno and faceless dance, combined with stunning pop and disco tunes, was a mature, perfect revelation, designed to move head and heart. The best song you never heard is future list induction Listen Up, and having glammed up lead singer Manda Rin - as well as turning her into a singer rather than a shouter - and beefed up the production budget, mega stardom should have been theirs. Alas, it was not to be, as you got the feeling they always knew deep down. Still, at one point they had the fastest selling foreign album for a foreign act in Japanese history, so someone out there was listening. This is the nation that embraced Shampoo as well, so they seem to be onto something over there...

Lead single from Social Dancing, the late 1998 single Eurodisco, is a revelation in more ways than one. Not just tunefully, with a throbbing bass line and an incessant nagging beat that's perfect to dance to. But lyrically, tearing into the very genre the tune comes from, dancefloor rooted disco, the song makes you think if you take the time to stop and listen to the lyrics - and tearing into disco with a disco song is the kind of conundrum rock critics lose their hair over. Whatever. Eurodisco is fabulous fun, mixed with a world weary and unique Scottish brand of tired cynicism. No wonder it didn't sell, just describing how pop this sweet can also be so tart is tough enough, let alone selling it to the public. A band supposedly so dumb made one of the cleverest albums of the last decade. Figure that one out rock critics...

This is majestic. Lest we forget.


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