1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #46 - Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and The Waves
Alyson: I've never been able to understand the shame that some reviewers seem to feel towards happy music. As most rock critics sit in judgement of bubblegum pop and look down their nose at the ability to create something with the ability to uplift, so mere "pop" and the ability to create great infectious tunes is not often analyzed. The fact is, the line between ringtone novelty and genuinely affecting pop tune is a fine one sometimes, and it takes a genuine effort to make a magical landmark pop moment. It's an under-appreciated skill, and one that hopefully this list will go some way to address.
Katrina and The Waves, for one, got it absolutely spot on one spectacular time. A driving new wave band who built up a fan base throughout Canada, and who would later fall apart through infighting and drugs, had the skill to make a song of sheer relentless optimism, and still retain their so called credibility. That their moment in the sunshine was so brief is a shame, as they worked long and hard to get to a certain point in their career. However, rarely, their one big hit was their best song, and it was genuinely difficult to see just how they could top a song of such absolute perfection at any other point in their musical career.
Walking On Sunshine, a song surely no-one on the planet could hate, is absolute bubblegum, cheerful irrestible sunshine froth. Despite repeated playings across the years, it still retains all of it's wide eyed delirious charm. A re-worked version of an earlier minor hit in Canada, it's the ultimate in feel good musical fun. It also has the benefit of one of the 1980s greatest, most relentless hooks, and one of musics greatest ever outros. Written with absolute precision by former Soft Boy Kimberley Rew, the joyous way that the song ends has more charm and magic than the collected works of every tired old "classic rock" song put together. Katrina almost becomes possessed by the songs final moments. Without a single doubt, this is optimism made tangible, magic on record, delightful and perfect.
It's still the happiest, least goth song of all time - bonus points for that...