Saturday, January 05, 2008

1001 Greatest Pop Songs Of All Time - #39 - Since Yesterday by Strawberry Switchblade

Alyson: In the sense that pop and pop bands are often fleeting and tuneful reflections of their time (and sometimes, of the technology in the production studio) it's a terrible shame that an endless treasure trove of fascinating stories are never printed or recorded. After all, how many times can you hear about the production of George Martin or the Beatles going to India until the end of time? The interband rivalrys and financial problems and diva like demands of the average two or three hit pop band make for a far more interesting read, but the stories are lost to time and fashion.

Strawberry Switchblade. It's a band that more than any other I will write about, it's Strawberry Switchblade who are the most difficult to explain. The Blade were scottish Punks Jill and Rose, who dressed in a unique and individual style of slashed wedding dresses, eyeliner and ribbon who defied anyone to ridicule them, but at the same time success, crowds and fame scared them (and inflamed the agoraphobia of Jill). A band who could be pop, funk, punk, indie, gothic and folk within one song. An intelligent, self contained band with their own world, but who's own self contained world would end up being their demise once personal relationships died. A band firmly (especially in the case of Rose) committed to the punk ethic (one report said Rose was officially the most committed punk in Glasgow) but who's sole proper hit had an unbelievably beautiful lightness of touch. A band who grew up in a scene of fanzines and rare singles, but who's appearance on Top Of The Tops saw them wreathed in smiles and joy. And a band who are only remembered for marginal success, but who's appearance on the cover of Smash Hits relegated the magazines coverage of the studio recording of the Live Aid single to a marginal mention at the bottom of the page. A band with two disparate personalities, one dark, hard and tough, one soft, shy and vulnerable. And that's just one casual paragraph, there was a lot more besides. Amazing how a band with one "hit", can be infinitely more interesting than Westlife with 200.

Since Yesterday, the "hit", came out in 1985, but it isn't drenched in anything production wise that screams 1980s. There are no overbearing synth drums, no dated production, nothing that would date the song or cheapen the melody with fancy of the day tricks. Instead, the production is beautiful, simple, strange and fragile. The song is defiant but timid, nervous but strong, happy and sad, all within one heartstoppingly wonderful package. The X factor is the girls bittersweet vocal chemistry, as they harmonise wonderfully well, around the subtly strange electro pop backing track. It's both hauntingly beautiful and sparse and wonderfully upbeat at the same time. It's absolutely and totally perfect and hasn't dated a day in 22 years.

The thing is, with The Blade, their one hit was the equal of about 20 of a vastly inferior band, and their story is a proud and fascinating one to tell. However, woe betide anyone seeking to remix it....


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love your've got me hooked on strawberry switchblade and shampoo :]

9:00 PM  

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