NOW PLAYING: 'LAID' BY JAMES...
It is conventional wisdom to put your biggest and best songs at the start or an album to hoik the listener in, James didn’t put their biggest but definitely stuck one of their very best first.
The album starts with the quiet, brooding and utterly stunning ‘Out To Get You’. The band hit their stride with the next track, ‘Sometimes’, a brilliantly energetic track with more than a whiff of 80s U2 about it.
To me, the whole album feels like it could have been released by Bono and his mates, maybe this is because Brian Eno was fiddling with the knobs and he had done such a good job in the past for U2.
I’ll admit that I didn’t get this album when I first bought it in 1993, it felt too grown up, like some of the wackiness and fun had gone. 30 years later I’d say it is probably their most accomplished record.
‘Dream Thrum’ and ‘One Of The Three’ were too heavy for me back then, who needs to hear songs about British hostages in Lebanon when you are 20 and just want to party?
The maudlin isn’t confined to those two songs, ‘Five-O’ is about ageing and death, ‘P.S.’ is a dark tale about a disintegrating relationship and the creepy ‘Lullaby’ is about physical abuse.
Thankfully, there are some more uplifting tracks, none more so than ‘Say Something’ which is one of my absolute favourite James tracks. A joyous song about first love that borders Brit Pop levels of brightness.
Apparently, the band was planning to tweak the lyrics of ‘Low Low Low’ so it could be used as the official song for the England team at World Cup 94. Unfortunately, we didn’t qualify so we will never know if ‘World In Motion’ would have had serious competition!!!
The title track is probably the one you all know, especially after it went stratospheric by being featured in American Pie a few years later. It is a glorious ode to lust.
This is another National Record Day release and comes on this beautiful, transparent red double vinyl. If you fancy a copy it is available online for about £40.
Tracks To Try: Any of them.