We’ve previously done playlists at the end of the year celebrating our favourite tunes of the past 12 months but this time we’ve decided mid-year we’d go back a bit further. Just because time moves on doesn’t mean music turns bad like a rotten apple. Of course, we may learn that the next-big-thing actually didn’t have anything more than that one song you liked, or as you grow up you may realise that the childhood hero you once worshiped is actually quite creepy, so there may be some subconscious vetting going on, but here our 3 writers pick 10 songs each from the year 1996:
Una’s turn first! I’m burying myself in Britpop memories and anyone tarnished with that brush. The usual rules apply so only 1 song per artist, but to be honest it was difficult to whittle it down to just 10 songs. Great times…
Don’t Look Back In Anger – Oasis
Charmless Man – Blur
Hey Dude – Kula Shaker
Carnt Be Trusted – The Bluetones
I might be lynched for not choosing ‘A Slight Return’ but it’s my list so *sticks tongue out*
And if you didn’t know it already, trust me – this is a tune.
Beautiful Ones – Suede
The video is a simple idea and has been done before, but it is perfectly executed here. Elements of an Edgar Wright movie, actually. But what an awesome song, it still sounds new.
Female of the Species – Space
I remember listening to this whilst playing Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble! (SNES). Not that it matters…
Wide Open Space – Mansun
Something 4 the Weekend – Super Furry Animals
I prefer the speeded up album version but this is still good. Great flavour of what SFA are all about.
She Said – Longpigs
Whatever happened to this Sheffield band? They packed a punch, man.
Oh Yeah – Ash
OK, so I love music too blah, blah, blah, but I’ve gone with a theme of remembering how I felt living through 1996 with my selection of songs, the events that stuck with me and as usual the movies I watched at the time. Again, same rules so no repeat of the artists of my co-writers but that still didn’t make this easy, it was a great year for music.
The Man Who Sold The World – Nirvana
From the MTV Unplugged show – just when you thought it was impossible to do a decent cover of David Bowie…
2 Become 1 – Spice Girls
How could we claim to write about pop culture and not include the Spice Girls? OK so everyone knows it’s not their best (that’s ‘Spice Up Your Life’, obvs) but it’s a hell of a lot better than Wannabe. Christmas Number 1 in the UK and a strong presence on the Billboard Hot 100, it has sexual innuendo and a time-lapse video in New York. This was a sign that they were not going away.
Real Love – The Beatles
The Beatles’ Anthology is a wonderful collection of rarities, but the most exciting element was the inclusion of 2 new tracks. Following John Lennon’s death in 1980, there were some demo tapes from home recordings which had never made it to a studio album. The 3 remaining Beatle’s got back together for one last session. It’s been said they treated it much like “John had gone out for lunch” in order to get through the experience, but what a rewarding result.
Love Rollercoaster – Red Hot Chili Peppers
The song is possibly outdone by it’s video. Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head everybody:
Lust for Life – Iggy Pop
So much better than Born Slippy which people seem to associate more with Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. I could have gone for Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, but I’ve picked the drug-addled shirtless-wonder Iggy Pop who really delivers with this one.
Lovefool -The Cardigans
This will forever make me feel like a teenager at my school disco. It plays on all of your emotions and considering it was picked up for use on Baz Luhrmann’s stylish modern take on Romeo + Juliet, I guess I’m not the only one.
Swallowed – Bush
They were English, but looked American. That combination really appealed to me at the time and still stands true today, this had a strong presence on MTV.
I Ain’t Mad at Cha – 2Pac feat. Danny Boy
A very good song, at the peak of his powers and the music video depicted him as an angel. How ironic that later that very same year Tupac Shakur would be shot dead at just 25.
6 Underground – Sneaker Pimps
This was actually on the soundtrack for the terrible silver screen version of 1960’s TV show The Avengers. What a mis-match that turned out to be.
Virtual Insanity – Jamiroquai
Possibly most remembered for the very cool video, but a very cool song too.
My name is Alix. Unlike the clowns before me, I have immaculate taste and like music and this is what inspired me when selecting my favourite songs from 1996. Songs that I enjoyed back in the day but also stand the test of time.
Novocaine For The Soul – Eels
Late Night Radio – David Gray
E-Bow The Letter – R.E.M.
Devil’s Haircut – Beck
Three Lions (Football’s Coming Home) – Baddiel & Skinner & Lightning Seeds
A typical pop song for the English national football team that still makes the hairs stand up. The tournament was taking place on home soil, the home of football if you will, for the first time since they won the World Cup in ’66. It was a perfect, long hot summer. The song was so easy to enjoy and to sing on the terraces. I love Baddiel & Skinner. I love The Lightning Seeds. The team played well, full of character (Gazza, anyone?) and deserved their place in the semi finals. They should have won it. High emotion. Even now.
Walkaway – Cast
Forgive me for another song inspired by the football that year. But there’s real personal sentiment in this choice too.
Nancy Boy – Placebo
Stupid Girl – Garbage
There’s something epic about the sound to this. It’s the beat in the intro. I always felt like it was cinematic. The structure of the song alone, but then the US video to promote it too.
Setting Sun – The Chemical Brothers featuring Noel Gallagher
The Fun Lovin’ Criminal – Fun Lovin’ Criminals
Credit to Joni talking about the Anglo-American thing as it’s present here and I remember being aware of it at the time. I don’t think they were ever that big in America but they were so over-the-top New York and it really works in their favour. As the song suggests they didn’t take themselves too seriously and there’s something very English about that.