When I was asked to select my favourite album of all time I shuddered. I can’t lie, I found it a daunting task. I initially compiled a short list of five,’ Marquee Moon’ by Television, ‘Live 1969’ by The Velvet Underground, The Stone Roses' eponymous debut album, ‘Blood On The Tracks’ by Bob Dylan and this one. As my editor can testify this monumental task has consumed six agonising months, and, if the truth were told, I have written up the merits of four of these albums already. It tears me apart to have to dispatch with four of these and set my decision in stone, or hard disk to be precise. It is true however that the more records one acquires the more revered the few special ones become.

The reason for me choosing this particular album over the others is that it crystallised a time in my life when the world seemed full of excitement and to a teenage boy anything was possible through the medium of pop music. Orange Juice in general and this album specifically drew on influences that I was not only aware of but also immersed in. A healthy diet of Motown and the Beatles were always being played in my house by my parents in ample measures. What this album did though was start me off on a musical voyage of excitement and discovery that I’m still embarking on today.

When I first heard this album I had never heard a record so commercial, so scintillating, with melodies so accessible and splendid that I was drawn in instantly. I had read the interviews with both the band and their ‘svengali’ Alan Horne and, as is the wont of an impressionable youth, bought into the whole aesthetic cornerstone of the new pop movement that was Postcard Records. The influences of the Chic Organisation and Andy Warhol’s factory coterie, although unknown to me at the time, seemed intriguing, beguiling and synonymous with youthful hedonism. This aspect was irresistible to me growing up, as I did in the bleak 1970’s where everything closed before 11 o’clock. Growing up within these austere, suburban confines meant the promise of bohemian adventure appealed to my fertile imagination. Orange Juice wanted to gatecrash the charts with their awkward, tense but undeniably bright take on popular music. They wanted to do it any way possible, which meant turning their backs somewhat on punk’s refusal to employ hit squads to break a band into the charts.

I’ve played this album to death over the years and with the much-welcomed release of the album on CD I’ve retired my vinyl copy to the top shelf. I couldn’t hear the wayward vocal eccentricities that people accused Edwyn Collins of, only a young man aching to articulate a love of romance, soul music and yearning. To me he was straining to get the entire gamut of emotions across in a style and nature appropriating his heroes. I could only hear guitars that rang and chimed with resolving splendour, guitar lines that danced and skipped with fluidity across each and every song.

It all sounded so effortless and natural-the songs polished to a fine sheen with splatters of keyboards and a lustre of bold brass that heralded and highlighted the guitar hooks that decorated each song. I have only learnt with hindsight and the knowledge from twenty years of listening to music that in fact I was listening to pop music that was fused with elements of disco beats and guitars, soul lyrics and instrumentation, country and western guitar patterns, jazz chords and punk sensibilities.

With every listen to this mighty album ( and believe me I listened !) some slight nuance or sound came to light. Take for example 1 minute 27 seconds into ‘Consolation Prize’ when you can hear the fingers spring from the guitar strings leaving a pregnant pause so heavy that you feel Edwyn’s heart breaking as he crushingly declares “I’ll be your consolation prize although I know I’ll never be man enough for you!” Or the most charged pause in music as far as I’m concerned, when after 1 minute 45 into ‘Falling and Laughing,’ he sings “All I’m saying is I’m alone” and the guitar sirens in the most delicious run and the drums hammer out a Motown rhythm and the song careers towards the end.

While I’m about it has there ever been a song like ‘In a Nutshell’ to move me to tears and tug at the old heartstrings? To hear a skinny white boy from Glasgow writing and singing a song in the style of Al Green, which he can’t possibly pull off, yet that doesn’t stop him striving for it none the less is incredibly moving. There are moments like that littered all over this marvellous record.

Sure Postcard’s recently released 'Ostrich Churchyard' better represents the Orange Juice sound recorded as it was in two days. It is raw and edgy and a rough diamond. By the time it was released, however ‘You Can’t Hide Your Love Forever’ was already ingrained and had established these versions of the songs as the definitive. It is a glimpse of just how perfect, simple and absolutely gorgeous pop music should and could be.














Related Links:




Commenting On: You Can't Hide Your Love Forever - Favourite Album-Orange Juice








ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment
 


First Previous Next Last