Wednesday, 18 July 2018

25 Years Ago This Week: July 18, 1993

In between all the reggae, grunge, Eurodance and rock remakes that defined 1993, moments of pure pop were few and far between. Thank goodness, then, for the return of my favourite group (although they're techically a duo) of all time.

So ask yourself now what were Pet Shop Boys thinking with this look?

Back after a two-year absence, the synthpop pair released the first in a string of singles that dominated my year-end top 100. And they enjoyed some of their best chart action in years in Australia.

ARIA Top 50 Singles and Albums Chart - week ending July 18, 1993

Enjoying another week at number 1 this week in 1993 was UB40, as "(I Can't Help) Falling In Love With You" stayed on top for a second week.


Off The Chart
Number 87 "Here I Go / Hard Drugs" by The Screaming Jets
Peak: number 63
The yo-yoing fortunes of The Screaming Jets continued with this double header from second album Tear Of Thought placing them back in the 60s.

Number 86 "Elated" by Euphoria
Peak: number 66
They started their career with three consecutive top 10 hits (including two number 1s), but local dance act Euphoria hit a brick wall with this brand new single - the first featuring vocals by Holly Garnett's replacement, Jodie (later Jodhi) Meares.

Number 79 "Persuasion" by Tim Finn
Peak: number 62
He ended his brief tenure in Crowded House to return to his solo career, but this lead single from Before & After failed to take Tim Finn back into the top 50, despite being quite a pleasant track.  


Single Of The Week
"My Country" by Midnight Oil
Peak: number 52
Two years earlier, "One Country" from Blue Sky Mining had peaked just outside the top 50, and the similarly named "My Country" from Earth And Sun And Moon reached one spot lower. It was a change of fortunes for Midnight Oil, who'd made a habit of reaching the top 50 with more than one single per album previously. According to Peter Garrett, it's "a song about how the flag is often used to cover a multitude of sins and crimes - and how people hide behind the patriotism."




New Entries
Number 49 "Burnt Sienna" by Margaret Urlich
Peak: number 33
The previous two poppy singles from her second album, Chameleon Dreams, had missed the mark, and so Margaret Urlich changed tack for her next release, going with bluesy (or is it jazzy?) ballad "Burnt Sienna" - a song about as far removed from the likes of "Number One (Remember When We Danced All Night)" and "Escaping" as you could get without changing genre altogether. And, I'm reliably informed, it was also a very personal song for Margaret, written about her sister's suicide. The strategy of trying something new (and possibly some price discounting) worked, with "Burnt Sienna" taking her back into the top 40.




Number 46 "Can You Forgive Her?" by Pet Shop Boys
Peak: number 17
Last seen on the ARIA top 50 with their reinvention of U2's "Where The Streets Have No Name" - their three subsequent singles missed the top 100 completely - Pet Shop Boys made a welcome return after taking 1992 off. They did so with the first taste of fifth album Very, which I'd give a hammering over the next year, so much so that other staff members at the department store where I worked on weekends tried to have the music department banned from playing it. They weren't successful.
"Can You Forgive Her?" was a great return, and with its synth blasts and big beats, was a major departure from previous album Behaviour and more in line with some of their earlier releases. As lyrically articulate as ever, the song told the story of a guy whose girlfriend was getting annoyed because he seemed to be in love with a childhood friend, and the implication that the friend was also male was mirrored by an increased openness by the duo about their sexuality in the '90s - a fact no one could have been mistaken about given they had in store for us next...




Number 45 "Voice Of Freedom" by Freedom Williams
Peak: number 41
He'd been one of the voices of C+C Music Factory - and properly credited, too! - but rapper Freedom Williams didn't achieve the same level of success with his first venture into solo territory. Based around a sample of George Michael's "Freedom 90", "Voice Of Freedom" sounded like the kind of thing Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch would've released a couple of years earlier.




Number 40 "I'm So Into You" by SWV
Peak: number 40
While fellow new jill swing trio Jade had missed the top 50 earlier in the year, Sisters With Voices managed to land a minor hit with this former US top 10 smash. Comprised of Cheryl "Coko" Clemons, future Survivor contestant Tamara "Taj" George and Leanne "Lelee" Lyons, SWV would fare much better with a remix of the song that had preceded "I'm So Into You": debut single "Right Here".




Number 39 "Is It...?" by Melissa
Peak: number 39
It wasn't a great week for Australian pop acts associated with E Street. Like Euphoria, Melissa Tkautz's music career had been given a major boost by the recently defunct primetime soap in which she had also starred. Next to be seen on the shortlived series Paradise Beach, Melissa released this brand new song, presumably intended as the lead single from a second album. But when "Is It...?" stalled right here at number 39, so too did her singing career. Unlike "Elated", which I quite liked, I can see why "Is It...?" didn't do any better - as well as the downturn in pop in 1993, it just wasn't as good a song as the likes of "Read My Lips" or "Sexy (Is The Word)".




Number 36 "Sweat (A La La La La Long)" by Inner Circle
Peak: number 2
It really was like waiting for buses with reggae hits - you wait for one to come along for ages (if that's your thing) and then a bunch of them arrive at once. Following Snow, UB40 and Shaggy into the ARIA singles chart was this long-awaited (for them) breakthrough hit by Jamaica's Inner Circle, who'd been making music since the late '60s. One of those songs I knew would wear out its welcome very quickly, "Sweat..." spent a la la la la long time on the top 50 - half a year exactly, by which time I was well and truly sick of it. Despite being a massive worldwide hit, no attention was given at the time to the questionable nature of these lyrics: "Girl I'm gonna make you sweat/Sweat 'til you can't sweat no more/And if you cry out/I'm gonna push it, push it some more."




Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1993 (updated weekly):





Next week: two long-forgotten follow-ups to a couple of the year's biggest singles by male performers widely considered to be one-hit wonders. Plus, the latest comeback by one of the biggest male artists of the '80s.


Back to: Jul 11, 1993 <<<<<<<<<<<<<  GO  >>>>>>>>>>>>> Forward to: Jul 25, 1993


1 comment:

  1. I never heard 'Elated' at the time, and possibly didn't hear 'Persuasion'. which is nice but I don't remember it.

    'My Country' was one of the better Midnight Oil singles from this era, I think, mostly due to that piano 'riff'.

    I found 'Burnt Sienna' a bit of a yawn until learning of the meaning of the song. It's quite sad. Adding to the mystery of its 'success', rage never aired the video until its final week or two in the top 60, and despite being tagged as a 'Hit Prediction' on the Video Hits-sourced upload, that was recorded after it had fallen out of the top 50, I'm pretty sure. Maybe the video wasn't yet ready despite the "promotional push" it received, including, I'm pretty sure from memory, a radio ad for the single (at least in Melbourne).

    The Pet Shop Boys, Freedom Williams, and Melissa videos remind me, it was around this time I switched from religiously watching the top 60 live on rage to, occasionally, getting up around midnight (!) to watch the Friday night new releases segment live instead until about 4-4:30am, then I'd go back to bed. Yes, that's how I spent my mid-teens... being zombified on Saturday.

    Not that it's that good, but it seemed like 'Voice of Freedom' was going to be a big hit, with the promotional push it seemed to receive. I'm fairly certain there was a Video Hits competition tie-in, too.

    Of the limited number of SWV tracks I've heard, I like 'I'm So Into You' the best. It seemed to hang around for a while in the lower region of the charts.

    'Is It...?' was reviewed as 'Is It My Body?' in Smash Hits several weeks before its release. The shortened title was a bit silly.

    While I wouldn't say I hate 'Sweat...', it's not something I'd willingly listen to, either; and, as you say, grew irritating quickly. And yes, the lyrics are a bit... odd. The song seemed inescapable for months - like so many 'bad' songs from '93, and even ended up being played at my school's year 12 'muck up' day performance that year.

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