25 Years Ago This Week: October 15, 1995
When you're a fan of a singer or group, it can be a huge disappointment when they release something you don't like. Sometimes it's music that's just not as good as their previous efforts, while at other times, it's a move away from what they've done in the past.
This week in 1995, an Australian singer who had provided me with some of my favourite pop moments of the previous eight years took a very dark turn in her career. And while it wasn't for me, I could completely understand why she released something so different — and it certainly paid off.
At the top of the ARIA singles chart this week in 1995, N-Trance were the unexpected beneficiaries of the overwhelming demand for "Gangsta's Paradise". Coolio's soundtrack hit fell from last week's number 5 debut to number 16 while his local record company struggled to keep up with demand for the song, allowing the UK dance act's update of "Stayin' Alive" to sneak in a week at number 1.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 95
Released back in August, this follow-up to "More Human Than Human" received a boost thanks to the band touring Australia and an accompanying five-track tour edition of the single being issued.
Number 90 "I Could Fall In Love" by Selena
Peak: number 60
This was the only Australian top 100 appearance by the late singer, who had been murdered in March 1995. Taken from posthumous album Dreaming Of You, which had been planned as her crossover from the Latin market, the song had more poignancy given the circumstances surrounding its release, although I always preferred the title track.
Number 72 Frogstamp by Silverpram
Peak: number 72
Peak: number 7
Joining Brandy and Aaliyah in the ranks of mononymed teenager R&B singers, Monica was approaching her 15th birthday when this debut single took her into the ARIA top 10 and peaked at number 2 in the US. Co-written by Dallas Austin, "Don't Take It Personal..." ended up with a massive credits list thanks to its samples (and samples that feature samples).
Number 39 "Drugs" by Ammonia
Peak: number 32
Two earlier EPs had generated some buzz around this new Australian band, who were signed to the same label as Silverchair, but up until now, top 50 success had eluded them. That changed with the first single from debut album Mint 400, which was released this week in 1995. "Drugs" slotted in easily to the post-grunge sound, but Ammonia were never able to match the chart performance of this song.
Number 38 "As I Lay Me Down" by Sophie B Hawkins
Peak: number 7
Here's someone who was able to match her earlier success... down to the chart position. Three years earlier, Sophie B Hawkins' debut single, "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover" had reached number 7 on the ARIA chart, but since then, the American singer/songwriter hadn't been able to make it back into the top 100. Not even with "Right Beside You", the lead single from second album Whaler, which really deserved much better (and would get a second chance in the coming months). Sophie's chart drought broke thanks to this song, a more delicate track than "Damn..." that would pop up in both film Now And Then and TV series Party Of Five in 1995, and feature in the pilot for Dawson's Creek in a few years' time.
Peak: number 29
After placing three singles in the 40s from previous album Black Sunday, hip-hop group Cypress Hill took things up a level with this lead single from III: Temples Of Boom. Their biggest hit in Australia, "Throw Your Set In The Air" caused a fight between Cypress Hill and Ice Cube, with the former claiming the latter had asked permission to sample the track. Although Cypress Hill refused, they felt Ice Cube's "Friday" sounded pretty similar anyway.
Peak: number 2
First thing first: this single made a lot of sense to me. I could see why Kylie Minogue would jump at the chance to work with someone like Nick Cave (even if her team weren't that into the idea), given her first steps into a more experimental direction with her self-titled 1994 album. I didn't necessarily understand why Nick would team up with Kylie, unless it was for purely cynical commercial reasons — but that didn't really seem his style. Since then, I've read about how he had genuinely wanted to collaborate with her for years and wrote "Where The Wild Roses Grow" with her in mind.
That all said, I really didn't like "Where The Wild Roses Grow". (Hands up if you're surprised to learn this.) Too dark, too dour, too depressing. Which I know is the point, and which is exactly why it worked — it was like nothing else around. And the novelty factor of having a pop princess like Kylie singing with merchant of misery Nick made people sit up and take notice, then rush out and buy it, as the song's number 2 debut demonstrates.
The lead single from Nick Cave And The Bad Seed's ninth album, Murder Ballads, it was inspired by "Down In The Willow Garden", another murderous tale of a man wooing a woman and then knocking her off near a river. So well received was the duet that it won three ARIA Awards: Single Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and, somewhat bizarrely, Best Pop Release. The song also gave Kylie's detractors pause for thought and completely threw out the rule book for what her music career could be, something she would capitalise on with her next album.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: another dance track wreaking havoc on a well-known song, plus some much more interesting action off the chart.
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