25 Years Ago This Week: June 25, 1995
Musical taste is a funny thing - one person's ear candy is another's noise pollution. And it always amuses me when I get a sudden influx of likes on the Chart Beats Facebook page and then a gradual drop-off of a handful of those as people realise exactly what type of music I celebrate. It ain't called A Journey Through Pop for nothing.
The two highest entries on the ARIA singles chart from this week in 1995 demonstrate that quite effectively. One was the return of a female pop star that music snobs hate, and the other was the top 50 debut of a beloved independent Australian band - a group I didn't have a lot of time for.
A song that seemed universally liked continued its reign at number 1 this week in 1995. "Mouth" by Merril Bainbridge stayed on top for a sixth week.
Off The Chart
Peak: number 58
Seems only techno tracks that had novelty hooks or were remakes could make the top 50, with this latest release by the Scottish act falling just short despite spending 11 weeks in the top 100.
Number 51 "Immortality" by Pearl Jam
Peak: number 51
Coming even closer to being a top 50 hit was the third and final single from Pearl Jam's Vitalogy album. They'd be back before long with their biggest hit to date.
Number 49 "Somebody's Crying" by Chris Isaak
Peak: number 5
Speaking of biggest hits to date, this lead single from Chris Isaak's fifth album, Forever Blue, outperformed "Wicked Game" and "Blue Hotel" to become his highest charting single up until this point. And by going top 5, it's a chart high he has been unable to beat since. Written following a painful break-up, the song is deceptively upbeat - just as the lyrics don't give away the fact that the somebody who is crying is Chris himself until the chorus.
Number 42 "Milkman's Son" by Ugly Kid Joe
Peak: number 40
Next up, a band whose days of scoring big hits were behind them. This lead single from the American band's second album, Menace To Sobriety, would also prove to be Ugly Kid Joe's final top 50 appearance.
Number 35 "Freek'N You" by Jodeci
Peak: number 23
They'd been enjoying success in the US since 1991, but this lead single from third album The Show, The After Party, The Hotel was the first to gain traction in Australia for Jodeci. Comprised of two sets of brothers - Devanté Swing (real name: Donald DeGrate Jr) and Mr Dalvin (Dalvin DeGrate), and K-Ci (Cedric Hailey) and JoJo (Joel Hailey) - the R&B quartet's breakthrough hit was one of those slow jams that exudes sex (see also: "Freak Me", "Pony"). Although "Freek'N You" was Jodeci's only chart action in Australia, it certainly spurred interest in their back catalogue - at least in the record store where I worked casually at the time. We were constantly selling out of and reordering their three albums.
Number 25 "My Love Is For Real" by Paula Abdul
Peak: number 7
Three years after "Will You Marry Me?" became the final top 100 single from her second album, Vibeology, Paula Abdul returned to the chart with the song that would become only her third ARIA top 10 hit - compared to a run of eight consecutive top 10s (including six number 1s) in the US from her first two albums. As it would turn out, "My Love Is For Real' did considerably better here than in America or the UK, peaking at number 28 in both countries. Something of a new sound for Paula, the lead single from third album Head Over Heels boasted trip hop influences, guest vocals from Ofra Haza and a sitar - a gear shift that was reminiscent of Kylie Minogue's "Confide In Me". While I liked the original version of "My Love Is For Real", I was also a fan of the piano house remix by current chart stars Strike, who would go on to release their own cover of the song in 1996. Unfortunately, this would be Paula's last hit in Australia, with the next two singles from Head Over Heels missing the top 50.
Peak: number 23
If this was a different blog, I would make a much bigger deal about the chart debut of this song, since it was one of the most noteworthy releases of the year. But I'll leave that to Double J. The commercial breakthrough for the band whose name is an acronym for This Is Serious Mum, "(He'll Never Be An) Ol' Man River" gained a lot of attention due to its fairly brusque lyrical reference to the 1993 death of actor River Phoenix. A Triple J favourite - it was number 9 in 1995's Hottest 100 - the song was taken from the album Machiavelli And The Four Seasons, which had spent two weeks inside the top 10 earlier in June. And while I could see why TISM, who had been around since the early '80s, had developed such a huge following, I couldn't get into the musical style of their satire.
Listen to this week's new entries on my Spotify playlist of all the top 50 hits from 1995 (updated weekly):
Next week: one of the decade's ultimate one-hit wonders (one number 1 hit, no other top 50 appearances).