Monday, June 2, 2014

UK Indie Hits: 1980-89 (No. 6)

I'm counting down my top 50 singles from the golden age of the UK Independent Charts.

6. Scritti Politti - "Jacques Derrida"/"Asylums in Jerusalem"

Other Contenders: There were a few indie chart appearances before becoming a commercial juggernaut beginning with "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" in the spring of '84. The band's first foray into indie-chart territory was the "Four A-Sides" EP in January 1980, and I think "Confidence" was the best of that lot. "The 'Sweetest Girl'" peaked at No. 3 in the fall of '81. "Faithless" made it to No. 2 in the spring of '82. My pick, "Jacques Derrida"/"Asylums in Jerusalem," concludes the run of indie singles. A few of you may be wondering about die-hard fan favorite "Skank Bloc Bologna." That one predates the countdown.

Chart Entry: Aug. 7, 1982

Peak Position: No. 2

Comment: Truthfully, "The 'Sweetest Girl'" should probably be here, but I couldn't resist choosing this double A-side to sneak in a bonus single. As you may have surmised from my occasional series "When the Wife's Away, Scritti Politti Will Play," I'm an unapologetic supporter of almost everything Green Gartside has done... well, maybe not 'Anomie & Bonhomie... but the singles surrounding the full-length debut 'Songs to Remember' hold a special place in my heart.

These two songs, in particular, are dear because it's such a transitional moment. Green is political, intellectual, and the sound still has a bit of that early DIY aesthetic, but there are more than just a few clues of pop brilliance and accessibility too. This is just before Green, as Simon Reynolds once put it, "developed a voice to match the hall-of-mirrors dazzle of his new sound-and-vision: a falsetto that soared and swooned somewhere between man and woman, soul and machine." For those of you old enough to remember, this is also probably the last time it felt like you didn't have to share Scritti Politti with the world. In case you were worried, Mrs. Linear Tracking Lives is in San Francisco. So, I was able to listen to this single today without fear of reprisal.

Buy "Jacques Derrida" and "Asylums in Jerusalem" on
'Songs to Remember' or the best-of compilation 'Absolute.'


Echorich said...

I'm pretty sure Skank Bloc Bologna charted on NME's indie chart, but yeah, 1980 was still truly indie territory as far as the bean counters were concerned...
This is Green at his sardonic, yet personally affected best! Politics, whether governmental or personal were still very important in Mr. Gartside's lyrics and these two of the best.

friend of rachel worth said...

Ive a soft spot for A&B. It has 2 of the best tracks he has done , the gorgeous brushed and the hooktastic tinseltown

Brian said...

If I had to listen to something from A&B, Brushed With Oil, Dusted With Powder would (without a doubt) be my pick. Not sure where I would go after that. Have you been to any of Scritti's recent shows? I'm constantly watching youtube clips. I would almost fly over for that, but that might be the last straw with the Mrs. Ha!

You're the biggest fan I know. I hope you feel secure with this pick. At a point in the countdown where the pool of eligible songs makes it tough... especially the next two slots.

Echorich said...

Yeah FORW, I'm afraid A&B is more of an EP for me. Umm (which has grown on me more over the years and is like a lost track from Provision), Brushed With Oil... and Born To Be. The Ragga and hip hop just left me sidelined.

Echorich said...

There is a wonderful instrumental of Tinsletown by Tribe's Ali Muhammad that I use as an interlude in my SP Playlist. I think some current rappers have used it as a back track recently...

Séamus Duggan said...

A real favourite around here, particularly Jacques Derrida - some of my favourite lines of all time.

Andrew said...

Unsurprisingly the links here are long gone, but I'm wondering whether you'd actually ripped the 7" vinyl version, which has never been released digitally and which I prefer to the album (and subsequent CD) release. If you did, any chance of you popping the link back up please? :)