Thursday, April 30, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 57)

57. "Laid"
Artist: James
Year: 1993

If you're a fan of the Manchester band, this choice is going to feel uninspired and downright pedestrian. In my defense, without hearing this one I'm not sure I would have become a fan until more recent times with the advent of the Vinyl Villain's singles series. Prior to "Laid," I only knew "Ya Ho" and "What For" from Sire's late-'80s 'Just Say Yes' compilations. Frankly, these songs didn't make me run out and buy James' albums. In the early '90s, the band had a couple of minor hits in America with "Sit Down" and "Born of Frustration," but I somehow missed these completely and wouldn't hear them until I began digging after hearing "Laid" in 1993.

The song had everything the kids could want, including filthy lyrics, catchy jangle and short running time. The censors were still running amok (thanks, Parents Music Resource Center!), and there was no way "she only comes when she's on top" was going to make the cut. "Comes" was replaced with "sings" for airplay and, on the video, the word "hums" was used as a subtitle when it was quite clear what he was really lip syncing. All of this served to draw attention to the original line. So, well done, one and all! "Laid" peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart and even managed a No. 61 showing on the Billboard Hot 100. This was James' only album to go gold in America.

7 comments:

george said...

Pedestrian? Uninspired? Absolutely not, Brian, it's a great, joyous slice of indie-pop. An absolute belter, and the album is one of their better offerings I think. ANd thanks for the video. I'm taking this album to the farm tomorrow, I have just decided. It will inspire my partner as she plants out the fava beans!

Brian said...

George, Inspiring her with Laid? Hmm. Sounds like you're the one trying to do the planting... at the expense of your poor partner. Sorry. Crude, very crude. I needed your kind words today, George. I think I'm seeing Laid through an American lens. This is is the only song James is really known for over here, and it's kind of boring to pick the hit, you know? In this case, though, I felt like it was the correct move.

george said...

Crude and juvenile Brian. Made me laugh, of course!

The Swede said...

Very very difficult indeed to pick just one James track from the 90's. I doubt my first choice would be 'Laid', but having said that - what a corker it is! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it - twice!

Brian said...

Hiya, Swede. Completely understand your thoughts on this one. Feel free to give us your favorites.

friend of rachel worth said...

Laid is great and joyous when played live. Cant top sometimes from the same lp though

Brian said...

Hey FORW. I will tell you Sometimes received some serious consideration for this list. Great song.