Saturday, June 27, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 37)

37. "Looking For Atlantis"
Artist: Prefab Sprout
Year: 1990

Paddy wasn't all that productive in the '90s. Yet, I came up with five fine candidates from Prefab Sprout for this list. There were only two studio albums. One was fantastic, and the other was not too shabby either. Shockingly, there was the exact same number of compilations that came out during the decade. The "best of" from 1992 had a new song on it where Paddy unleashed his inner Pet Shop Boy. "If You Don't Love Me" to this day makes me wish I could hit a dance floor and wheeze along to it. This song has turned out to be the band's biggest hit in America, cracking the top 10 on the dance tracks list. Speaking of charts, this is as good a time as any to ask how it is possible 'Steve McQueen' only made it to No. 180 on the Billboard 200. We Americans have a lot to answer for around the globe, but this might be the biggest travesty of them all. Anyway, all of this is the long way around to stating that "If You Don't Love Me" and the lovely "A Prisoner of the Past" from the 1997 album 'Andromeda Heights' were the only two selections of mine that weren't from 'Jordan: The Comeback.'

Up until 2013, 'Jordan: The Comeback' was, without question, my second favorite album behind the aforementioned 'Steve McQueen.' The miracle comeback that was 'Crimson/Red' has had me reconsidering that position. Still, every one of the singles from that 1990 album deserves a spot at this table. "We Let the Stars Go" has always sounded like it could have been a 'Steve McQueen' outtake. "Carnival 2000," a huge favorite of our very own Echorich, is a great bit of fun. I chose "Looking for Atlantis" because it takes me back to a time just before the release of the album. It was the lead-in single, and the anticipation for 'Jordan' was almost unbearable after purchasing the brilliant 12". It clocked in at nearly seven and a half minutes! I don't claim to know why everything Thomas Dolby has produced for this band has worked, but I especially liked his touch on this one. So, even though I can only give it to you from my crummy USB turntable, you're going to get the extended version as well. In case you're wondering, "Looking for Atlantis" peaked at a modest No. 51 in the UK.

"Looking for Atlantis" (Extended)


friend of rachel worth said...

Blimey wouldn't know where to start , would have to cheat and nominate the whole of jordan

Echorich said...

Well, Brian, you hit that nail right on the head - for me it would have to be Carnival 2000. It's a song full of a a joie de vivre, an effervescent anticipation for the future with a knowing wink to the wrongs of the past and hope for what will come.
Looking For Atlantis isn't far from that, but it's more cautionary and pleads with the listener to be careful and not put all your hopes in the future, because it won't be that different from the unless you allow love into it.
I agree that Steve McQueen is far and away Prefab Sprout's gem, but the beauty of their catalogue is picking the second best is ridiculously hard. One week it might be Jordan, the next Andromeda Heights and another Crimson|Red or Let's Change The World With Music (yes I am very big on that last one).

Uncle E said...

I don't think Dolby's production "magic" with Prefab Sprout can be overstated. It's genius, what he does with Steve McQueen and Jordan. I agree that America has a TON to answer for not elevating S. McQueen to masterpiece status alongside the classic rock cannon. It's been in my all time top 10 since it came out when I was but a wee teen. Jordan is probably just as good, but that album has a special significance for me, always will.

Agree also on the brilliance of Crimson/red, actually anything he does is pretty terrific, and this song you picked from Jordan is just a fantastic example of what makes this band so damn great! Excellent that you're giving so much love to PS! Great write up, hopefully you will introduce more folks to this singular talent.

Scott said...

One of the best songwriters the UK has ever produced. Steve McQueen is faultless with Jordan pretty much on a par with it and, as Uncle E rightly states, Dolby's production on both albums is magical.

kevinpat said...

Cool Bri. I didn't know this song. Unfortunately me and Paddy lost contact after Langley Park, so this is nice. But my favorite PFS song has to be "Car and Girls". That's delicious. ha. So many mix tapes have this one sneaked in. Just look at us now.

Brian said...

Kevinpat, If you didn't see it, Uncle E had a nice post on Langley Park the other day:

Lots of Jordan love going on here. You're my kind of gents. Echorich. I really need to spend some more time with Let's Change The World With Music. Sounds like I'm missing out. Thanks to all for chiming in.

Anonymous said...

Jordan was my no.1 album for 15 years but I would find it impossible to lift a favourite track from it. It's one of those albums that needs to be listened to in it's entirety ,( yes, all 19 tracks and all pure gold ). By the way the album that knocked Paddy off the no.1 spot was Miracle Miles 'Glow', that has just had it's tenth anniversary. Where does the time go?
Phil Tel Aviv

Brian said...

Phil, my man, good to hear from you again. High praise for Jordan. I can certainly get on board with that. If you got Crimson/Red, it might help you feel like time isn't moving quite so fast. A real triumph.