Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 27)

27. "Radio Jejune"
Artist: The Sugarplastic
Year: 1995

I'm gonna turn that dial until it sounds alright
I'm gonna turn back time until it sounds alright

The L.A. power-pop trio did quite a job turning back time. The dial was clearly set for 1979, and it sounded more than alright to me. That's when XTC's 'Drums and Wires' came out, and it was an obvious influence. The Sugarplastic always had quite a time beating down the derivative label, especially with their first two albums, but the fellas never seemed to have a problem with the negative connotation. In fact, the Sugarplastic sounded the most like their predecessor on the song "Arizona," and they had a little fun with it. Check out this cheeky lyric:

Sit back and watch me crack
What Mr. Moulding's done before

I'll include that song below as well just so you can hear bassist (like Colin Moulding) Ben Eshbach cracking wise about one of his idols. The Sugarplastic aren't really a singles band. On a personal level, I feel like I could have chosen any song they recorded in the decade for this list. "Radio Jejune" gets the nod because it's the perfect opener from their debut full-length album. 'Radio Jejune' got Geffen running with pen in hand for a followup. Too bad so few heard the near brush with the big time. 'Bang, The Earth is Round' is brilliant too.



kevinpat said...

So I promised myself I would be a little less eager to continue to expand the music collection. "You don't have to DL everything!" Then I come here and BANG! How is it that I've been listening to music everyday for the last 52 years and you keep introducing me to such great stuff I still didn't know? Well, I guess life begins at the hop (boys and girls). Were we not talking about how Elastica sounded a bit too close to other bands to perhaps be legit?? Hmmm. Is it a sound or plagiarism? Well who cares. This sounds a LOT like XTC whether intentional or not, but that's c00l. I like it and I like them. At the onset of "Radio Jejune" i thought of (my beloved) Raspberries ala "Hit Record" but then came the quirk and I was in XTC. (Hey! Raspberries have a blasting track "Ecstasy"!!!) But (again) I digress…. GREAT songs Brian. I'm listening to the Sugarplastic album tracks and I may have to expand the collection just a little more… Gee, thanks! Ha!

Hey, where did everybody go???

McPop said...

Sugarplastic is awesome! I picked up "Bang, the Earth is Round" the year it came out and wore out the disc. I have their earlier stuff on CD-R. I also recommend their 2000s output on Tallboy record label including full-length 'Will' and 7" series. Haven't heard anything from them in a while...don't know if they're still making music?

Brian said...

Happy it met your approval, Kevinpat. Criminally underrated band. There is a little Raspberries to this song, but I wouldn't look for it too much in the rest of their discography. I wouldn't push this one if I didn't think you would like it. In this case, I think you will want to make the investment. As for surprises with this list, there aren't too many left. We are getting to the biggies, and I don't think there will be much you won't know.

I have posted about this band a few times through the years. Before today I have never had anyone say they are awesome... or anything close to that description. Very happy we have this one in common. I think I have everything by them, including the Japanese-issued Primitive Plastic. I'm not one that usually subscribes to a singles series, but Sugarplastic's output is far from prolific and so the Tallboy series seemed too special to pass up. I was subscriber No. 63. At first I wasn't thrilled the label decided to press the 7x7x7 series as a CD when it was all over, but that was selfish on my part. If more people heard them, then great. Plus, we did get lots of extras and a free copy of the CD. There has never been an official "we are done" from the band, and their releases have always been few and far between, but it has been a really long time. I have a feeling they are done, but I still hope for more.

Echorich said...

I happened upon Sugarplastic about 10 yrs ago and after first hearing them, I was hooked. Radio Jeune sums up the band as well as any of their tracks. It's a quirky, sweet, melodic musical confection.

Brian said...

All of these years, and I never knew you were a fan. This makes my night.

The Swede said...

Hearing the parallel 1990's listening pleasures of a kindred soul can be a very rewarding experience. I've only ever come across the name The Sugarplastic mentioned in passing on this very blog, but had never actually checked the band out, until now that is. Fabulous, funny, clever stuff and great, great pop.

Echorich said...

Brian - As you know, by 92, I had turned my back on rock and pop music for the most part and dove deeper and deeper into house music. My music purchasing adds up to 10:1 House Music 12"s and compilations to any rock or pop. I continued collecting the bands I knew and liked. I dipped my toes into music which NME, Select and Q would mention or review and things friends would introduce me too, but my record and cd collection definitely lacks 90's representation. By the end of the decade, as the kind of house I prefer - deep and soulful - burrowed back underground I began to catch up with things I missed. And by the 2000's and the advent of mp3, I was able to collect a lot of the missing pieces to the puzzle that is The 90's.