Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Top 100 Songs From the 1990s (No. 22)

22. "Still a World Away"
Artist: The Popguns
Year: 1991

The Popguns are probably best known for a couple of indie classics from the late '80s, "Landslide" and "Waiting for the Winter." In my mind, however, the hits just kept on comin'. I'll probably kick myself tomorrow for choosing the above. Don't get me wrong, the song deserves nothing but accolades, but I really agonized over this pick. The appearance of the Popguns was never in doubt, but I found it impossible to choose just one. I should just say "to hell with it," break the rules and have the band appear three times on this countdown. For the record, the other two candidates were the bouncy "Someone You Love" and the beautiful ballad "Someone to Dream Of." How do you break a three-way tie? Lyrics? Record sleeve? Melody? Vocal range? I took a more scientific approach. Wendy was cutest in the video for "Still a World Away." Pretty crude, eh? Apologies to Simon.



Not long after I named the band's comeback album 'Pop Fiction' my favorite of 2014, I was asked by a reader why I loved the Popguns so much. I think Wendy and Simon Pickles perfectly mix the breezier side of pop, à la Tracy Tracy and PJ Court, with the edgier side of rock, like Chrissie Hynde and James Honeyman-Scott on that first Pretenders album. That's about as much praise as I can give. It's beginning to become a little difficult to find, but you can hear "Still a World Away" and and many other early nuggets from 'Eugenie' and 'Snog' on 'Another Year Another Address: The Best of the Midnight Years.'

9 comments:

TheRobster said...

I love the Popguns too and had this 12". It is also referred to in their new song 'Still Waiting For The Winter', so clearly a song the band rates highly enough to remind us of.

The Swede said...

I was distracted doing something else while this played in the background and momentarily forgot what exactly it was I was listening to. My immediate thought was that it sounds like The Wedding Present with Eleanor Friedberger on vocals. What a terrific combination.

kevinpat said...

Okay so now I'm wracking my old brain to recall what I was listening to instead of the Popguns in late 80s early 90s?? How in Heaven's name did I miss this band??!! I searched iTunes to listen further and they only offer the early comp (no surprises there at iTunes). I see they do 10,000 Maniacs "Can't Ignore the Train" and I thought "Yes!! Yes!!" I think I'm gonna love this band. Nah, I'm sure. And speaking of….in my top 20 songs of the nineties would definitely be "Stockton Gala Days". But that's just be. What do I know? Apparently not the wonderful Popguns. Until now. Thank you sir!

George said...

Brian, I thought Dirk's Detroit Cobras compilation would be the best music I will hear today. I'm wrong, this track surpasses them all. Tremendous pop song. Of course, if I decide to play A Hard Rain's A Gonna Fall by either The Staple Singers or Bryan Ferry then I'm afraid The Popguns will lose that number one slot!

Brian said...

Fellas, Love the warm reception for a criminally underrated band. In my youth, I felt like I was the only fan here in America. That was probably part of the appeal. They were all mine. Of course, the world is much smaller now, and through this blog and others I have discovered there were always many admirers. Having hopefully matured a bit since then, I share my love for the Popguns with the world and push their music whenever I can.

Swede, Did you know the drummer is Shaun Charman, formerly of the Wedding Present? Love the Eleanor Friedberger reference. "My Mistakes" was my No. 2 song of 2011, and I thought followup Personal Record was an even better album than Last Summer. Quite a distinctive voice.

Robster, Cool. Sounds like you've followed them for a long time. So many references to the past on Pop Fiction... like calling the first single Lovejunky. I think I read somewhere when the band broke up the first time Simon only had one song left in the hopper, and Lovejunky was it. Nice place to get things started again.

Kevinpat, Welcome to the Popguns! You're gonna love them. Start with that comp. I have a good feeling the success of Pop Fiction will get an upstart label excited about reissuing Eugenie and Snog. I'm talking to you, Jimmy!

George,
It's been too long. Missing your blog. Let's catch up. Dirk's piece for JC warmed the cockles of my heart. I know I'm not alone in wishing he posted more. Always entertaining... and the Detroit Cobras certainly didn't hurt the proceedings.

Judge Pop said...

Brian - Hey you chose my favourite Popguns song and your comment comparing us to The Pretenders is of course the ultimate praise that I could ever wish for. Even better than that you let us know of new Rober Forster material ... so excited! Cheers, Simon.

Dirk said...

T.H.E. perfect pick, mate, no doubt at all about that! I've always said before that this is the band's finest moment, this record will be in my top 10 FOREVER! The music is stunning, the vocal delivery is stunning and Wendy is stunning in the video! Certainly the best record from "that era", if you see what I mean ....

drew said...

class tune

Brian said...

Simon, Always a privilege to hear from you, Simon. This one seems to have struck a chord with everyone. Bliss. Wanted to let you know how much I'm enjoying those B-sides on the "Still Waiting for the Winter" EP. Word on the street is this merely a bridge to a new album. We are all hopeful this is true and that there won't be another 18-year sabbatical. Some of us are getting too old for one of those. Please keep in touch with your progress. Take care.

Dirk, Let me get this straight, you like "Still a World Away"? Kidding. I remember our search for the Peel Session like it was yesterday. "That era" sure had plenty of dogs, but this is certainly not one of them.

Drew, Brief but on the button. Glad you like it. Keep that Northern Soul coming. You're on a roll.