By now the late 80's/early 90's nostalgia might be killing some of you (at least the hazy recollections of my teen years have got to be a bit grating at this point.) But we soldier on nonetheless. The 1989 collection of the Just Say series, entitled "Just Say Mao", comes with a nifty picture of a dancing Mao Tse Tung (leader of Communist China for those of you who slept through world history class in high school) and started a move away from the label's more established artists into somewhat more avant grade territory. The only really big name on this disc was Depeche Mode, who clock in with a remix of "Everything Counts". Morrissey, Erasure and The Replacements check in but with less than stellar tracks. The two highlights here are the first thing I heard from the Hershey, PA band THE OCEAN BLUE and a very early incarnation of UNDERWORLD.
THE OCEAN BLUE stole my heart with this, their first singled called "Between Something and Nothing." I was enthralled with the song which is very simple but has a transcendent guitar solo in the middle of the song. I immediately grabbed their first record and have followed them ever since. If you have a chance to get their debut self-titled album.
UNDERWORLD gives us a song called "Thrash" which truth be told is god awful. And yes, it is the same band that later on gives us the great "Born Slippy". This was before Darren Emerson joined the band and they became the dance floor sensations that they are today. Here the band is run of the mill guitar pop group who ended up dying out and being reborn. I guess this is a lesson that if you first don't connect with an audience don't give up, just take a whole lot of drugs and reinvent yourself (editorial: This is not an endorsement of taking drugs, although it is apparent that at least for these guys the benefit of not having to hold down a real job seems to have worked out okay for them)
So all in all, this is a weak compilation. Apparently the A&R guys had falling in love with Middle Eastern influenced music so it has some real drawbacks (since that is not something I am really into). But the Ocean Blue song saves it and gave me my first real band crush.
(mp3) Underworld -- Thrash (for unintentional comedy sake. Check out The Vinyl Villain for a take on the band at their best.)
Tracklisting for Just Say Mao...
1. Depeche Mode -- Everything Counts (Bomb Beyond the Yalu Remix)
2. Martin Gore -- In A Manner of Speaking
3. Figures on a Beach -- Accidentally 4th Street (Gloria)
4. Underworld -- Thrash
5. Erasure -- Pistol
6. Nasa -- Insha-Allah
7. Throwing Muses -- Dizzy (Remix)
8. Danielle Dax -- Whistling for His Love (Remix)
9. Morrissey -- Lucky Lisp
10. The Ocean Blue -- Between Something and Nothing
11. Ofra Haza -- Da'Ale Da'Ale (Remix)
12. Tom Tom Club -- Don't Say No (Remix)
13. Ice-T -- The Hunted Child
14. Royal Crescent Mob -- Nanana
15. The Replacements -- Date To Church
16. k.d. lang -- Nowhere to Stand
17. Lou Reed -- Strawman (Live)