Slow Music Review: Right Said Fred – Up

Writing this blog is never the easiest of things. I often battle procrastination and a severe lack of drive to present these words to you. Always trying to expand your horizons and maybe introduce you to something you missed first time round. The temptation to over-stretch and fall into the regular music journalist cliches of ‘hot new thing’ regularly puts me off my stride. That and this pressing need to show you ‘cool’ artists. But ‘Cool’, much like political integrity, doesn’t exist. It’s merely a communal myth we built around ourselves to replace our antique gods. Surely we should just be allowed to be free to like what we like without judgement if we’re not hurting anyone? Especially culturally. Especially with tastes. I want you to remember this, because you’ve read today’s subject and you’ve made an opinion. Leave it at the door, Boris, it’s time to question all you know. This is Up.

My sister is getting married this summer. It’s going to be a major event. So much so that me, her and Flo (the sibs) are going to have our own private hen party; allowing ourselves to wallow in awesome nostalgia without putting our long suffering other halves through the horror. To do an event such as this justice you need a decent soundtrack. Something fun, personal and great. In times like these (my 30th was a similar affair) we fall back on Right Said Fred. You know them. Of course you do. We can all recall that hot summer of ’92 when ‘I’m Too Sexy‘ crushed the globe in it’s radiant palm. I was an impressionable 7 year old desperate for friends in a class that had recently decided to hate me. But my considerably wiser 9 year old sister had bought Up on cassette having heard the mega hit and it promptly filled all of our time. It became all of time. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that fundamental seeds in my musical obsession were laid down at this time. It was just always on, filling my impressional mind with arrangements, chords and riffs I’d never experienced, and with words that were both highly addictive yet strangely adult. I still remember singing ‘Love For All Seasons’ in my chorister treble with the sibs and taking tremendous delight in yelling ‘Let’s take the phone off the hook/Pull it out the wall’. Still to this day I can place the months by singing it’s climax. Formative years you see.

This is why I never understood the guilty pleasure people feel for this album. It’s almost as if you can only be seen as cool if you come at something from an ironic perspective. I find it all bollocks, there is no guilt in my love. Right Said Fred aren’t some dumb Pop band and Up is testament to the fact. These are incredibly well written songs. Empirically well written songs. The fade from ‘Do Ya Feel‘ into ‘Is It True‘ has subtlety and poise ignored by the ‘Sexy’ lot. The balance of electronic sounds and acoustic riffs is elegant and restrained. Not once is this presented as some cash-cow to capitalise on the earlier mega success (as would often be the case nowadays) for every song has it’s own identity and purpose. This is a work of talent. Hardly surprising considering Richard Fairbrass’s previous work as a bass player for Boy George and David Bowie. There are more ideas here than any 3 previous identikit indie band’s albums. I learned much of my craft from it. For reals. So don’t be afraid. Indulge yourself. This is proper music.

Just hit play. Do it.


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