Build Me Up Just To Knock Me Down

Top Ten debut singles and disappointing sequels

The brilliant debut single is music’s biggest prick-tease, and quite frankly, they should be banned, or at least properly labelled. Something clear, concise and to-the-point. They could stick it next to the explicit lyrics warning.

‘Warning, we won’t even get close to the brilliance of this song ever again, so please, we implore you – take this as face value, enjoy it, then move on.”

A bit wordy maybe, but I’d be able to avoid embarrassing incidents like the text message which my entire phone book received after I heard The Electric Soft Parade’s Silent To The Dark for the first time. My Mum is still confused as to why she received that message, so I think it’s safe to say that they have not gone on to become the greatest band in the world.

And there are dozens of Electric Soft Parades still afloat on the choppy and unforgiving musical sea; perfectly good bands who have that one moment of genius in them –the only problem is, if that moment of genius happens to be their first melodic shot over the musical bow, then it does them no good in my opinion – each subsequent shot is going to fall on overly expectant ears – and we all know how quickly over-expectancy slides into a complete and utter loss of interest.

But let’s not beat about the bush; I’m cataloguing the ten tunes that have made me look the most foolish here; those tracks that have had skipping like a schoolgirl and imagining album number five in my head after three minutes of that fateful first single. This is one occasion when the ‘records as lovers’ metaphor stands up to a degree of scrutiny. There’s the initial, childlike excitement; the period of quiet disappointment in which you truly want to believe that the initial euphoria wasn’t simply a one-off; and then there is the inevitable cutting of ties, and the odd fond remembrance. The only difference is that I only keep old records under my bed these days.

So here we have them – the ten debut singles (in no particular order) that I have loved and lost thanks to the comparative tripe that followed them. There will be more, and I sincerely hope there are in fact millions more, because that initial excitement is almost unbeatable. I should just learn to bite my tongue when I next feel like telling my friends that this time next year some no-mark indie-schmindie band will be being supported by U2. On the Moon.

1.The Electric Soft Parade – Silent To The Dark

It had to be done. The hugely epic, post-rocking last 6 or so minutes are amongst my favourite musical moments ever, so it’s no surprise they’ve never topped this.

2.The Undertones – Teenage Kicks

This is not sacrilege, it’s the truth. This is generation-defining – My Perfect Cousin, however, was not. If I had been a kid when this came out, I’d have wet myself.

3.Turin Brakes – The Door

Yet more indie-schmindie here, but this is an absolute belter, no jokes. What a pity then, that they have since descended into complete MOR piffle. Yeah, piffle.

4.Art Brut – Formed a Band

Eddie, I’m sorry. Art Brut are important, but this will forever be their calling card, because it’s simply a force of nature.

They could have gone on to become huge, but it just never seemed to happen

5.Love Is All – Busy Doing Nothing

I know I should at least give them a chance to top this, but come on – this is the best pop song of 2007, so chances are they won’t…

6.Fischerspooner – Emerge

This straddled the globe for a few months; somehow I can’t see them occupying such a lofty position again.

7.WigWam – WigWam

Everyone’s favourite indie-boy posho Alex James released one single with Betty Boo under this moniker. He should have released more if this was any indication.

8.Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Bang!

Still an interesting proposition, but this is stunning, and a teasing reminder of a direction I still wish they’d persisted with.

9.My Vitriol – Always, Your Way

Ah, My Vitriol – they could have gone on to become huge, but it just never seemed to happen; this is still a towering pop song though.

10.Oasis – Supersonic

Oh yes, I’m ready for the barrage of abuse. Supersonic still sounds vital and important to these ears, as the whole first record does. But all bar the most dyed in the wool Oasis fans (and I know there are millions of you) will be able to see my point here – they may have equalled the brilliance of this sporadically since, but their returns have been diminishing rather than increasing – slowly at first, quicker recently – since this, arguably one of their finest moments.

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