Album Reviews

Various – Smash Hits: The Reunion

UK release date: 28 April 2003

Smash Hits – The Reunion Smash Hits. It’s been therethroughout the history of pop music, albeit in afortnightly fashion, from the heady days of Toyah, Shakin’ Stevens and Madness to (ugh!) Busted, Girls Aloud and Gareth Gates.

Chronicling ever utterance and minute detail via the probing, important questions of the day such as “Does your mother play golf?”, “What colour is Tuesday?” and the essential “Have you ever thought you were a city centre?”, taking Bananarama down the zoo, partying with Depeche Mode, and explaining Acid House to the tots (quoting Richey Manic as saying “E is a prison” – genius). Smash Hits is still the original and best.

To celebrate their 25th anniversary, they’ve put together the ultimate pop collection. Proper pop, that is. Back from the time when a bunch of skinheads with a variety of dental issues such as The Specials would regularly make the cover and the pin-up was a 35 year old woman named Debbie right through to the poster pull-outs of Blue and the choreographed jumpsuits of Steps. Quite simply, it’s the best magazine on the planet.

Basically every fantastic chart-topper ever can be found here – as well as Westlife‘s Flying Without Wings – from the frankly barmy shrieking of Adam & The Ants‘ Prince Charming and icy minimalism of Ultravox‘s Vienna, the wonder of the Human League‘s Don’t You Want Me, the ‘cocaine? Yum!’ rolled up sleeves of Duran Duran, shuttlecock era Wham! and the boy?/girl? confusion of Culture Club, via the distressing Bros and remarkably ugly New Kids On The Block, through the Girl and Boy Powah era of Spice Girls, Take That, All Saints and East 17 bang up to the slinky genius of Liberty X‘s Just A Little and Kylie‘s Can’t Get You Out Of My Head. Throw in classics from Britney (Baby One More Time), a-ha (Take On Me), S Club 7 (Don’tStop Movin’), Pet Shop Boys (Always On My Mind), Steps (Tragedy) and you damn near have the best document of the last 25 years of top pop… ever.

As S Club 7 (RIP – sniiiff!) ‘just go with the magic baby’. Completely fantastic.

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