[7] The Specials, ‘Ghost Town’

The Specials

This place being a beacon of originality and all that, it’s difficult to tackle ‘Ghost Town’ without offering trite observations about unfortunate serendipitous events that have been reeled out a million times before. Ahem. No, we wouldn’t want to do anything like that. No. Now, wasn’t it strange how all those urban riots raged while this was at No.1? It’s as if Dammers, Hall and the gang were seers; arch-chroniclers of the rough-end of the street, so in touch with the pulse their fingers kept bobbing up and down.

OK, let’s just say that this queasy classic is powerful and insidious enough, even without the confluence of circumstance that makes it a vivid ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’. A lucky break, if we’re being grim.

The best part of 30 years removed from all that, Junior just liked the record – although she drew the rather alarming conclusion that the crazed, ghoulish “la-la-la”s were being sung by Lykke Li. Still, with a whole new set of riots surely only a further drop in house prices away, there’s an opening for Lykke to reissue ‘I’m Good, I’m Gone’ and provide a timely anthem for our skidaddle out of the chaos.

People getting angry:

[3] Prince, ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’

So Prince got all socially conscious on us and it didn’t seem pious. He had no previous, you see. Stripped down, raw and funky, ‘Sign ‘O’ The Times’ came out of nowhere when we’d barely finished getting down to the ninth single from Parade. He was astonishingly prolific without dropping below the quality threshold, at least for another couple of years.

You have to do a silly, jerky dance to this. Junior understood. Attempting to stand up, with support, she let her knees give way a few times, and sometimes on the beat. I can’t remember whether we ever danced to this at teenage discos. Would’ve been excruciating, in our roll-neck tops and black jeans and Converse boots.

The breathtaking, hubristic album still takes your breath away and challenges the gods. Skip the loose jams and it’s filled with psychedelic pop/soul/rock beauties and singles that should’ve made this chart. He was on a huge, kaleidoscopic roll. If I’d had a boy, I’d have called him Nate.