Thursday, April 27, 2017

McQ's #66 Song Of 2015 - SO OH - The Charlatans

Today, we take a listen to our #66 song of 2015, and I've got to tell you, I'm as surprised by this inclusion as many of you may be.

If you had asked me, back in 1989 when the Madchester scene first started attracting attention in the states, which of the era's three biggest breakout acts - The Stone Roses, The Happy Mondays, or The Charlatans - would go on to have the most enduring career, I for sure would have said The Stone Roses, the most instrumentally talented of the bunch, and then if pressed for a second, I would have probably gone with The Happy Mondays if only because they seemed to have a more restless, stylistic spirit that suggested an ability to keep things fresh over the years.  And though I loved The Charlatans at the time, an early show I caught of them at Chicago's Metro, where they blew through three of their debut Some Friendly's four best songs You're Not Very Well, The Only One I Know, and Believe You Me in the opening ten minutes, saving only Sproston Green to power the last forty minutes of their short set, left me thinking they might not be able to generate enough material for the long haul.

Boy was I wrong.

The Stone Roses, despite a few half-hearted comeback attempts, never regained their mojo, The Happy Mondays ended up sticking to what the knew for a few years more before disbanding, and then there's the The Charlatans, who've gone on to have a very consistent, if Los Lobos-like high quality but slightly below the radar, thirty year career. Kudos.

So in 2015, following the loss of founding drummer Jon Brookes to brain cancer, the Charlatans returned once again with Modern Nature, which while acknowledging Brooke's loss chose to focus most of its energy on positive, soulful reflection rather than wallow in despair.

Now sporting a sound that's more closely tied to classic rock than the psychedelic tones of the early rave movement, the album boasted a number of tracks I considered including in the 2015 mix collection, chief among them In The Tall Grass and the jammy Let The Good Times Be Never Ending, but in the end, I had to go with one of my favorite tracks of the year, and probably the most "Madchestery" song on Modern Nature, the awesome pop nugget So Oh.

With songs this strong, here's hoping Tim Burgess and crew can keep it going for another ten to twenty years.

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