Tuesday, 12 August 2014

The Boo Radleys 'Wake Up Boo!'

Chart Peak: 9
The Boo Radleys are Tim Brown, Martin Carr, Rob Cieka and Sice - they hail from Merseyside... The joyous 'Wake Up Boo!' became their 1st Top 10 hit in March '95.
Well this is good timing, the official video was uploaded to YouTube just yesterday.
The Boos are of course the second consecutive act to appear on Now 30 with their last Top 10 hit, though it's unfortunate for them that it proved to be their only one. Indeed this was their first Top 40 hit, though they managed a further seven thereafter, all of them now sadly forgotten.

It seems that where the Boo Radleys are concerned, you can divide people into two or three camps: the ones who only like this song or don't know they had others, and the people who make a big deal of how they like the band apart from this song. Well, I'm here to tell them they're all wrong! Unlike most people, I know enough Boos songs to compile a Top 5, an unlike most of the remainder I would include 'Wake Up Boo!' in it (in case you were wondering, the other four would probably be 'Lazarus', 'From The Bench At Belvidere', 'Oh Brother' and 'Ride The Tiger'). The remainder of their album Wake Up! offers some great pop moments, particularly in its expanded form, although ironically it's not the best way to get this particular track because the intro on the album version rather spoils the effect. Still, it was the only Number One album released by Creation Records that wasn't by Oasis.

Perhaps it's a bit of a cliche to talk about "perfect pop" but there's something about this track that seems impossible to dispute. I was going to call it "effortless" but of course it's not that at all, it's clear that there's a lot of work gone into the structure and arrangement. Not only is the song catchy (even its detractors will admit that), but it offers an ideal balance between the sweet and the spicy, with the clashing guitars cutting though just enough to give the song some body without seeming gimmicky. Note that in the chorus lyric the protagonist is praising a "beautiful morning" but also inviting you to wake up "for what could be the very last time". By the middle eight he's turned a bit recriminatory "you have to say what you want to say, do you have to put the death in everything?" but the effect is more of a mixed blessing than Martin Carr deliberately playing tricks on the listener. It's a miniature epic, deceptively subtle in production with judicious use of brass, piano and percussion. And it lasts almost exactly three minutes, complete with a big finish that makes it well-placed at the end of Side One here.

You can see why people rushed to the shops to buy this, even if some of them must have mistakenly picked up CD2 and got 'Wake Up Boo: Music For Astronauts' instead. Fortunately the version from Top Of The Pops 2 where they do the first verse twice and then Steve Wright talks over the end never saw commercial release, but at least the subtitles on that upload are a chance to enjoy the duality of the lyric.

Available on: Pure... Summer

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