Crush – ‘Teenage Kicks’ (1996)

‘Byker Grove’, which aired from 1989 to 2006 on Children’s BBC, was set in the Byker district of Newcastle upon Tyne. Image courtesy of Geograph.

Regarding chart success, spin-off singles from the children’s television drama, ‘Byker Grove’, have been a very mixed bag.

PJ & Duncan AKA, Point Break, Freefaller and Summer Matthews all reached the UK Top 40, but a similar number of acts flopped.

Grove Matrix, whose line-up featured PJ & Duncan AKA, failed to reach the Top 75 with their only single, 1993’s ‘Rip It Up’. Charley had also suffered the same fate in 1990 with ‘The Best Thing’.

Two other flop acts, meanwhile, included two ‘Byker Grove’ actresses: Jayni Hoy and Donna Air.

In December 1994, Hoy and Air teamed up with fellow ‘Byker Grove’ star Victoria Taylor to release ‘Love Your Sexy…!!’, under the Byker Grooove! band name, for the Christmas market.

The one-off single sounded like a no-frills version of Shampoo and, unsurprisingly, never peaked beyond Number 48 in the UK Singles Chart.

And, although the trio still participated in music magazine shoots during the early months of 1995, Taylor left the music industry, and Hoy and Air were known as pop duo Crush by 1996.

Their sound was lighter, and had some traces of airheaded Britpop, but they still struggled to make a commercial breakthrough: ‘Jellyhead’ stalled at Number 50 in February 1996 and their follow-up single, ‘Luv’d Up’, fared little better, peaking at Number 45 in July 1996.

However, in the USA, ‘Jellyhead’ became a minor hit in the Billboard Hot 100, and they were tipped to “give the Spice Girls a run for their money”.

Also, they released their début album, ‘Teenage Kicks’ (which included THREE songwriting collaborations with Saint Etienne’s Sarah Cracknell), in Japan and South Korea. And that’s where it begins to look a bit more interesting.

‘Teenage Kicks’ featured three covers: The Go-Go’s ‘We Got The Beat’, Blondie’s ‘Picture This’ and, inevitably, The Undertones’ ‘Teenage Kicks’.

Yes, that’s right, the album showcased DONNA AIR COVERING ‘TEENAGE KICKS’. And that’s exactly when this cover stops being interesting.

Technically, there isn’t much wrong with it; there’s a little bit of light Garbage, with splodges of Sleeper and Pulp elsewhere.

But, while ‘Jellyhead’ and ‘Luv’d Up’ were faintly catchy, this cover has very little to offer.

Crush have gone down the credibility route and, even if it does sound perfectly competent, no thought or imagination has been put into this cover.

‘Teenage Kicks’ just sounds depressingly familiar to the original, and not a single foot-tap was made while listening to it.

Don’t get me wrong, this could have been a lot worse. After all, the sheer thought of Donna Air covering John Peel’s favourite song is enough to drive anyone to the bottle.

But, to be perfectly honest, hearing a car crash of a cover would have been more entertaining than a vapid interpretation that just plods along to the next album track.

You won’t remember a single second of it, trust me. It’s that pointless.

Teenage Kicks by Crush on Grooveshark

—————————————————————————————————————–

This review was self-published in February 2013.

Non-web sources

Roberts, D. (ed) (2006) The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums. 19th edition. London: Guinness World Records.

Stanton, P. (1995) Get a Grip! Smash Hits, Wednesday January 4 1995, p.58-59.

, , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply