Burn Baby Burn – Ash

I feel I’ve short changed you a bit. I promised a week of 2001 and I banged on almost exclusively about Pop-punk and the so called New Rock Revolution™ . Then I had the audacity to include a song that wasn’t from 2001. I moaned about Landfill Indie and bad Heavy Metal (and celebrated one piece of particularly good Heavy Metal). And I took the piss a bit. OK. A lot.

Of course there was a lot of great music that year. Gorillaz for instance gave Damon Albarn a legitimate exit strategy from the 1990’s and kept Del The Funky Homosapien in fresh breakfast cereal for the next decade. Karen O and her Yeah Yeah Yeahs released the blindingly brilliant Master EP and five star album Fever To Tell. The Streets debut album took elements of two-step-garage and UK Hip Hop to the main stage. Jay-Z’s The Blueprint turned my head and Run Come Save Me by Roots Manuva gifted me one of my all time favourite singles. Garbage took up trans-disco as their next direction and never looked back and PJ Harvey won big at the award shows with This Is Love. Basement Jaxx, Air and Daft Punk were taking EDM to the pop charts and Andrew WK was leading a conga line round the moshpit with Party Hard and I Get Wet.

My favourite song of that year though. The year I met my wife? Well, I bought an album at the airport on the way out on holiday in Greece. She and I were one week away from meeting and I wanted to go cycling in the Greek hills and drink good wine, eat good food and sit in warm sun with my friends. So in the departure lounge I picked up a CD copy of Ash’s Free All Angels to listen to on the plane. Bit of Irish Indie Rock can’t hurt the party now can it?

Burn Baby Burn is a step up for the band who spent time dicking about playing gutter-punk, worshiping Ween and making Star Wars references every five minutes (Jimmy Eat World I’m looking at you). They had a girl on board now. Charlotte Hatherley was there not to make the band behave but to add a dynamic of glamour and harmony to the skinny pale lads who found themselves somehow playing flying V’s on the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage. That Nee-Naw-Ne-Naw-Ne-Naw guitar intro is a countdown to a perfectly formed pop-rock anthem. File this one along side Another Girl, Another Planet, Song 2 and I Predict A Riot. Prefect jukebox music. Only we were at the end of the Jukebox era.

You could by Burn Baby Burn on CD-Rom single. You could buy it on DVD single. You couldn’t get it on vinyl though. We were through the looking glass people. Burn Baby Burn was famously the very first song played on the BBC’s crowning glory of a 20th Century radio station BBC6Music. To this day still the best radio station in the UK for breaking new music, listening to classic sessions and having Iggy Pop visit your home once a week.

Free All Angels is an excellent album. Burn Baby Burn the best single the band ever did. The last album I bought before it all changed (for the better this time).


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