Album #185: Orange Juice – Rip It Up

  • Released: 1982
  • Origin: Glasgow, Scotland
  • Label: Polydor
  • Best Track: Rip it Up

If, like me, you grew up in the 1990s, you might mistakenly think of Edwyn Collins as something of an obscure one-hit wonder. He had a Top 5 single in 1995 with ‘A Girl Like You’ – a fine and timeless pop song that still crops up on adverts and mainstream radio today, but little other success as a solo artist.

Before all that, he was lead singer of the Scottish post-punk/new wave band Orange Juice. I’m only familiar with two of their songs – the rousing, punky single ‘Blue Boy’ that doesn’t appear on any of their studio albums, and the funky ‘Rip It Up’, taken from the 1982 album of the same name – the second album they released that year.

I thought I’d explore the album beyond the title track. What’s apparent is that Collins is a wonderful, unique and soulful vocalist, but overall, this album isn’t for me. I love the title track, but after that I could only really give a lukewarm thumbs up to ‘Flesh of My Flesh’ and the catchy refrains of ‘Hokoyo’. Elsewhere, like on ‘A Million Pleading Faces’, it goes vaguely disco.

Maybe I was taken aback by how much of this album is pop rather than punk. This songwriting and musicianship is clearly there, but most of the songs do nothing for me. Can’t get too excited, I’m afraid.

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