Album: Tough Love, 2003
Justification: I was so pleased when Magic Dirt, ahem, “sold out”.
OK, they didn’t actually do anything of the sort, but they did sign to Warners, focussed their songs to be more accessible to the brief window of time when Australian bands with guitars actually got played on daytime radio, and accepted that they could write really fucking catchy songs. And while I dutifully shook my head and brandished my worn copy of Signs of Satanic Youth whenever the subjectof how the band’s old stuff being so much better than their new stuff was raised, I was actually totally in love with the Dirt’s version of power pop. When I’d heard the then unreleased ‘Dirty Jeans’ at Big Day Out in 2000 I thought it was pretty much the best song I’d ever heard, and this single kinda-sorta became the hit that should have been. I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the commercially released version of the video, though.
It’s one of Adalita’s most lusty vocals – strong, sexually powerful (“my hand is always down my pants / Kill, kill kill”) and unexpectedly ambivalent song that’s part fuck-you to an ex not up to the job and part conflicted “so, wanna try again?” for a love lost (and there’s points of comparison here with Elastica’s equally rockin’ ‘Stutter’). And the late, great Dean Turner does such an elegantly understated bassline. Basically, it’s just a fucking great single from a band that realistically shouldn’t have been within spitting distance of a major label, but turned the opportunity into a trio of legitimately fine buzzsaw-pop albums. it was also the band’s commercial high-water mark, getting to #16 in the ARIA charts.
Incidentally, speaking of Turner, I would have loved to have heard him remaster this album. Tough Love and its predecessor What Are Rockstars Doing Today both suffer from being produced by Phil Vinall (Auteurs, Placebo) who is clearly not a man who thinks about adding a bottom end to the albums he works upon.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2010: Eh, weekend. Or something.
SONG YOU SHOULD HAVE REDISCOVERED THIS TIME IN 2011: Hey, there was nothing here either. The hell? OK, fine, here’s the 2003 archive.
AND HERE’S THE LAST FIVE…