The Other Two – Selfish
There are perhaps no words in pop more terrifying than Side Project.
A side project occurs when one or more members of a successful band form another one in between regular albums, the best – and by best I mean worst – example being The Power Station, which happened when Duran Duran were having a bit of a break. I have never met anyone able to defend The Power Station.
New Order spat out more side projects than your usual band, and they largely ignored the rule of thumb that said these extra curricular activities had to be terrible. Barney Sumner formed Electronic with Johnny Marr and they were both successful and utterly brilliant (for a while.) Peter Hook created Monaco and they had one quite good single which if you ask me was more of a protest vote from Hooky regarding New Order‘s direction than an actual song.
And then there were the other two – Stephen Morris and Gillian Gilbert who, with an admirable (though barely marketable) grip on reality, called themselves The Other Two. Looking for all the world like a couple waiting to audition for the lead roles in an Everything But the Girl biopic, they are possibly the most unassuming pop stars to have ever existed. We talked recently about charisma and anti-charisma as ingredients for success and I suspect Stephen and Gillian would be the first to admit they possess neither. But what they do possess is the knack of writing a perfect pop song. Witness Selfish:
I always cite this song as an example when people say that electronic music lacks warmth – you could gently toast marshmallows on Selfish, and what I particularly love about it is that it is so unfailingly polite. It has a proper long introduction, the kind that lets you get settled and fold your coat on your lap during a school recital. It also has a proper finish, so you know when to clap. Gillian sings in the traditional and completely irresistible English-girl-group way – technically in tune, slightly dispassionate and with a whiff of faint embarrassment.
If you watch the video you get the impression of two people who can’t quite quite believe they’ve been asked to make a pop video, and are therefore on the verge of pissing themselves with laughter the entire time. It’s hugely, hugely endearing, and suits this wonderful record perfectly.
The Other Two – too school for cool but brilliant nonetheless.
Entered chart: 31/10/1993
Chart peak: 46
Weeks on chart: 2
Who could sing this today and have a hit? Let’s not kid ourselves shall we?