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Josh Rouse – Winter in the Hamptons


I spent almost ten years of my life working in record shops – mostly the Virgin Megastore on Buchanan Street in Glasgow, and for much of that time I was based firmly in the Rock and Pop department, where I would fiercely maintain the strict alphabetical order lest someone not be able to find the Billie Piper CD they were after.

One of the great things about working there was that I was constantly exposed to new music I wouldn’t otherwise have heard, being naturally predisposed to a fairly narrow period between 1981 and 1989. And so it was I discovered Josh Rouse, who made one of 2005’s best singles, Winter in the Hamptons.

One of my benchmarks for a memorable pop song is “would this fit seamlessly into a John Hughes movie starring Molly Ringwald?” and the answer here is most definitely yes. I can totally imagine it being used in a scene where she feels rejected by the in-crowd and wanders round a lake while pondering her self-worth.

Considering this song came from an album called Nashville it’s quite funny that it sounds far more like Manchester, and specifically The Smiths at their most melodic. It has that lovely dreamy jangly quality to it that and some very Johnny Marr-ish guitar work (so Marr-ish I just had to check it wasn’t him.) It also has a marvellous break-down with claps in the middle before it all gets going again for a rousing finish.

A small amount of effort did go into Josh’s career in the UK, and Nashville actually managed to chart, making no.66 for a single week in February 2005 – Winter in the Hamptons even managed to make no.100 on the singles chart, which gives it the dubious distinction of being the least most popular record that week. Still, it gets him in the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles and Albums, which is more than a lot of people can say.

Entered chart: 13/02/2005

Chart peak: 100

Weeks on chart: 1

Who could sing this today and have a hit? Insert current most popular man with guitar here.

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