Saturday, 22 February 2014

50 songs to take to my grave - #2: Another Girl, Another Planet


There's little I can say about this song that hasn't already been written a hundred times over already.  But here goes anyway...

I was rather late with Another Girl, Another Planet by The Only Ones.  I first heard it when working in Our Price in the early 90s.  It appeared on the 'Sound of the Suburbs' compilation which we had been playing in-store quite a lot.  One or two of my colleagues raved about it being one of the greatest songs ever written - a bold claim indeed - but it wasn't until I really sat down and listened to it properly that I actually 'got it'.

Its positioning on 'Sound of the Suburbs' was nothing short of genius. As Pete Shelley's sustained 'wiiiiiiiiiiiith' at the end of Ever Fallen In Love faded into silence, the muted, chugging guitar that opened Another Girl snuck in.  A teasing bass pokes its head round the door to say hi, while a mischievous lead guitar fails to stifle a giggle as it prepares to unleash merry hell in the next 10 seconds. And those rumbling drums creeping in almost unnoticed... Has a more perfect intro ever existed? And it's not over. That soaring lead guitar, meandering its way ever upwards, while its roguish siblings, now including a cheeky organ, combine to form a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously effective backing track. On 50 seconds, the final piece of the jigsaw, Peter Perrett's whimsical, yet almost weary vocal.

Over the course of three all-too-short minutes, we learn about the true beauty, exhilaration and sheer wonder of pop music. Yeah, we can argue until the cows come home about whether the lyrics relate a "blasé, weary take on love and romance"[1] or whether they're about Perrett's relationship with heroin (as I chose to interpret them in a university assessment essay I wrote a few years ago on the poetic nature of language. I couldn't resist it.) The truth is though, whatever the words mean, the music is, as far as I'm concerned, perfect. I have listened to this song hundreds of times and each time it brings me close to tears. Just as Teenage Kicks made John Peel emotional, so Another Girl, Another Planet does to me. Interestingly, by coincidence or otherwise, on 'Sound of the Suburbs', it is immediately followed by the Undertones anthem, which makes it absolutely perfectly placed[2].

It's a shame The Only Ones are remembered for only one song, and to many it's nothing more than "that song in the phone advert" (which sums up how far our society has fallen, if you ask me). If you're unfamiliar with any of their other works, I recommend Lovers of Today and Me and My Shadow.  But don't go expecting another Another Girl.  It is unique, it will never be bettered.

Yes - it is the greatest rock song ever written.


Soundtrack:


[1] Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Another_Girl,_Another_Planet (accessed 15 Feb 2014)
[2] Arguably the greatest compilation sequence ever? 3. Ever Fallen in Love by Buzzcocks; 4. Another Girl by Only Ones; 5. Teenage Kicks by Undertones; and 6. Echo Beach by Martha & the Muffins.  It surely doesn't get much better than that!

4 comments:

  1. You're right there Robster - great, great song.
    And on Sound of the Suburbs not only does it precede Tennage Kicks it succeeds the equally fantastic Ever Fallen in Love With !The greatest trimverate ever to feature on a compilation album!

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  2. Have to agree that tracks 3 - 6 are programming bliss! Another Girl Another Planet is one of the great singles of the 80's. For my 50th I decided to attempt to list the 50 songs which define my musical preferences over my formative musical years. Another Girl Another Planet is one of those songs which initially got left off, but reassessment of the past 10 months has found it now included in that Top 50 - sorry Alone Again Or by Love...

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  3. One of my all-time faves. I found it on a soundtrack to a film called That Summer! in my freshman year of school in upstate New York 1980. I never saw or heard of the film before or after but I wore that album out. I was familiar with many of the songs but had never before heard Spanish Stroll, Whole Wide World, Teenage Kicks or Another Girl, Another Planet, a song that got it's hooks in me until this day.
    I still have that scratchy album, but alas, no turntable. Fortunately I found a great vinyl rip on-line a few years ago. Maybe I'll listen to it today.
    Here's the track listing-

    Side One

    Ian Dury and the Blockheads - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
    Mink DeVille - Spanish Stroll
    Elvis Costello - (I Don't Want To Go To) Chelsea
    The Boomtown Rats - She's So Modern
    Zones - New Life
    The Only Ones - Another Girl, Another Planet
    Wreckless Eric - Whole Wide World
    The Patti Smith Group - Because The Night

    Side Two

    The Boomtown Rats - Kicks
    The Ramones - Rockaway Beach
    The Undertones - Teenage Kicks
    Eddie & The Hot Rods - Do Anything You Wanna Do
    Ian Dury and the Blockheads - What A Waste
    Nick Lowe - I Love The Sound Of Breaking Glass
    Elvis Costello - Watching The Detectives
    Richard Hell And The Voidoids - Blank Generation

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  4. First heard AGAP in the 1982 Festive 50 broadcast when I managed to tape it and even better picked up a copy of the single second-hand a few months later. In my top ten of all time (top 5?)
    Watched That Summer a year or so back, I'd stick to listening to the lp (yellow vinyl?) if I were you...
    Cheers
    And

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