TJR presents… Top 10: The Jesus and Mary Chain

TJR presents… Top 10: The Jesus and Mary Chain

– To recognize the Shangri-Las and the Velvet Underground as sisters and brothers is to understand The Jesus and Mary Chain; Scotland's finest Rock n Roll stars.
  • Runtime: 38m.
  • Compiled from 186 collection entries @ 28-Oct-2020.
  • Fantasy Album Rating: 10.0 “Utterly perfect”
  • To access shuffle-play or avoid in-play interruption due to territorially blocked videos, it might be best playing directly via YouTube external-link.png

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Head On by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1989)
(Jim Reid, William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Indie
TJR saysIf you're gonna get ripped off, it might as well be by yourself, right? Taking the potential of “Happy When It Rains” to its electrifying conclusion, the vroom-vroom remake revelled in the power and the glory of the Jesus and Mary Chain pop machine, where shades, riffs and attitude mean everything, and drama-laden statements like “The way I feel tonight, oh I could die and I wouldn't mind” seem perfectly reasonable in the heat of the moment. It's a super-elite few who can pull this off; the Mary Chain have IT. Frank Black kens the score.

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Degenerate by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1998)
(William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Alternative Rock
TJR saysFrom the horn-enhanced opener “I Love Rock n Roll” to the feedback-entrenched “I Hate Rock n Roll” finale, the epic “Munki” is unrelenting in its brilliance, all the more remarkable for the fact that the brothers were physically and mentally apart throughout the whole process. Decadent guilt of the whore hound and the coke hound is the play on William's masterful “Degenerate”: “My lover touch my darkened soul, My lover lit my darkened soul”. He himself steps up to the mic. Through tension comes the purest edge; Mark E. Smith knew.

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April Skies by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1987)
(Jim Reid, William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Indie
TJR saysFirst out as a single in April, 1987 and included on “Darklands” a few months later. Eschewing the notion of the Jesus and Mary Chain as noisenik provocateurs first and foremost, the sugar-coated follow up to “Psychocandy” propelled the group into the nation's pop consciousness. “April Skies” was the peak of the phenomenon, hitting #8 in the UK charts, placing those shaggy bouffants in all the glossy pop mags, with no parental advisory: “Hand in hand in a violent life, making love on the edge of a knife”. To all the cool kids born under an April sky, salut!

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Happy When It Rains by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1987)
(Jim Reid, William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Indie
TJR saysSecond single from “Darklands” (August, 1987). The uplifting chords and the lyrical juxtoposition of joy and pain is a bit of a magic formula for the group, exemplified on this masterpiece: “You were my sunny day rain, You were the clouds in the sky, You were the darkest sky, But your lips spoke gold and honey, That's why I'm happy when it rains, I'm happy when it pours.” You get plenty of opportunities to be happy in East Kilbride, let me tell you.

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Never Understand by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1985)
(Jim Reid, William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Post-Punk
TJR saysFirst out as a single in February, 1985 and included on “Psychocandy” towards the end of the year. And we'll have fun fun fun 'til my Daddy takes my Einstürzende Neubauten collection away…

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Between Planets by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1989)
(Jim Reid, William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Indie
TJR saysFrom “Automatic” (October, 1989). Who knew bass synths and drum machines could be so… alluring? Some say that Rock n Roll is sex; if that's true then it's all here in the spine-tingling build-up, the rousing finale and the warm afterglow. Three minute heroes.

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Sometimes Always by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1994)
(William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Indie
TJR saysFirst out as a single in July, 1994 and included on “Stoned & Dethroned” a month later. On paper, Reid & Sandoval doing their Hazlewood & Sintra was a marriage made in heaven and so it proved to be on this lush and melodic love drama, prompting at least one wag to label them the Jesus and Mazzy Chain! Hands down, the best boy-girl duet since MacGowan and MacColl.

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Black by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1998)
(William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Indie
TJR saysFrom “Munki” (June, 1998). Greatest TV moments that never happened, pt.1… JAMC: “Tonight Matthew, we're going to be Teenage Fanclub”… KELLY: “Cool as fuck idea boys, take it away”… haha I jest, but it's undeniable that an unlikely west coast folk jangle subtly underpins this impeccable classic. Lest there be any doubt as to who you're actually listening to, the black runs deep in the lyrics, but hope springs eternal; “And my mood is black, And my eyes are black, And my life is black, And my love is black… Turn the good thing back, Kiss the good thing back, Make the good thing back, Be the good thing back”. For me, the second greatest cut on their 17-song magnum opus.

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Something I Can’t Have by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1993)
(Jim Reid, William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Indie
TJR saysFrom the “Sound Of Speed” EP (July, 1993). You could make a case for any of the 4 tracks (inc. “Snakedriver”, “Write Record Release Blues” & “Little Red Rooster”) on this extended play making the ten, but obviously it's a super-competitive territory and I'm forced to settle on just the one, “Something I Can’t Have”, where the shiny pop surface belies an underlying darkness… “come fly with me come lie with me come die with me”. A Sinatra love-in it ain't…

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Upside Down by The Jesus and Mary Chain (1984)
(Jim Reid, William Reid)

10.0 “Utterly perfect” Dream Pop / Shoegaze
TJR saysThe debut single (November, 1984). Hark the EK upstarts with a new ringing sound to rip the joint like never before. It was an education for the 15-year-old me as I recall, and it didn't take too long for the disbelief to make way for the epiphany. 50,000 purchasers felt the barbed wire love.




TJR presents… Top 10: The Jesus and Mary Chain (via Spotify)

  • Runtime: 37m.
  • To access shuffle-play or overcome other issues with the embed application, it might be best playing directly via Spotify external-link.png

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