Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Five b-sides that are better than their a-sides!

Over the years I've bought many hundreds of singles physically or digitally, and every now and then I've found a b-side (bonus track) that's better than the main single itself! Here are five of my favourite examples, kicking off with the song that inspired this thread;

Tensnake feat Fiora - 58 BPM (b-side to See Right Through)

There's only a teaser video for this on Youtube at the moment but track down the full song on iTunes if you're intrigued. German DJ Marco Niemerski, better known as Tensnake is perhaps best known for his brilliant early 90s house throwback Mainline. For his latest single release See Right Through he's enlisted the vocal talents of Fiora. Whilst that track is perfectly good in its own right, it pales in comparison to the gorgeously downtempo 58 BPM which is like Cyril Hahn producing a Jessie Ware track, sublime.

Kylie Minogue - Made Of Glass (b-side to Giving You Up)

Kylie recorded a few new tracks for her 2004 Ultimate Kylie compilation but only the now classic I Believe In You and the less interesting Giving You Up made the cut. The latter was released as a single in early 2005 and gave the Australian legend another UK top ten hit but I can't help but feel that the swirling electro pop of b-side Made Of Glass, which was cut from potential inclusion on Ultimate Kylie, would have been a far bigger hit for her. Whilst Giving You Up was a fairly clunky and pedestrian album filler type track with a terrible video, Made Of Glass was one of the best things Kylie released during the noughties, a real missed opportunity. 

Take That - We All Fall Down (b-side to I'd Wait For Life)

For the third single from huge comeback album Beautiful World, Take That mysteriously decided to follow up two deservedly massive hits (and now modern classics) Patience and Shine with the nice but dull ballad I'd Wait For Life. The song was more or less a Gary Barlow piano solo and didn't exactly show off the band as a whole like 'obvious single that never was' Reach Out would have done. The single limped into the UK chart at No.17 before dropping out of the top 40 the following week so very few people got to hear the brilliantly melodic acoustic track We All Fall Down, led by Mark Owen but with fantastic harmonies from the whole band. Luckily, they finally saw its potential, beefed the production up a bit and included it on the re-release of Beautiful World alongside Rule The World ready for Xmas 2007!

Oasis - The Masterplan (b-side to Wonderwall)

I'm not going to try and argue that The Masterplan deserved single status over the iconic Wonderwall but as one of the most famous b-sides ever, it would be rude not to include it in this post. Mancunian indie rock act Oasis were at their career peak when Wonderwall was released and almost everything they touched turned to gold. (What's The Story) Morning Glory? was quickly becoming one of the defining albums of the 90s, and indeed is now one of the biggest selling albums of all time. But even the b-sides from the era are almost all universally heralded as Oasis classics. You get the feeling that they could have put out a double album in 1995 without suffering any dip in quality. Sung by Noel Gallagher, The Masterplan is a stirring Britpop anthem complete with lavish production values that make it sound far too grand to be wasted as a b-side. Despite criminally not featuring on any of the band's albums, the song was later the title track to b-sides compilation The Masterplan and also featured on the 2006 Stop The Clocks EP as well as the best of compilation album of the same name.

Delta Goodrem - Take Me Home (b-side to In This Life)

For me, Australian singer Delta Goodrem is queen of everything the b-side. As my all time favourite artist I've bought all of her singles on CD and therefore got to enjoy all of her high quality b-sides, even if this has meant obtaining the majority of them on import from Australia, seeing as she stopped releasing music in the UK in 2005! The Riddle, Hear Me Calling, Here I Am, Silence Be Heard, Fever, Beautiful Madness and Uncovered are just a selection of the best songs of Delta's that she deemed not good enough for inclusion on an album! But it's 2007's Take Me Home that's the real head scratcher. Whilst a-side In This Life was a jaunty and uplifting pop song, a No.1 in Australia and probably the perfect lead single, tucked away on the b-side was one of the bravest tracks musically that Delta had produced to this point. Take Me Home is a dramatic ambient dance track similar to something Madonna might have done during the Ray Of Light era. The chorus is soaring and triumphant and it's frankly unbelievable that she didn't feel this song was fit for inclusion on her mostly rather pedestrian self titled third album Delta. Not only would this have made a great album track, it was worthy of being a huge hit single!

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