Home > I'm just saying, I'm not saying > YouTube videos only because if you actively want to download MP3s of these guys you’re insane: late 90s “Spice Girls with guitars” attempts

YouTube videos only because if you actively want to download MP3s of these guys you’re insane: late 90s “Spice Girls with guitars” attempts

First up, much love to all the Googlers we’ve been attracting over the past 24 hours who’ve been looking for “girls aloud fuck horses” and “girls aloud rape porn”. We’re more into the actual visceral loathing of women here at ILB rather than violent sexual attacks on them, but we do hope you’ll stay around. The next gratuitous mention of Amr Zaki on the site is for you, anyway.

Whatever, whatever. I was at the gym today, 30 minutes bike, 20 minutes crosstrainer, trying to not look like a music journalist/that Girls Aloud rape blog dude who bought this site all the new traffic. I get leg pains anyway, so 3/4 of the way through the crosstrainer session I looked up to try and find something to distract me. And, on one of the TV screens, was a music video.

What worries me is that the video was for “I Quit”, a #8 single from May 1999. And before my brain had enough time to process what was going on, literally in the split second I looked up at the screen, I went “Oh look, that’s the lead singer of Hepburn”.

This means that my brain has retained the image of what the lead singer of Hepburn looks like for nearly a decade, and can recall this information a lot easier than it can, say, my mother’s birthday, or what my Flickr log-in is. Problematic.

It’s not a great song by a long road, specifically the way Ms Lead singer pronounces the phrases “Kings Road” and “messiah” like someone released a noose from around her neck halfway through the second syllable. Hepburn were part of a massed rush of “Spice Girls with guitars” bands from around the latter part of the 90s, all of whom were foisted upon the marketplace with a blitz of publicity, all of whom stuttered around their opening singles, all of whom then found out that their record label had lost all interest straight afterwards.

21st Century Girls were the kings of this shit, though. The first place I saw them was actually the first place I’d ever seen the Spice Girls three years earlier, on an episode of Surprise Surprise. It was clearly always going to be downhill from that, despite the fact that 21st CG had the two most credible of late 90s pop figures, Brian Molko and Paul Oakenfold, on hand to lend them their “talents”. 21st Century Girls were crucified in Kerrang, ignored by the NME and Melody Maker (who at this point were trying to make Amen and Kittie happen, respectively), and unable to operate in an overly crowded pop marketplace at the time, and so bombed hard. The single got to #16, and the follow-ups and album were both shelved (although apparently released in Japan, presumably under the conceit that maybe the Japs would confuse them for Shampoo). If you like songs that sound exactly the fucking same as “Drop Dead Gorgeous” by Repubblica, you’ll love “21st Century Girls”, although they just make me pine for The Faders. Kate Turley from 21st Century Girls later went on to be in uber-tedious Dudley pop rockers The Fight, who at one point were signed to Fat Wreck Chords. Why not try turning up to a The Fight gig and repeatedly shouting “Hey, you used to be in 21st Century Girls” at her? I’m sure she’d appreciate it.

Then there was Thunderbugs with “Friends Forever” (#5, September 1999). An Independent article written at the time claimed that they received the largest ever outlay Sony had ever put down for a band’s debut single. Why exactly seven figure stacks were put down on insipid Eurorock based around a post-Monica and Rachel “us girls have gotta stick together in this world” message, I have zero idea. The most fun with it is how it occasionally threatens to turn into “I Touch Myself”, and then just reverts back to anaemic Roxette. The follow-up single failed to go top 40, the album was shelved, and I can’t find any reference to a single member of Thunderbugs out there, unless this Brigitta Jansen (same nationality, would be around the same age) is the same Teutonic guitarist that played in Thunderbugs. Why not write in and let us at ILB know that Thunderbugs haven’t been reduced to turning tricks for baccy?

We were going to end this round-up with the video to “Last One Standing” by Girl Thing (#8, July 2008), but a) contrary to what I remember, rather than being a guitar-pop act they were actually four harpies doing 5ive-with-tits melodies whilst dressed like they were attending the wrap party for Run Lola Run and b) Song BMG have actually banned the embedding of the video in any sites, possibly because of all the money free-embedding them is costing them off of Girl Thing’s back catalogue sales. One of Girl Thing went on to be on Hollyoaks, one went on to be a presenter on Nickelodeon, the other is “still in the industry”. I pretty much wish unhappiness on misery on all of them.

And so you have it, a cavalcade of certainly some of the best music I’ve ever heard. For those of you missing Hepburn, why not pay a visit to the bandmembers’ websites? Sarah Davies hasn’t found time to update hers since 2002, but thankfully there’s still an active messageboard (active in the sense that it’s not down, rather than anyone using it). Vocallist Jamie Benson, on the other hand, has the worst webpage ever, insofar as although it has no actual content on it other than the introductory message, it has lots of different sections which all require 10 seconds of flash loading before the site realises there’s nothing there and just sends you back to the home page. Which is a shame, as the “fun and games” section of her site sounded like a cracker.

  1. October 4, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    I always bore people about this, but when CD:UK used to get shortened to a half hour due to Grand Prix qualifying they’d often stick on a long feature or interview, and one week they did a long feature grouping Hepburn, the 21st Century Girls and boy band sets of brothers with guitars Next Of Kin and the Moffatts as “the new type of bands that play their own instruments”. Imagine what would have happened to pop if Brian Epstein had thought of that one, eh?

    (It was also CD:UK that ruined the 21st Century Girls, who it seems you may not remember were pretty openly Simon Fuller’s attempt to move on after the Spices dumped him – during their heavy promo schedule they were on being interviewed and Deeley put it to them that there was a heavy Republica element in there, to be reassured that “we’re more rock”. And that’s why Huggy Bear had to die)

    Frank are surely funnier in this specific regard, though?

  2. Dom Passantino
    October 4, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Frank were roughly the point that Xenomania were revealed as the Peter Risdale of pop, for sure.

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