The Grid v The B-52’s – Private Idaho

26 02 2008

The B-52’s

Two bands I became rather obsessed with when I was a teenager were The B-52’s and The Grid. The B-52’s one isn’t that unusual. They make fun senseless off-kilter pop music and hearing their ‘Cosmic Thing’ album soon had me tracing backwards and discovering gems amongst their earlier material. Even since then, I’ve picked up the odd album by them that I didn’t own and generally found at least a few worthwhile moments on every record. Anything post-‘Cosmic Thing’ is fairly hideous though and the new ‘Funplex’ single makes me want to gag. But ‘Whammy’, ‘Mesopotamia’, ‘Wild Planet’ and the eponymous debut are all well worth checking out.

The Grid is probably a stranger one. Two non-descript blokes in their thirties making noodly electronica (one of whom was Dave Ball of Soft Cell). Why would anyone care? Well, when I was 14, they released ‘Floatation’, and for some odd reason, I happened to be recording the television onto a cassette recorder as apprximately 30 seconds of said song was played on MTV. Having already been a fan of Acid House, this seemed to make sense to me. And after listening over and over to those thirty seconds, I was soon in awe of this record, which I now had to own.

But times were different then. In a pre-internet age where you actually had to go to shops to buy records and they couldn’t always get what you want, I was unable to get my hands on the record despite my incessant nagging of shop assistants. Fortunately, it was my older brother who was able to return from a summer working in London with requested 12″ record. Although, I did subsequently track down a remix 12″, a 7″, the follow-up single which had another version of the track on it and the album which featured another re-worked version.

I’m not sure what exactly sparked my fascination with this song. It’s certainly a great song – it was a bit of an Ibiza Chill-out classic, apparently – but I’m also aware that it’s not exactly ‘Good Vibrations’ or ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ or whatever. But it still does it for me. Every time I hear it, it gives me inordinate amounts of pleasure. If I hear it used in the background of some holiday programme or whatever, there’s part of me that is hugely thrilled by it.

My reason for going on a tangent about these two bands is because I happened to come across a Grid re-mix of The B-52’s ‘Private Idaho’ which is pretty wonderful, actually and can be listened to here. You can also watch someone’s homemade video for the song (well, one of the remixes) I’ve been rambling about, ‘Floatation’ by The Grid below.

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