How XTC, Radiohead, Big Star and Semisonic connect to my September 1990 Chart


Learn more about an era of music and the connections behind the songs. Interwoven with personal anecdotes, commentary and artist history. A unique way to tap into music nostalgia and discovery.

My Personal Chart, September 8, 1990

See the chart here

The companion Spotify playlist on the left has all the songs discussed in the blog. The Jellyfish playlist features only the songs discussed in Part 2.

My Personal Chart Blog, September 8, 1990

Part 2, Section 2 – The Power of Pop? The Ecstasy of the Bends, Big Star Worship, and a Semisonic Reunion

Golden Blunders/The Posies (95)


This song was just getting started on my chart, in its 2nd week, and would go on to my top 5. Its title, obviously a play on the Beatles song “Golden Slumbers”, has a vastly different meaning. This song is about making mistakes that last a lifetime, alluding to teen pregnancy and the aftermath of a failed marriage (“Four weeks seemed like a long time then, but nine months is longer now” and “Honeymoons will never start, bonds will blow apart just as fast as they were made”). At the time I never thought about the lyrics, the song just fit into that Power Pop sweet spot. The song certainly had an impact on Ringo Starr who covered it on his album, “Time Takes Time”, the album I spoke of in the last post concerning Jellyfish.

The song was another Modern Rock top 20 (#17 peak) and the band had 8 albums between 1988-2016. Their commercial peak came in 1993 with the album “Frosting On The Beater” that produced The #4 “Dream All Day” and “Flavor of The Month”, a song that addressed the rise of oh so many grunge bands from their hometown of Seattle. Funny the album had a bit more of a grunge factor than the previous album with production from Don Fleming, who helmed albums by Screaming Trees and Hole.

Like Jellyfish, the driving force of the Posies, Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow met in high school. They got major label support for their 2nd album “Dear 23” and producer John Leckie was brought on. 2 of the albums that he produced over the years were XTC’s “White Music” from 1978 and Radiohead’s “The Bends” in 1995. XTC was certainly an influence on the Posies. The XTC debut album features my introduction to the band, “This Is Pop”, a song that mixes a Post-Punk sensibility with a Power Pop style chorus. “The Bends” is my favorite album of the ‘90s, with the title track definitely among my top 100 songs of all-time. Similar to the Jellyfish song “Joining a Fan Club” it has a great instrumental bridge, but the sonicscape of the song is quite different; dissonance, slicing guitar, feedback, and a quiet/loud tone. Right behind that song would be “Just” a gloriously soaring anthem that I was surprised only reached #37 on the Modern Rock chart (though #19 in the UK). Interestingly the band’s 2nd single in 1993 was called “Pop Is Dead” (not available on Spotify – seek it out on YouTube). I wasn’t expecting to go on this tangent.

In 1993 Auer and Stringfellow joined a resurrected Big Star (while remaining in the Posies), the influential ‘70s band led by Alex Chilton that Rolling Stone magazine called “the quintessential American Power Pop band”. Their song “September Gurls” from the 1974 album “Radio City” was covered by The Bangles on their monster 1986 album “Different Light”. The only thing I knew about Big Star was the name until now. Before Big Star, Alex Chilton was the lead singer of the late ‘60s band The Box Tops, who topped the Hot 100 in 1967 with “The Letter” when he was only 16. They almost reached the top again in 1968 with “Cry Like A Baby”, stalling at #2.

Find the rest here

By: Radio Tim 
Sep 23, 2020