The Wedding Present – Hit Parade 2

What I Think of When I Think of This Artist (part 6)

David Gedge is a great example of a highly effective but not great singer. That is, he can’t compete on technical grounds with, you know, Mariah Carey, but he is able to do what he needs to do to immerse me in the songs. I think he’s excellent. I have a pretty high tolerance for “bad” singing, but I don’t necessarily define it the same way others might.

What I Think of This Album

Hit Parade 2 is sort of the inverse of its companion release. Whereas Hit Parade 1’s strength was the covers, here the originals shine (even though the Mud cover is fantastic).

“Flying Saucer” is warm-blooded, fuzzy, and spiky; this is an excellent single, finding the band in a good sense of humor as it delivers one of the most straightforward love songs of Gedge’s career (“She kind of launched / A flying saucer right inside my head”). The hilariously titled “Boing!” incorporates more changes still, as Gedge attempts a falsetto and the approach is considerably lighter than the Seamonsters songs (until the rave-up at the end), and overall this single works very well. “Love Slave” is a bizarre experiment that finds Gedge alternately speaking and screaming, over either a light arrangement or an angular noisefest, and needless to say, it’s not terribly successful (though the instrumental freakouts in the middle and at the end are highly enjoyable). “Sticky” happily returns to the sound of Bizarro with perhaps a bit more breathing room, and it’s an engaging, propulsive track, though a tad weak lyrically. The cosmos theme is continued with the two-sided “The Queen of Outer Space,” which alternates between thick rock and quieter passages; it’s just okay, but Gedge really stumbles lyrically on this one. December, of course, brings “No Christmas” a sludgy ballad that is distinguished by the rare sound of Gedge holding a note out for over two bars, as well as some fine guitar work and a lengthy silent bridge; as far as experiments go, the band pulled this one off well.

On to the covers! The Weddoes appropriately paired glam song “Rocket” (by Mud) with “Flying Saucer,” and do a bang-up job with it. The countdown in the chorus is an album highlight. The thought of four pasty Brits taking on “Theme from Shaft” makes me uncomfortable, and it seems like folly to try to live up to the Stax house band, but they don’t embarrass themselves on this truncated version, even if Gedge’s delivery is laughable. As if covering one legend wasn’t enough, the band moved on to Bowie in September, performing “The Chant of the Ever Circling Family.” This one isn’t for me. Bow Wow Wow is the surprise honoree with a cover of “Go Wild In the Country,” all elbows and knees. The fourth outer space related song on the album is a cover of “UFO,” apparently a theme song to a British tv show from the 1970s by Barry Gray (who also did the score for the more famous Thunderbirds show). The band rounded out the year with a wooly spin through Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas;” this is a nice holiday gift for everyone.

The Best Thing About This Album

Without a doubt, July’s single “Flying Saucer” b/w “Rocket” – that cover is so damn fun.

Release Date

January 1993

The Cover Art

Another punt by the record company.

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