Listen to this track by Hull-based popsters and Housemartins splinter group The Beautiful South. It’s “Rotterdam (or Anywhere)”, a smash UK single from 1996 as taken from the band’s fifth album Blue is the Colour, the second record by the band to feature its newest member and co-lead vocalist Jacqui Abbot
This is a gentle, lilting song that is barely conceals some pretty bitter misanthropy. It’s classic pop music contrast for which this band, and writers Paul Heaton and Dave Rotheray, are known.
The Beautiful South’s back catalogue shows a track record of bright, sunny pop songs that are lyrically opposite, with the love song to the names of several women in “Song For Whoever” being something of a non-love song, just as a for-instance. To me, this contrast makes their material very three-dimensional, further developed by the sonic textures of male voices and female voices sharing leads.
Along with Heaton’s lead voice, the band employed singer Briana Corrigan, who was then replaced by Jacqui Abbot, who was a less-than-minimum-wage shelf stacker in a supermarket before she was heard singing karaoke in a club, and recruited by Heaton. Read more