Endless Loop: Wide Open Space

mansunHave you ever had one of those songs that gets stuck in your head for days…weeks…years? Sure you have. These are the songs that always make the cut. The songs on repeat. We all have them. I have a ton. Welcome back to Endless Loop.

“Wide Open Space” by Mansun

As I’ve written on more than one occasion, I was pretty swept up in the second coming of the British invasion in the mid 90’s when scores of Britpop records began washing ashore here in the states. I’ve always credited my fascination and adulation of these bands and artists to my increasing boredom of and dissatisfaction with the then dying grunge scene, as second, third, and fourth versions of grunge carbon copies began decimating the airwaves. The American alt-nation had become stagnant, a bland homogenization of distorted guitar tones and incorrigible yarling. And so, I looked across the sea for something that sounded new…something that sounded unique…something that sounded exciting. And I found Blur, and Oasis, and Pulp, and Suede, and so many others. I also discovered Chester, England’s Mansun and their glorious pop rock single “Wide Open Space.”

From the 1997 album Attack of the Grey Lantern, the single was the only song from the band to ever make any kind of wave in the US, though the band’s later albums would be hailed as classics in the Williams household. But I was instantly hooked with “Wide Open Space.” Somehow, those two opening guitar notes played repeatedly gripped me in anticipation for what would come next. What follows is a catchy, hummable earworm that I’ve been unable to escape from for almost 20 years. Pulling from Bowie, Duran Duran, and every other great British recording artist you’ve ever heard of, and probably some you haven’t, Mansun essentially made perfect pop songs, a kind of sweet, bubblegummy music with dark undertones. It all felt so refreshing.

The band would eventually get weirder (Six) and poppier (Little Kix), and I was always bummed that they petered out while working on a fourth LP. But, Britpop was all but dried up by that point in time anyway, which sometimes makes me wonder if the music fans over there weren’t as bored with the later waves of Britpop bands as I was with the defilement of grunge and alt-rock. Maybe we should have just traded around 1999 or so. Though, I would have gotten the better deal.

“You’ll never get to heaven with a smile on your face from me.”


Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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