1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear – Black Lace’s Greatest Ever Party Album


1001 Albums You Must Die Before You Hear

#40: Black Lace – Greatest Ever Party Album (2010)

MATT KELLY is rattled by an album that demands you not think, that you just shuffle mindlessly onto the dance floor at your cousin’s wedding.

Despite the considerable depths I’m willing to go to in pursuit of this project, digging through all of Black Lace’s studio albums would perhaps finish even me off. Instead, I content myself with this compilation of one of the worst bands Britain has ever produced, which collects the material that terrorized the charts in the mid-80s along with a whole pile of more recently recorded trash, amounting to 21 songs and 74 minutes of the most childish garbage you’ll ever hear.

Just you try surviving ‘I Am The Music Man’. Actually prompting me to shout out loud “THIS IS SO SHIT!”, every aspect of every moment of sound seems designed to irritate. The stupid vocal, the stupid lyrics, the dreadful backing vocals, and a rhythm track that is the same two seconds looped endlessly (though the latter is true of every song.) AND IT’S FIVE MINUTES LONG. WHY? WHY!?!

I’m genuinely impressed that Black Lace were able to achieve this sound without being lobotomised. Their oily “cheeky chappy” personas and nasty bargain basement synths make you wish you could punch sound. To make matters more questionable, a lot of their songs are covers but instead of adding their spin they just straight up imitate the original as with ‘Tubthumping’. Of course, if you’re here for anything you’re here for the inexplicable mega-hit ‘Agadoo’ which, as I can’t strangle it, makes me want to strangle myself.

Faux-tropical vibes and dodgy ethnic takes (they even do ‘I Speaka Da Lingo’) add to the discomfort. The “classics” just keep coming with ‘Macarena’, ‘YMCA’, ‘Hot Hot Hot’, ‘Birdy Song’ – every awful, awkward school disco memory you’ve gladly forgotten, only rendered even more garish and dim-witted than the originals.


This is music which aggressively demands that you be uncritical, that you not think, that you just shuffle mindlessly onto the dance floor at your cousin’s wedding and become your out-of-touch oblivious middle-aged aunts and uncles. A dreadful glimpse of a dystopian dimension where the lowest common denominator is also the highest common denominator, Black Lace’s utter lack of intelligence, subtlety and substance makes them a piss-the-bed-worthy nightmare for any music snob.

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Matthew Kelly is the most important person in the music industry – the type of obsessive nerd without whom it would have no reason to produce box sets and nine-hour long documentaries.

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