Kicked just before the top 10 is......
Let me get this out of the way first - I Know Where It’s At by All Saints is the best example of an act represented by a lesser number from their catalog when it comes to their debut! Give me almost anything else by All Saints to rate and it is pretty much a guarantee the girls are getting a perfect score from me (Never Ever unfortunately wasn’t released first in the UK, as that would have even been in contention for my 11!) except for that woeful Lady Marmalade cover, actually add Under The Bridge to that list – All Saints just weren’t great at covers, but I digress. Despite this, I Know Where It’s At still got an 8.8 from me, so it is certainly strong, but gets devoured by the competition for me.
I Know Where It’s At (and this may surprise you) has done amazing getting to 11th place too. Until the very last days of voting, All Saints were working hard on gaining ground. If we had stopped voting even 3 days early, the girls might not even have been in the top 20. I can actually reveal this to you all – for two weeks of voting, neither All Saints nor the Spice Girls were in the top 30!! Just how far away the Spice Girls were, you’ll find out #soon!
Let’s talk positives first - I Know Where It’s At is a little bop! The girls sound awesome here, the harmonies kick ass, Shaznay has a moment to show what she is capable of with the rap, but my favourite is the vocal layering that leads to the punchy “I Know Where It’s At”, what a moment!! The best thing it does too is serve its purpose of introducing All Saints spectacularly! You would certainly pay attention to those girls after hearing this number first by them; and to then follow it up with Never Ever - masterful!
I Know Where It’s At certainly put the girls on their way, reaching #4 on the UK Charts and paving the way to great things for them. It was less successful in Australia, where the original release only made #67 but a re-release after Never Ever (which topped our chart for a record 7 weeks), saw it get to #12. The song was written by Shaznay Lewis and Karl Gordon, but Walter Becker and Donald Fagan are also credited as writers due to the sample from Steely Dan’s The Fez.
All Saints started out as All Saints 18.104.22.168 with members Melanie Blatt, Shaznay Lewis and Simone Rainford. Their inception was first inspired by the sounds of En Vogue and Eternal, with the song ‘Silver Shadow’ as their debut. The lack of success and departure of member Simone led them to be dropped from their first label ZTT Records. Melanie and Shaznay decided to soldier on and recruited sisters Nicole and Natalie Appleton to join under the shortened band name All Saints eventually signing with London Records. With this line-up, they released their debut album All Saints which, while peaking only at #2 on the UK charts went on to become the third best-selling girl group album of all time in the UK and housing the smash we are rating today as well as Never Ever, Under The Bridge/Lady Marmalade and Bootie Call.
All Saints’ second album (Saints & Sinners) would be their final with London Records for some years as they disbanded shortly after giving us the masterpieces Pure Shores and Black Coffee (shocking but no less amazing winner of their discography rate) amid in-fighting among the members. They would come back a few years later, signed with Parlophone Records with their third studio album Studio 1 (which contains the massively underrated Rock Steady). This album flopped, peaking only at #40 so they were dropped by the label. The girls would return in 2013 after some well received live performances led to them signing with London Records again and bringing out Red Flag. As of January 2016, All Saints have sold 12 million records! You know what is going to be a head scratcher for me? Picking a song for Part 2 for them among the likes of Never Ever, Pure Shores or Rock Steady!!
Over to PopJustice -
Zar-Unity (9) compares royalty with royalty - One of the coolest girl groups next to the Sugababes. The singers complement each other nicely, and they sure groove together! Tech: 5 Taste: 4 = 9 points. Kermit_The_Frog (5) and I share a favourite - One of their weaker efforts, so a shame that it was their debut. Shaznay is obviously the glue that holds the entire project together, though I do like that you can always hear all 4 voices on their chorus (***cough*** Little Mix ***cough***) which, while hardly En Vogue or Sugababes (MKS) levels of harmonizing is still welcome…
Riiiiiiiii (9.3) likes All Saints in all shapes, sizes or eras! - Love All Saints. Especially after that “comeback” album! But old school All Saints is also amazing. ComeOnGloria (7) was Team Spice Girls until he heard God! - They were a bit too cool for school for my liking... I changed my mind when Never Ever came out. Saviodxl (9.2) may find people who disagree but this is somewhat correct - British girlgroups of the 90s >>> American girlgroups of the 90s. Filippa (4) puts on her villain mask again! - Never was a fan of All Saints. I do like some songs but this one not.
Trouble In Paradise (6) is hilarious when he doesn’t mince his words - Part of me loves this song and part of me thinks this song is unbearably lame. GhettoPrincess (7) does not like Queen Shaznay’s beginnings - This is such a feel good track although the ‘rapping’ drags it down. Empty Shoebox (5) is nothing if not objective! - Well, the lyrics haven't aged well here, have they? Still, they're doing better than the sunglasses. It's okay, apart from the ending. I subtracted a point for that.
Untouchable Ace (10) says something that sound like an assault to my ears! How is this a discovery??? Was Never Ever that uncontestable, nothing else stuck (answer is yes, probably) - What a discovery, I am very impressed. LondonRain (10) stabs me in the heart! - I know Never Ever is much loved around here, but I prefer I Know Where It’s At (the song that got me into All Saints) and I’m very happy to see it in this rate. Shaznay’s rap is a particular highlight. DominoDancing (7) is a harsh but fair critic - Their voices sound great harmonizing, and at least it has a detectable chorus. Missing some inspiration though.
Iheartpoptarts (10) stabs me in the heart twice!!! - More fun than ‘Pure Shores’. Fight me PJ. Unnameable (9) has fond memories to share – Fun song that stays in the memory, but not quite up to their best moments. DJHazey (9) gives us some lovely memories to take us away - I recall All Saints being somewhat of a rival to the Spice Girls and people used to unfairly consider them a lesser entity, like on another planet. Granted, I adore more songs from their later albums than I did their debut, but this one will always be a bop for the ages. My first memory of All Saints was literally falling in love with the video for "Never Ever" in the sense that the sensual sound of the song played so well with how attractive the group was to 14 year old Hazey.
So, your 90s top cut is Wannabe by Spice Girls.
It was very close to be something completely different for most of the voting period, and that was –
Hold On by Wilson Phillips!
The extra voters towards the end can really make a difference!
What will that mean for the other decades also as we enter the pointy end?