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Album: Dancing in the Moonlight: The Best of Toploader *
# Song Title   Time
1)    Dancing In the Moonlight
2)    Time of My Life
3)    Let the People Know
4)    Achilles Heel
5)    Only For a While
6)    Breathe
7)    Have & To Hold
8)    Hero Underground
9)    Lady Let Me Shine
10)    High Flying Bird
11)    Just Hold On
12)    Higher State
13)    Cloud 9
14)    Some Kind of Wonderful
15)    Dancing In the Moonlight
 
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Championed by Paul Weller, Eastbourne five-piece Toploader began their career as Brit-pop's next big hope, but ended it as one of the most critically derided acts of their generation. The title of this 15-track compilation, released a year before they bravely decided to re-form, is undoubtedly the reason why. While their cover of the King Harvest classic started out as an inoffensive piece of throwaway pop, it soon became one of the early-2000s' most inescapable songs, thanks to its use on a supermarket TV commercial, and a Stargate remix which clogged up the charts for nearly six months. Unable to compete with the huge albatross around their neck, Toploader's career fizzled out to complete indifference just two years later, but as this belated Best of Toploader shows, their brand of '70s-tinged psychedelic rock never really deserved the vitriol that it suffered. Ignore "Dancing in the Moonlight" (featured here in its original form and an acoustic version), and the eight tracks from 1999 debut Onka's Big Moka have aged considerably better than many of their celebrated contemporaries, particularly the gorgeously emotive piano-led ballad "Achilles Heel," the rousing Southern soul of "Just Hold On," and the Jamiroquai-esque acid-jazz of "Let the People Know," all of which showcase mop top-haired frontman Joseph Washbourne's soulful, gravelly vocals. However, the four tracks (and two B-sides) chosen from their flop 2002 sophomore Magic Hotel explain how their stock fell so fast, with only the uplifting Motown-tinged pop of lead single "Time of My Life" able to sustain the whole retro funk-rock revival shtick of its predecessor. With just two albums under their belt, Dancing in the Moonlight's track list virtually picks itself, but while there's nothing new for the fans who stuck with them through thick and thin, it's still a highly listenable collection which proves that Toploader were nowhere near as bad as their reputation suggests. ~ Jon O'Brien
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