14. THE DARKNESS "Growing On Me"
Fad retro metal here from the flavours of the half a week from 2003, featuring the constantly inappropriately-dressed frontman Justin Hawkins, who would eventually produce an imagination-free cover of "This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us" under the guise of British Whale, with a video featuring darts supremo Phil "The Power" Taylor.
(DON'T look it up. It's not worth it.)
I did not fall under the spell of these particular flashes in the pan at the time, when they were suddenly selling out arenas and contending for Christmas number one before completely disappearing, though many of my contemporaries did, so I have had plenty of exposure to their works.
I must say that this isn't nearly as bad as I remember - "I Believe In A Thing Called Love" was always the more annoying of their main two singles, and this one is relatively inoffensive hair metal, with the jarringly high voice of their lead singer deployed as a special weapon rather than all over the bloody place - so you could say, it's grown on me!!! (cymbal crash, mild jeering) Ooh, tough crowd...
15. GOLDFRAPP "Strict Machine"
Another act who had a brief flirtation with mainstream success, Goldfrapp draw a shocking lineage from our friends Fox, who back in the day (and on one of the earlier disks) built a reputation on a coquettish frontwoman and off-kilter pop stylings - in this case, strictly electronic in flavour, like Moloko taken to its logical end.
As it's all very "ooh, I might have sex with you and it might be a bit pervy", I really don't have a great deal else to say about this, so let me pull the curtain back a crack on this business we call show: sound engineers rate diva-ish antics by artists they process on the Alison Goldfrapp Scale, and let's just say no-one else tops that out.
16. THE ARK "Clamour For Glamour"
Here come some Swedes. Seasoned swedes, at that, with a career spanning nineteen years between 1991 and 2010. And pretty popular ones as well - in Sweden at least, with three of their five albums going to number one. A stark contrast to their career in the UK, which was crowned by a single reaching 121; turns out we're not the centre of the universe after all!
You would be forgiven for thinking, after the run we've been on, that this track was largely included due to the word "Glamour" in the title. But no: I'm pleased to report that they are thematically correct, being both glam AND rockers, and this is a pretty good offering.
I did promise myself I wouldn't just parrot facts out of the book that came with the compilation - for one thing, it gives you less incentive to buy it, and I do actually recommend you do so - but it would be remiss of me not to mention that they toured with The Darkness at one point since, well, we've just mentioned The Darkness. So, y'know... There's that.
17. FOXY SHAZAM "Unstoppable"
Oh my sweet lord Schumacher, we've actually made it to the final track of the final disk of the compilation, some approximately seventeen years after starting to write about it! It's not pat on the back time yet, though; to be frank I usually drift off a bit on this disk after Marilyn Manson, so let's have a quick listen to this one and see if it evokes any distant memories...
(twenty minutes later)
...No. It hasn't left an impression. OK, so as an essentially new offering, what do we have here? Well it's definitely glam in a good many ways, including the stomping beat, marching bass and inspirational riff, coupled with the Freddie Mercury-esque vocal (they really should have shelled out for Queen. A bit of "Seven Seas Of Rhye" would have gone down a storm at the end of the last disk). They're also American, despite sounding very English - it's usually the other way round, so that's quite heartening to hear for once!
It's obviously not the most heavily played or well remembered song on this collection - which is a by-product of ending a glam retrospective in the 2000s, I guess - but it's a perfectly cromulent offering, and one which I was glad to re-listen to tonight as I finally wave a fond farewell to the compilation. It's been a journey not without its rough patches, but one that was very much worth taking.
Perhaps you'd like to follow in my footsteps?