Billy MacKenzie - Outernational
Liam McGrady 21/08/2006
Billy MacKenzie? Nah, the name meant sod all to me until a few hours ago either. But through the powers of the internet you can find out anything these days; if you type your name into Google you'll probably find some mad bastard has made a Wikipedia entry for you (bet you all go and do that now). So I find out that Mr MacKenzie was actually a real music type person who unfortunately committed suicide in 1997 aged just 39. A Scottish singer, he was part of a band named The Associates before going on to a solo career (the only other notable fact I could find was that The Smiths track, 'William It Was Really Nothing' was said to have been penned about MacKenzie as Morrissey had a bit of a soft spot for the singer). For whatever reason, his 1992 record 'Outernational' is being re-released by EMI and a copy has ended up in my hands.
Now I can quite often be found arguing the case that the late 80's and early 90's weren't bad periods for music, but hearing 'Outernational' it feels as though new evidence has come to light blowing my argument clean out of the water. I can't actually believe that someone had the audacity to pile so many sickly smooth tracks onto one record. Was there not a synthesizer amnesty at the end of the 80's, following a musicians trade union revolt in the wake of Phil Collins' '…But Seriously', or did I just dream that!? About the only thing worth mentioning in relation to this record is that it contains a cover of Stevie Wonder's 'Pastime Paradise', which in turn was sampled by Coolio to create 'Gangsta's Paradise'.
There must be some significant reason for 'Outernational' to warrant a re-issue, but after sitting through ten tracks of deathly dull synth pop I really don't have the inclination or interest to find out.
'Outernational' is out now on EMI