In this irregular series we will be looking at some of those, ahem, “lost classics”, which we have recently found as a result of taking the cushions off the sofa. Ground rules are that the song in question must be over ten years old. We are not aiming to pick ‘cheesy’ songs from your youth and ours, but rather remind you of a time when pop music meant much, much more than Nicki Minaj, LMFAO and Taylor Swift. We also wish to remind you of some pop acts whom were actually pretty decent, but of whom you may have forgotten.
In this series we have tended to chose our favourite song from each featured artist as it has always seemed the obvious choice. Today that trend changes. ‘Sweet Dreams’ categorically isn’t our favourite Rachel Stevens song however it was such an important ‘pop event’ of our latter childhood, a milestone if you will, that to talk about Rachel Stevens and not discuss ‘Sweet Dreams’ would upset us terribly. So whilst we can not discuss Rachel Stevens’ pop career without mentioning the glorious highs of ‘Some Girls‘, ‘More More More’ and ‘Negotiate With Love’, we are gathered here today to pay our respects to the tune that was ‘Sweet Dreams.’
‘Sweet Dreams’ was produced by Bloodshy & Avant. If that means nothing to you, then you should know that they were responsible for one of this century’s biggest pop smashes, Britney’s ‘Toxic.’ That they ended up working with Rachel Stevens is very much a ‘right time and right place’ kind of situation with the song rumoured to have originally been destined for Britney herself. The same Rachel who was pretty yet severely lacking charisma and very definitely least talented of all 7 in the S Club. Yet, with the help of such a stonker of a song behind her, Rachel certainly did the song justice, with it reaching a very respectable number 2 in the UK charts in September 2003. The song launched Rachel Stevens as a popstar and went a very long way to launching Rachel Stevens as a viable brand in and of herself.
We distinctly remember everything about the song: the performances on TOTP Saturday, and CD:UK, the dancing, the glamour. Those bloody ribbons everywhere! The music video itself is like a time warp: they sure don’t make them like this any more. The choreography: simple yet alluring. And all the time Rachel pouting away like a gorgeous goddess. There’s few pop songs we hold as much affection for as we do this one. At the time we thought Rachel was as big as Kylie, and we very definitely preferred ‘Sweet Dreams’ to ‘Can’t Get You Outta My Head‘. (Yes, we know they weren’t strictly speaking contemporaries, but they are grouped together in our head, along with Spiller & Sophie Ellis Bextor’s ‘Groovejet‘, as some of the biggest female pop songs of that period.)
Rachel’s lack of actual talent may have been her ultimate downfall, but as an impressionable 12 year old we truly thought she was at the sharp end of her game, and in her defence she did have a knack for ending up with decent songs. Rachel Stevens we salute you.