"You can't defeat the enemy by singing his song"
Pity poor old Edwyn Collins. If the world were a just and fair place, we would be hailing Orange Juice as the crown princes of 80s indie, but instead it’s The Smiths that everyone remembers. Understandably peeved, Collins went off in a huff to record a string of micro-budget solo albums which failed to sell, yet by a bizarre twist of fate one of his songs was used in a car commercial at some point in the mid 90s, and he was instantly elevated to ‘novelty one hit wonder’ status. Never mind, the money he made would ensure that his next album was going to be the one that would establish him as a commercial force…
I’m Not Following You is an album by a man who has years of experience under his belt. He’s realised that not only is the majority of life shallow and unfulfilling, but the majority of popular music is as well. From the old campaigner berating both grunge and brit-pop on the brilliant “Keep On Burning”, to the guy who laments the passing of “Country Rock”, it’s obvious that Edwyn Collins cares little for the taste makers. This was the album that he wanted to make and if people liked it, then that was a lucky coincidence.
Nicely diverse, I’m Not Following You shows that Collins was happy to try his hand at any style. From he camp 60s nostalgia of “Magic Piper Of Love”, the croonathon of “No One Waved Goodbye” or the crunchy pop-rockers of “Downer” and “Adidas World”, it’s obvious that Collins’ knack for a great pop tune is still operating at full swing. However, sometimes an experiment does go awry , such as on the self -indulgent and unfunny “Seventies Night” and the unnecessary coda of the title track.
The positives do outweigh the negatives though, and by the end of I’m Not Following You you are left baffled as to why this album sank like a stone upon its release, as it was far superior to just about anything that was clogging up the charts at the time.
The world is simply not a just or fair place.