To glitter or not to glitter? That is the question that presumably confronted Nerina Pallot when she wrote the discotastic Put Your Hands Up, one of the very best pop songs of last year. In fact, the song was so good that it was initally shopped to the queen of glittering disco-pop, Kylie Minogue, who bewilderingly didn’t choose to include it on her ultimately disappointing Aphrodite album. Rather than allow the song to be passed down through the ranks of the second-string disco divas, perhaps eventually turning up as a Geri Halliwell B-side or something, Nerina wisely chose to keep the song for herself.
Needless to say, what works for the empress of high camp might not necessarily work quite so well for a singer-songwriter best-known for Joni Mitchell-esque piano ballads and anti-war protest songs. Whether or not Nerina can pull off Gold Lame Hot Pants is a matter between herself and her loved ones, but artistically it probably would have been too much of a left turn, and a more bluesy, toned-down version subsequently appeared on her fourth album Year of the Wolf.
The final version was perfectly enjoyable, and enjoyed considerable airplay on Radio 2, but personally I found that it paled quite significantly in comparison to the ‘1987’ remix – presumably the template for the Kylie version – which Nerina kindly released as a B-side. As the title suggests, it’s pure retro cheese, with Nerina cooing, whispering and ‘la la la-ing’ over an 80s synth backing so chunky you could probably use it as insulating winter-wear.
Realistically, releasing this version in all likelihood would have been a mistake that alienated a lot of Nerina’s core audience, but as a more fairweather sort of fan I feel quite sad that this song never got the exposure it deserves. Kylie was a fool to let it go.
On a semi-related note, Nerina is by all accounts a very funny and intelligent woman, and this clip of her explaining how big-bucks major label record contracts frequently leave the act out of pocket is a fascinating watch, particularly if you are a fan of X Factor or poor hapless Joe McElderry, about whom Nerina – whose song Real Late Starter became the title track on Joe’s commercially disastrous debut album- fleetingly wonders ‘did I kill his career?’