At a time when most people were discovering James through Sit Down, I was not the exception to the rule. There they were, Easter holidays 1991, on Top of the Pops, looking and sounding like they’d been dropped in from another planet.
It was The Smiths play TOTP all over again, 90s style. I was watching, thinking that this was definitely a good thing, thinking how amazing that this song could be not only in the charts, but almost at number one.
If it hadn’t been for that pesky Chesney Hawkes…
Sit Down eventually appeared on Gold Mother when it was released for a second time in 1991. While it’s hard not to like Sit Down, though, it’s hard now to really love it, so ubiquitous has it become. What was once an exciting breakthrough has since become hard to avoid - the song that everyone knows, the song that leads the musically ambivalent to say hey, this is the sort of stuff you’re into, isn’t it?.
Much more exciting, from the same album, is Government Walls, a beguiling combination of a soft-synth three-chord progression, brass, and Tim Booth’s currently apposite angry citizen lyric:
Ask a question and they’ll talk of secret services
Secrets from the people they should serve
When they can hide their crimes in a legal disguise
Truth will not be seen nor heard