I know that Jack Black had a lot of negative things to say about compilation albums in High Fidelity, but The Jesus & Mary Chain’s 21 Singles 1984-1998 is a fine compilation. While it doesn’t beat owning the individual albums, 21 Singles provides a stunning overview of the band’s work. Every song on it is a gem.
“Upside Down” was released in 1984 as The Jesus & Mary Chain’s first single. Legend has it that their love of 60’s pop combined with their love of the Velvet Underground led early fans to compare them to The Ramones. To combat this perception and stake out their own sonic territory, they turned the feedback way up. Industrial music wasn’t a thing yet and, at any rate, nobody would accuse The Jesus & Mary Chain of being part of that whole movement – no keyboards to be found, for one thing.
“Upside Down” is probably their weakest single, but it was also a shot across the bow of popular music. The Jesus & Mary Chain are given credit with inspiring everyone from My Bloody Valentine to Primal Scream to Blur to The Chemical Brothers and many, many more.