Our top 10 Inspiral Carpets songs list digs deep into the music of one of England’s most conspicuous bands from the ‘90s Madchester scene. Formed in the early ‘80s, Inspiral Carpets initially started as a punk-inspired garage rock band. Inspiral Carpets’ career beginnings were in the same vein as the 13th Floor Elevators and The Seeds. However, the band’s soundscapes quickly changed at the height of the Madchester scene.
Inspiral Carpets would later become one of the most critically acclaimed and momentous Madchester bands. The band’s musical pursuits saw the band compared to contemporaries such as Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses. Inspiral Carpets boasts five studio albums all of which have made it to the UK Albums Chart. Two of the band’s albums earned some commercial success in the UK.
A Quick Review of Inspiral Carpets’ Albums
In 1990, Inspiral Carpets issued their debut studio album Life through Mute Records. Other artists (once) affiliated with Mute Records include Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode, New Order, Erasure, and Moby. Life was produced by the band members in conjunction with former member of The Distractions Nick Garside. As a producer, Nick has worked with multiple artists including the band James, The Waltones, Hothouse Flowers, and The Railway Children among others.
Life went ahead to become a mainstream success rising to atop the UK Independent Albums Chart. The album also climbed to the second spot on UK Albums Chart. Life graced the ARIA Albums Chart peaking at number one hundred and forty. The album was gold-certified in the UK. “This Is How It Feels,” “She Comes in the Fall,” “Real Thing,” and “Move” are the best Inspiral Carpets songs from the album Life.
Inspiral Carpets returned in 1991 with their sophomore studio album The Beast Inside. The album was also issued through Mute Records under the production of Chris Nagle. Other artists who have worked with Chris Nagle include The Wake (UK band), GBH, The Charlatans, Danza Invisible, and The Wedding Present.
The Beast Inside went ahead to top the UK Independent Albums Charts while climbing to the fifth spot on the UK Albums Chart. Inspiral Carpets saw the album grace the ARIA Albums Chart peaking at position one hundred and fifty-seven. The Beast Inside earned silver certification in the UK. “Please Be Cruel,” “Caravan,” and “Sleep Well Tonight” are some of the most popular songs by Inspiral Carpets from The Beast Inside.
Revenge of the Goldfish, issued in 1992, marked Inspiral Carpets’ third studio album. The album was issued through Mute Records under the production of the Belgian-born songwriter and producer Pascal Gabriel. Pascal is also credited for his contribution to the success of records by Kylie Minogue, Ladyhawke, Emma Louise, Miss Kittin, Goldfrapp, and Rachel Stevens.
Like its predecessors, Revenge of the Goldfish topped the UK Independent Albums Chart. The album also managed to climb to the seventeenth spot on the UK Albums Chart. Inspiral Carpets supported this LP by touring alongside the techno/house music band Sunscream. Unfortunately, Revenge of the Goldfish failed to impress commercially. Nevertheless, the album is home to some of the best Inspiral Carpets songs including “Two Worlds Collide,” “Generation,” and “Dragging Me Down.”
Later in 1994, Inspiral Carpets issued their fourth studio album, Devil Hopping. Like Revenge of the Goldfish, Devil Hoping was issued through Mute Records under the production of Pascal Gabriel. Devil Hopping would become Inspiral Carpets’ first LP not to have risen atop the UK Independent Albums Chart, claiming a peak position of number two.
However, the album performed better than Revenge of the Goldfish in the UK Albums Chart peaking at the tenth spot. Devil Hopping was yet another commercial disappointment for Inspiral Carpets and Mute Records. The album is home to musical gems such as “I Want You,” “Uniform,” and “Saturn 5.”
Two decades later, Inspiral Carpets issued their eponymous fifth studio album. Inspiral Carpets saw the band deliver to its fans a blend of indie rock and alternative rock influences. The album was issued through Cherry Red Records, a label (once) home to The Fall, Dead Kennedys, The Charlottes, Everything but the Girl, and The Nightingales.
Inspiral Carpets climbed to the twelfth spot on the UK Independent Albums Chart. The album also made it to the UK Albums Chart, peaking at position sixty-three. Despite the band’s endearing efforts, Inspiral Carpets was a commercial flop. “Let you Down,” “Spitfire,” and “You’re So Good for Me” are the best Inspiral Carpets songs from the band’s fifth studio album.
Inspiral Carpets’ Accolades and Legacy
While Inspiral Carpets might not have amassed multiple awards, the band played a pivotal role in the thriving of the Madchester scene. However, Inspiral Carpets’ punk garage, indie rock, psychedelic rock, and alternative rock soundscapes set the band apart from its contemporaries. As a result, Inspiral Carpets went ahead to earn critical acclaim even after the Madchester scene faded away. Let’s now take a look at the top 10 Inspiral Carpets songs of all time.
#10- Let You Down ft. John Cooper Clarke
We start our top 10 Inspiral Carpets songs with the inspirational track “Let You Down.” The song is featured on the band’s eponymous fifth studio album. “Let You Down” finds Inspiral Carpets teaming up with punk poet John Cooper Clarke. In this song, Clarke adds his signature poetry recitals that add to the song’s lusciousness. As a musician, Clarke is remembered for his UK Top 40 hit “Gimmix (Play Loud,)” sharing platforms with Buzzcocks, The Fall, New Order, and The Sex Pistols among others.
However, “Let You Down” offers more than just the commanding poetry recital by Clarke. The song is reminiscent of Inspiral Carpets’ catalog of nostalgic indie rock tracks. “Let You Down” features ‘60s-Esque synth tunes that add some glamour to its overall texture. The music video for this musical gem was directed by Louise Cowley. Cowley has also worked with other artists including Nancy Elizabeth and Sarah Cracknell (member of the band Saint Etienne).
#9- Please Be Cruel
“Please Be Cruel” is among the fan-favorite picks from the band’s catalog. The song was issued as a single for the band’s sophomore studio album The Beast Inside. “Please Be Cruel” is among the top musical gems that helped solidify the band’s musicianship showcasing spectacular instrumentation chemistry and impressive Tom Hingley vocals. The song managed to rise to the fiftieth spot on the UK Singles Chart. “Please Be Cruel”
Even before Inspiral Carpets issued their debut studio album, the band was already earning critical acclaim thanks to its demo recording Dung 4. Dung 4 was issued in 1989 through the band’s own label Cow Records featuring classics such as “Joe.” The hit “Joe” is a remarkable organ-driven psychedelic tune. “Joe” was penned by the band’s keyboardist Clint Boon and originally performed by Stephen Holt.
However, a modified version of the song was later issued upon Tom Hingley’s arrival as a member of Inspiral Carpets. “Joe” made it to the fifth spot on the UK Independent Singles Chart. The single “Joe” was followed up by yet another impressive track “Find Out Why”— the latter would become one of most successful singles by Inspiral Carpets on the UK Charts.
#7- I Want You ft. Mark E Smith
“I Want You” is one of the most sought-after tracks by Inspiral Carpets from the mid- ‘90s. The song was issued as a single from the band’s fourth studio album Devil Hopping. “I Want You” finds Inspiral Carpets members collaborating with Mark E. Smith of The Fall—Mark contributes his vocals to this track.
“I Want You” is by far one of the most successful collaborative songs by Inspiral Carpets. The song features an awe-inspiring melodic structure with perfectly arranged vocal harmonies. Without a doubt, Clint Boon’s inspiring organ melodies in this track cannot to be forgotten as they are among the strongest pillars to this song’s success. “I Want You” went ahead to rise to the eighteenth spot on the UK Singles Chart.
Ranking sixth on our top 10 Inspiral Carpets songs list is the inspirational track “Caravan.” The song is the most successful song from the band’s sophomore studio album The Beast Inside. “Caravan” features an irresistible groove which makes it one of the most catchy and infectious tracks by Inspiral Carpets. The energetic guitar riffs and punchy basslines add to the reason the song “Caravan” solidly bags a spot on our list.
“Caravan” was quite successful in the UK where it graced the Singles Chart, peaking at position thirty. The song remains among the few tracks by Inspiral Carpets to have entered the US mainstream. “Caravan” made it to the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart peaking at position fourteen. The song also graced the Billboard Alternative Airplay peaking at the fifteenth spot. “Caravan”
#5- Two Worlds Collide
We head into the band’s third studio album Revenge of the Goldfish where we find our fifth pick “Two Worlds Collide.” The song is an emblem of Inspiral Carpets’ ability to churn out infectious tracks while striking a balance between power and melody. Lead guitarist Graham Lambert gives us some of his best licks in this song contributing to the song’s melodic (and atmospheric) texture.
The rhythm section in “Two Worlds Collide” is also prodigious. Martyn Walsh’s killer basslines combine with Craig Gill’s thunderous drum strums yielding one of the strongest rhythm sections by any Inspiral Carpets song—the same can be seen in the band’s signature track “This Is How It Feels.”
“Two Worlds Collide” achieved some success in the UK mainstream peaking at position thirty-two on the Singles Chart. The song remains Inspiral Carpets’ highest-charting single on the Billboard Alternative Airplay Chart. “Two Worlds Collide” features an accompanying music video which was directed by Michel Gondry. Other artists who have worked with Michel Gondry include The Chemical Brothers, Beck, The Vines, The Rolling Stones, Foo Fighters, and Radiohead.
#4- She Comes in the Fall
“She Comes in the Fall” is one of the most revered tracks by Inspiral Carpets whose glory has endured to date among the band’s fans. The song is an early release featuring on the band’s debut studio album Life. “She Comes in the Fall” is a compelling indie rock track memorable thanks to its melodic hook.
The song is one of the high-energy releases by Inspiral Carpets with a touch of the band’s signature catchy melodies and driving rhythms. “She Comes in the Fall” climbed to the twenty-seventh spot on the UK Singles Chart.
#3- Dragging Me Down
Ranking third on our top 10 Inspiral Carpets songs list is the infectious track “Dragging Me Down.” The song was issued as the first single of the band’s third studio album Revenge of the Goldfish. “Dragging Me Down” finds Inspiral Carpets blending their signature indie rock sound with psychedelic rock influences.
This catchy and infectious track stands boisterously as the most impressive track off Revenge of the Goldfish. Clint Boon impresses in this song with his inspirational keyboard riffs. This catchy and melodic upbeat track was a mainstream success rising to the twelfth spot on the UK Singles Chart.
That made “Dragging Me Down” Inspiral Carpets’ highest-charting track on the UK Singles Chart. Inspiral Carpets had British music video director Dani Jacobs work on this track’s music video. Other artists who have worked with Dani Jacobs include Tears for Tears, Midge Ure, Moby, Texas, Phil Collins, and The Corrs.
#2- Saturn 5
“Saturn 5” is yet another exceptional and must-have track for any indie rock aficionado. The song is an archetypical track to Inspiral Carpets’ musicianship on the band’s fourth studio album Devil Hopping. “Saturn 5” features catchy melodies and energetic guitar riffs that are sure to grab its listener’s attention from the beginning to the end.
The song also adds to the list of Inspiral Carpets hits with a sing-along appeal, adding to the reasons “Saturn 5” is one of the most impressive tracks by the band. This song’s haunting lyrics reference the Saturn V, one of the most powerful rockets ever built. “Saturn 5” peaked at the twentieth spot on the UK Singles Chart
#1- This Is How It Feels
Number one on our top 10 Inspiral Carpets songs list is the awe-inspiring hit “This Is How It Feels.” The song is by far the most successful by Inspiral Carpets and a quintessential track to the ‘90s Madchester scene. “This Is How It Feels” is featured on the band’s debut studio album Life.
The song has its lyrics centered around the storyline of a troubled marriage. In the song, themes of domestic abuse and adultery seem quite prevalent. As a result, the song “This Is How It Feels” paints an image of emotional struggles. The song’s thought-provoking lyrical content adds to the reason it remains a fan favorite pick to date!
“This Is How It Feels” made it to the fourteenth spot on the UK Singles Chart. The song was also a commercial success earning silver certification in the UK. “This Is How It Feels” was covered by the English indie rock band Carter USM.
Feature Photo: By user Cridders of flickr.com (Clare Cridland), CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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