Thursday, 20 October 2016

My Top Ten Supermarket Songs (Volume 2)

Back to the supermarket, but this time we're doing our shopping the generic way. Own brand songs all the way... and one of those topics that (coincidentally) throws up a bunch of my all-time favourite artists...

Special mention to Inbetweener by Sleeper, which doesn't actually mention a supermarket but the video does take place in one (also a laundrette), as well as featuring Dale 'Supermarket Sweep' Winton, shaking his Pringles for all to see. Thanks to Mark for reminding me of that one! And yes, Mark, I'm with you on Louise Wener...

10. Iggy Pop & Green Day - Supermarket

Sounds exactly like you'd imagine a Green Day song fronted by Iggy would sound.
Everybody sells
And everybody buys...

9.  Mull Historical Society - The Supermarket Strikes Back / Barcode Bypass

This week's BOGOF offer, two great Supermarket Songs from Colin MacIntyre.

8. Courtney Barnett - Dead Fox

My favourite from Courtney. Sounds like she goes shopping with Stephen Malkmus...
Jen insists that we buy organic vegetables
And I must admit that I was a little skeptical at first
A little pesticide can't hurt
Never having too much money, I get the cheap stuff at the supermarket
But they're all pumped up with shit
A friend told me that they stick nicotine in the apples...
7. Gene - Supermarket Bombscare

Just a b-side, from their last album, Libertine, in 2001. Bloody gorgeous though. 

6. Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers - Abominable Snowman In The (Super)Market

Because it scans better, Jonathan reduces Supermarket to Market for the majority of this song, but his intro makes it clear the market... just like this song... is Super.

Two weeks running for JR. He's obviously a fan of supermarket songs too.

5. Bruce Springsteen - Queen of the Supermarket

Ah, the critics cried. This is what happened to the Born To Run rebel? Writing love songs to check-out girls? Yes, I've actually heard this called the Worst Song The Boss Ever Wrote.

What an ignorant response to a song that actually showcases the same blue-collar romanticism and heartfelt balladry Bruce built much of his career on. And he's growing old gracefully, guys: no longer chasing the factory girls underneath the boardwalk where they all promise to unsnap their jeans, here he just wants the checkout girl to take off that company cap that hides her beautiful hair. 

This is why the critics know jack. Because they're so obsessed with cool, they forget real world romance.

Also, no-one criticised Billy for sharing similar sentiments as he got older...

4. Billy Bragg - Brickbat
I steal a kiss from you
In the supermarket
I walk you down the aisle
You fill my basket
And through it all
The stick I take
Is worth it with the love we make
And let's not forget: he used to want to plant bombs at The Last Night of the Proms.

3. The Kinks - Come Dancing

Included here purely because it's one of my all-time favourite Kinks records, and probably the first one I loved. (I was a child of the 80s.)
They put a parking lot 
On the piece of land
Where the supermarket used to stand
Before that they put up a bowling alley
On the site that used to be the local palais...
I love the bit where the two silhouettes are "saying goodnight" by the garden gate... only for the girl's mum to shriek out at them: "What are you doing out there? Come on! Are you gonna be out there all night?"

2. The Clash - Lost In The Supermarket

Mick Jones sings this one, but it's a Strummer song. The anti-consumerism lyrics guarantee that.
I'm all lost in the supermarket
I can no longer shop happily
I came in here for that special offer
A guaranteed personality
Have I irked the musos this week? No? How about this...

I prefer the Ben Folds version.


1. Pulp - Common People

Inevitable, really. Arguably the greatest single of the Britpop era (if not the greatest song), and certainly the greatest video, in which tiny Jarvis gets pushed around a supermarket by Sadie Frost...

The bit where Jarvis says, "I'll see what I can do..." makes me laugh every time I watch it. Seems ridiculous that they edited the chorus on youtube to remove "...and screw..." I don't remember them doing that back in the day. Dancing and drinking is fine, boys and girls, but let's not put up any shelves afterwards...
I took her to a supermarket
I don't why but I had to start it somewhere...

Which one do you want to check out?


  1. None of which is like working in an actual supermarket, but I'll forgive them.

    1. I'll leave it to you to write the warts 'n' all true story, Matthew!

  2. Quite a selection, I love these themes. Just shows how ingrained supermarkets are in our lives (oh dear!) Can I pipe up with the Raincoats 'Fairytale in the Supermarket'? Haven't heard it in years but the title came to mind straight away, think it was a typical Peel song from my youth.... must listen again now and wondering if I'll be disappointed.

    1. A new one on me, so I had to go listen to it. Very Peel. A couple more listens and I might appreciate its worth.

  3. Yey Sleeper get a mention! Can't argue with these 'special offers' mind; The Clash, Billy Bragg, Pulp and The Boss

    1. If the song had been even remotely about supermarkets, I would have squeezed it in the 10.

  4. Stacked like a perfect pyramid of cans on the end of an aisle. I need to listen to more Gene.

    1. Everyone should have listened to more Gene... 20 years ago.

  5. Nice to see a rare Gene track get an outing.

    I'd also like to put forward Dream Time by The Jam, with a chorus of

    "I saw the lights and the pretty girls
    And I thought to myself what a pretty world,
    But there's something else here that puts me off.
    And I'm so scared dear, my love comes in frozen packs,
    Bought in a supermarket."

    And without knowing Mark's exact position on Louise Wener, I can guess. So I'm probably with you both too.

    1. Weller got his turn last week.

  6. I'll give you Pulp but Ben Folds nah

    1. Do you consider yourself irked?

  7. Glad to see Pulp at No. 1 - my husband's favourite and a classic. Don't know how you find the time for these amazing posts though - I'm having a bit of a wobble at the moment as got just a bit too overloaded but glad to see the rest of you keep up the momentum!

    1. Writing this blog is basically my one remaining vice.

  8. What? 20 supermarket songs and no Instant Mash?

    1. Good call. Curiously, I have been pondering a Mashed Potato Top Ten...

  9. The Jam mange another Supermarket reference in "In The Crowd"

    I fall into a trance, at the supermarket
    The noise flows me along, as I catch falling cans
    Of baked beans on toast, technology is the most

    1. Wonder how much time Weller spends in the supermarket these days?

  10. Oh, and if you're after songs with supermarket-themed videos I have to give a nod to Closer by Travis. I do like a video that steps outside of itself.


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