One for Friday — Fairground Attraction, “Perfect”


Thirty years ago, in 1988. Fairground Attraction released their debut album, The First of a Million Kisses. The band hailed from the U.K., where they managed to top the charts with the very first single they released, the aptly titled “Perfect.” That occurred in the spring of the year, and the album’s release followed shortly thereafter. The song didn’t really take hold in the U.S. until the fall, when it managed to make appearances on three different Billboard charts: the Hot 100, the newly established Modern Rock Tracks tally, and, somewhat perplexingly, the Hot Country Singles roundup.

As referenced above, there has rarely been another instance in which a song had a more appropriate title. “Perfect” is perfect, or at least as close to perfect as a pop song can get. The hook is cheery and elegant, and the whole song is built on instrumentation and production as light as well-spun sugar. It swoons, it swings, it snakes along with snappy purpose, and it’s all wrapped up in three-and-a-half minutes. This is the sort of song that demands to be described as a gem.

Listen or download —> Fairground Attraction, “Perfect”

(Disclaimer: I honestly haven’t checked to see if this Fairground Attraction song is currently available on a physical format that can be purchased from your favorite local, independently owned record store in a manner that compensates both the proprietor of said shop and the original artist. Even if The First of a Million Kisses is officially out of print, I believe this cut has been scattered across countless compilations, as if Johnny Appleseed applied his orchard distribution strategy to wonderful pop creations. I am not sharing this song in this space at this time to impede commerce that supports record stores and musicians, but instead as an encouragement to go out and put your money where your taste is. Go buy some records, people. Although I believe I am operating under the legal concept of fair use, I know the rules. I will gladly and promptly remove this file from my little corner of the digital world if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)

3 thoughts on “One for Friday — Fairground Attraction, “Perfect”

  1. You’re right that this is excellent. My head has been in the late 80s/early 90s this whole week, and “Perfect” flickered through just a couple of days ago. I haven’t listened to The First of a Million Kisses in quite a while, but it’s a very nice album.

  2. Love this tune. For some reason I’d remembered it as having come out in ’89…but that could be when my (then) local alt rock radio station first aired it.

    1. The album was definitely first released in 1988, and I remember the single hitting with college radio in the fall. However, I’ll bet it got a major boost — and maybe caught the attention of more radio stations — in the spring of ’89, when a Rolling Stone cover story about Winona Ryder including a detail about the actress, then very much a cool-kid tastemaker, enthusing about the song: “’We need something more inspiring,’ she declares, replacing Holly with AC/DC’s ‘Hells Bells.’ But after a few chords she decides that’s not right either, and switches to the light-pop group Fairground Attraction, singing along: ‘It’s got to be-e-e-e-e per-fect!’ ‘I like their songs,’ she says. ‘They’re romantic, but not depressing.'”

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