The Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files: A Trip With Drugstore

Dec 15th, 2006 // 2 Comments

Time for yet another installment of the Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files, where we blow the dust off of a forgotten favorite and give its lack of chart success a once-over.

Artist: Drugstore
Song: “Say Hello,” 1998
What happened: The dreamy British band Drugstore released its second album, White Magic For Lovers, in 1998; it had walls of guitars and circus-tent flourishes, with the smoke-wisp voice of lead singer/bassist Isabel Monteiro leading the way. “El President,” the album’s lead single, gained the band some notoriety because of its stridently anti-Pinochet lyrics; the vocal turn by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke helped it land on the UK’s singles chart.
Why it should have been a hit: “Say Hello,” which opens White Magic, is a clarion call to cast-offs, complete with a pealing harmonica that gives way to a blast of mariachi horns; while it doesn’t quite reach the cello-driven heights of “El President,” its rally-the-freaks moxie gets us right in the part of our hearts that still wears Doc Martens.

Drugstore – Say Hello [MP3, link expired]
Drugstore featuring Thom Yorke – El President [MP3, link expired]
Drugstore [MySpace fan site]

  1. Mike Barthel

    Yeah, I love this album. The debut is really good, too, all shoegazery. What is Isabel doing now? I love her voice.

  2. NoTimeBeforeTime

    Drugstore’s other two albums were much better, but still, this is a great album. Trying to break through by channelling “The Bends”-era Radiohead and inviting Thom Yorke to sing a duet was a fairly good strategy. But if the main purpose of the duet was to piggyback on Radiohead’s popularity, then they chose the wrong song with which to do it. If he’d been singing on one of the album’s few upbeat, celebratory songs (such as “Say Hello”, or had been Isobel’s vocal foil on “The Funeral”) then they might have had a real hit rather than a minor one (“El Presidente”).

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