Pop Essays #15: Andrea Corr, ‘Champagne From A Straw’

It’s time – as we do every Thursday at midday – to bring you another pop classic that never was and give it the time to shine it deserves with Pop Essays. This week: our first single release of this series that (unjustly) failed to chart…

  • Artist: Andrea Corr
  • Song: Champagne From A Straw
  • Release Date: 27/08/2007
  • Writer: Andrea Corr
  • Producer: Nellee Hooper
  • Chart Run: DNC (Did Not Chart)

Sometimes, when a member of a successful band or group goes solo, in a lot of people’s eyes, there is the temptation to ensure they are pigeon holed into one box musically speaking, especially if there’s a particular style or type of song they’re known for. It can certainly be a frustrating problem to be on the end of when the talent in question is undeniable.

It was a problem that Andrea Corr – lead vocals and tin whistle with her sisters Sharon and Caroline and brother Jim in mega selling Irish family band The Corrs – was to encounter herself when the band took a break to pursue individual projects and start families after the release of their 2005 album Home.

She had previously been offered a solo contract two Corrs albums prior to this, but it was only when the band took their break that it started to gain traction, and in a way that we dare say even her label didn’t expect. Back in 2004, on their fourth studio album Borrowed Heaven, a song that Andrea had recorded for the soundtrack of the Jim Sheridan film In America was featured.

Titled ‘Time Enough for Tears’, it had been written by U2’s Bono and Gavin Friday, who were to become good friends of hers and prove instrumental in putting her in touch with Nellee Hooper, who had produced several of U2’s hits as well as tracks for Björk, Madonna and Soul II Soul. The resulting album, Ten Feet High, was something of a departure in many respects.

Certainly, the electro sheen of the opening number ‘Hello Boys’ was about as far removed from say, ‘Runaway’ or ‘What Can I Do’ as you could possibly get. The first choice of single was probably the obvious one as it was the easiest link musically with the band – ‘Shame On You (To Keep My Love From Me)’, a peace anthem inspired by Sebastian Faulkes’ novel Birdsong – having the same dance meets trad Irish vibes of their breakthrough cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’.

That particular single stalled outside the UK top 100, whilst the Ten Feet High album itself made a perfunctory in-out top 40 appearance upon release in June 2007. Two months later, its second and final single was released for digital download only. ‘Champagne From A Straw’ demonstrated the unique wit and humour in Andrea’s songwriting and performance that’s often overlooked.

A sort of Stan Getz / Gilberto bossa nova strut, it offered a scathing take down on the ‘WAG scene’ that was so prevalent in 00s pop culture: “I’ve got my all over tan, and my tummy tuck / My two babies, boy and girl / Big house in the country, with expensive bags / For my scary little dog / My man sleeps around a bit, keeps him from my bed / One less job for me to do / I’m the one you look up to, and wish on every star / For one day in my high shoes”.

It also does the genius of switching perspective from character to storyteller on the bridge line: “Can anyone hear, mmmm / It’s hollow in here, on a day like today”. It is a crying shame that few were willing to give Andrea a chance on anything other than what they knew her for when it came to her solo career. There was untapped observational and conversational genius at work as this single proves.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new Pop Essays playlist on Spotify, which includes all the songs we’ve written about. What are your memories of this week’s featured song or band? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or message us on our Instagram.

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