The Style Council’s Shout To The Top is the bright ‘n breezy signifier of a summer just around the corner. A groove of loose piano and stabbing guitar, it’s a string swept beauty that endures to this day.
If you’ve caught Paul Weller on any recent tour, there’s a good chance he’ll have slotted it in mid-set, a major 7th audience perker-upper after one new track too many. It still has the ability to raise a smile and just a smidgen of Proustian angst, of being glued to Top Of The Pops in the hope that it might make it to that week’s show. A frothy and enduring number, it reached number 7 and was, serendipitously, single number 7 for The Style Council as well. One of its writer’s very best, for sure.
The Style Council – Shout To The Top
It’s got a stylish video too, all four group members in its spotlight with Weller happy to fade to the back when he feels like it. Weller is understated cool, the gum-chewing singer in carefully chosen penny loafers and well-cut ankle hugging trousers, the missus alongside him in a sleeveless halter neck and hair band, tight fighting capri pants and bee stung lips, looking fantastic and dredging up all sorts of forgotten teenage fantasies. YouTube is your pal, old man, YouTube is your pal.
Weller glides the soles of his loafers across the floor, almost northern soul shuffling, hanging on to that era-defining skinny mic for all its worth, his swept back and centre-parted hair looking distinctly European and modernist.
By the time The Style Council were playing it live, Weller’s fringe had fallen as long as the silly faces on all those old Jam fans who still pined for a clanging Rickenbacker and an angry vocal delivery. Imagine having to pretend you didn’t like Shout To The Top. Life’s too short for that sort of idiocy, man. Embrace the new and, yeah, shout to the top.
There’s a magic, discofied club version out there. Loleatta Holloway takes over from Weller, giving it the full soaring house diva approach, Philly strings, Italo piano and a four-to-the-floor disco beat replacing much of The Style Council’s idiosyncratic nuances, taking it home in a riot gold hot pants and over the topness.
Originally released in 1998 with dance production team Fire Island, the track was reworked into a thumping, filling-loosening club classic by Hifi Sean a year or two ago. Stretched out and funked up, you need it in your life.
Fire Island ft. Loleatta Holloway – Shout To The Top (Hifi Sean mix)
* I know that’s not the line that Weller sings in the bridge, but it’s what I’ve always sung. It’s a funny little thing when it dawns upon ya right enough.