As a novice to The Fall, I’m not one to suggest entry points into their massive discography but as someone who enjoys pop as much as any or all of the (relatively) weird stuff covered hereabouts, you could do much worse than the 1987 single “Hit The North”. The closing track to their 1988 record The Frenz Experiment, it features the band at maybe their poppiest and most accessible and which hit #57 with a bullet on the charts when released. It even came with a (relatively) slick video that made late frontman Mark E. Smith look maybe just a little bit less terrifying and maybe even a bit cuddly?
Sound On Sound featured a deep dive into the recording of the song in their March 2015 issue, leading off with Smith declaring:
“Nah, it wasn’t a conscious effort (to go commercial); It was just trying to get it a bit more punchy. I always like it very clean and simple. A lot of groups are swamped with sound.”Mark E. Smith, The Fall
Classic Tracks: The Fall – “Hit The North” @ Sound On Sound
It then talks to co-writer and former Fall guitarist Brix Smith, producer and former Fall keyboardist Simon Rogers, former producer John Leckie, and engineer Ian Grimble about both the writing and recording of the track as well as life in and with Smith and The Fall at large. A fascinating read, and I expect I will be cautiously exploring Smith’s world beyond the safe confines of their 458489 A Sides… eventually.