Ben’s Brilliant Best Albums of the 1990s. No. 55. Cocteau Twins – Heaven or Las Vegas

The Cocteau Twins are one of those bands that people get really serious about. It isn’t enough to just like them, you have to have a favourite album and reasons why you think it is the best. Ideally, you will have ranked all their albums and be able to bring those rankings to mind at a moment’s notice, quite often while drinking bitter in a pub that isn’t nearly as good as you all think it is. There are bands that people get this way about and bands that they don’t. Quality has something to do with it, sure – nobody spends time ranking the Venga Boys’ albums (The Party Album! [Australian and New Zealand standard version], The Party Album! [European standard version], The Party Album! [UK standard version], The Platinum Album, Up & Down – The Party Album! [Dutch standard version], Xmas Party Album) – but there is more to it than that. Some bands just inspire a tad more passion than others. Some bands make you think, “Boom boom boom boom, I want to listen to that again (possibly in a room)”.

I bought a load of Cocteau Twins albums on cassette when record shops were getting rid of cassettes because they were a dead format. A few years later, when I to made the full transition to some cds and some vinyl but no cassettes I gave those cassettes away. Thanks to streaming, they are back in my life. It’s the circle of life, as Elton John said, or as Elizabeth Frazier puts it in Blue Bell Knoll, “Is nischnau my low forlow, your my Nighy all soary pumpaflaff.”

Which, succinctly, brings us to Heaven or Las Vegas, which I think is well good.