My Top 1000 Songs #217: Sugar Hiccup
Another one of those songs I cite more for its emotional resonance than strictly on its objective merits; indeed, there are other Cocteau Twins songs I prefer and am far more likely to throw onto a mixtape if I'm trying to evangelize for the band. But "Sugar Hiccup," off 1983's Head Over Heels LP, was the song that lured me in to their undeniably distinctive ethos, and still holds a certain magic spell over me.
I came across the band's first few records a couple years after Heels' release, in college, and immediately found the dark goth vibes of their 1982 debut LP Garlands striking (this was around the same time I was getting heavily into Joy Division). But the follow-up was prettier, lusher, a little more enchanting. And on "Hiccup" in particular, the Cure-like moody beauty of the dense, heavily-reverbed music paired with Elizabeth Fraser's partially English-language, partially made-up yet portentous vocalizations, merged into something wholly unique, a style I can't recall ever having imagined (much less heard) before that very moment.
Countless dream pop acts in the decades since have replicated the band's musical style (albeit not Fraser's distinctive manufactured language); but "Sugar Hiccup" is my dream pop origin story.Live on tv: