Laid was an obvious choice as the second single off the album, a classic two and a half minute pop song with no pretensions. The lyrics had to be changed from “she only comes when she’s on top” to “she only sings when she’s on top” to appease radio stations and ensure daytime airplay.
The single was released in two CD versions. The first featured the album version of Laid, a beautiful peaceful track called The Lake and two tracks Wah Wah Kits and Seconds Away which would have not been out of place on the Wah Wah album.
The second CD saw four tracks from the Laid album recorded at BBC’s Maida Vale studios, one track live into each show on the day of the album’s release.
The video for the single was probably James most striking to date. The band dressed up in dresses and performed various domestic chores wearing facial masks whilst Tim sat singing the song, chained to the table.
Despite another Radio 1 A-listing, the single surprisingly only managed to reach number 25. It was however to help James make a crucial breakthrough into the American market early in 1994.
Artwork features Judith Capiaux.
From the album of the same name, ‘Laid’ is a breezy little pop song that seems quite happy to go through life in the knowledge that it’s the bastard child of Hothouse Flowers’ “Don’t Go” and “Wimoweh” but with explicit lyrics (“she only comes when she’s on top” that should see off any chances of serious daytime airplay. B-side ‘Wah Wah Kits’ revels in its resemblance to Dr Phibes’ ‘Hazy Lazy Hologram’, while the two extra tracks on the CD, ‘The Lake’ and ‘Seconds Away’, are respectively a brooding piece of dislocated melancholia and a throwaway demo. Enjoyable, in a confusing sort of way.
Not much proof here of the much-heralded creatively-revamped James.
“Laid” is smalltown folk music. Driven by a wheezy old Hammond organ, a drumbeat that sounds like the bloke upstairs nailing down his floorboards and a guitar that might as well be a banjo for all the expression it brings. “Laid” is 1990 naff. It’s not even spuriously uplifting. Tim Booth’s cryptic Indian type whoops aren’t a call to arms or joyous chant but more a sort of cryptic holler, as if he’s Geronimo trying to invoke Chief Sitting Bull in a séance.
There are tracks here, however, such as “Wah Wah Kits” that do indicate a newer, freshly adorned James, perhaps abetted by Brian Eno.
So maybe pigs are flying and they have turned half-decent.