This week, I present to you a mix of synth-pop duos, classics and a sample surprise. Enjoy the music!
“A Little Respect” by Erasure
I am starting off with the popular floor filler by British synth-pop duo, Erasure. This ’88 synth-pop song perfectly blends the use the synthesisers and acoustic guitar, and even has the band’s Andy Bell singing in falsetto in the chorus. It is such a catchy song! It is the kind of song you’d belt in a club, as a plea to a lover that doesn’t actually exist. I know I have… On a different note, the video is really bizarre. It is like they suddenly discovered visual effects and then went absolutely mental with it! I’d say the video is basically a visual representation of every line in the song, though you do have Andy holding fish fillets against his ears at one point…
“Torch” by Soft Cell
“I’m lost again, and I’m on the run. Looking for love in a sad song.”
Soft Cell are synth-pop legends! It is their obscure sound and aesthetics which made them one of the best synth bands of the early 80’s, especially in the UK. Despite being a fan of Soft Cell for years, I completely forgot about how brilliant this ’82 song is! Apart from their iconic synth-driven music, it is the brass in this song which sets it apart. I love a good brass solo, and the ones in “Torch” are no exception. The video (below) is an iconic display of their unique aesthetics and style, something which Soft Cell always had in abundance. The video’s purple hue, its tense aura and Marc Almond’s look are all iconic. He’s also wearing a cracking jumper in this video and I want it, I really do! Don’t tell me that all 80’s fashion is horrendous after seeing Almond in this vid – they got it right sometimes!
“Midnight Train to Georgia” by Gladys Knight & The Pips
“And I’ll be with him, on that midnight train to Georgia. I’d rather live in his world, than live without him in mine.”
The legendary Gladys Knight & The Pips have a vast collection of amazing music. “Midnight Train to Georgia” is my favourite. It is absolutely glorious! The beautiful sound of Soul, the stunning voice of Gladys Knight (as well as the beyond beautiful harmonies of the backing vocals of The Pips) all combine to make their music astounding. In her autobiography, Gladys Knight hoped that the song was a comfort to the thousands who travel to LA to achieve their dreams and don’t quite make it. The song even won a Grammy in 1974. Below is a 1973 performance of the song, a performance that epitomises the group and their soulful spirit. If you want beautiful vocal harmonies and great dance moves, I’d recommend checking it out! 🙂
“Freedom! 90” by George Michael
“There’s someone I forgot to be. Take back your picture in a frame, don’t think that I’ll be back again. I just hope you understand, sometimes the clothes do not make the man.”
With the recent release of the late George Michael’s last work, his riveting documentary “Freedom”, I could not think of a more perfect time to pay tribute to the legend. “Freedom! 90” is both a gem with regard to its music and context. The song is George’s protest against the growing commercial trends of the music business and the role of labels in the decisions of the artist. He refused to obey Sony’s demands for him to appear in the video and decided that 5 supermodels should take his place. They are: Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjiana Patitz, Christy Turlington and Cindy Crawford. So, we then have the five models lip-syncing some of George’s verses in the video in a very Vogue-esque music video. This not only acted as George’s middle finger to Sony, but also set a new trend for music videos.
“He’s Gonna Step On You Again” by John Kongos
“Gonna stamp out your fire, he can change your desire. Don’t you know that he can make you forget you’re a man.”
As always, I have left the most obscure one until last. This 1971 song might seem completely unfamiliar, but after a listen you’d realise that this is the sample used for Happy Mondays’ “Step On” – my favourite HM song. The original by John Kongos is a brilliant psychedelic rock song – perfect for Happy Mondays and the Madchester movement of the 90’s. The song’s writer, Chris Demetriou, is also a musician and record producer who has worked with icons such as David Bowie and Cat Stevens. He is also the founder and senior pastor of a church in Surrey. Who would have thought?! Check out a performance of the song which aired in 1971 below. It has some true grit! If you want to hear “Step On” by Happy Mondays, click here.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s selection! For last week’s selection, click here.
From Sophia with Love x