« Tuneful | Main | Book Report: World without End »

Music Monday on Thursday: Tempted

So, here’s the thing: it’s 1980, Squeeze (aka Squeeze UK) has put out three albums, and is really hitting its stride. They are beyond any doubt cool for cats. They’ve broken loose from the producer thing, and started to have a really distinctive sound, based in large part on the keyboard work of the incomparable Jools Holland. Who leaves the band.

Chris Difford writes some lyrics about being married and on tour with zillions of available groupies. It’s a melancholy song, full of lists, the narrator seeming to focus on listing whatever he sees in an attempt to fill his mind with banal images so that he doesn’t think about the consequences of his actions. Not very pop. Glenn Tillbrook likes the lyrics but can’t come up with a melody. Eventually he gets something, but isn’t happy with the sound of it.

The recording for the new album isn’t going well. They’ve got a new keyboardist, Paul Carrack, and they’ve got Dave Edmunds producing, and it is going very badly. So they ditch him and get Elvis Costello to produce. He takes over, rearranges the song to sound more R&B, and not only demands that Mr. Carrack take the lead vocals (pissing off Mr. Tillbrook), but takes a good chunk of the vocals himself.

And, somehow, it works.

Although the video is one of the great examples of bad 80s music videos in the category band pretends to be performing in concert whilst lip-synching to the studio recording. It’s particularly egregious due to (a) the sulkiness of the band members as they lip-synch to Mr. Costello’s vocals, and (2) the inexplicable presence of three shimmying women who at first appear to be backup singers, but do not actually sing (or lip-synch) the backup vocals at all. At one point, they appear to be sitting down and having a rest. Well, all that shimmying must take it out of a girl.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,


Thanks for the memory, V. I checked out the video, having had no recollection of the song you were singing, and I was instantly reminded of how great a song that was. There were occasional, minuscule exceptions to the rule that the 80s sucked, and that song was one of them.


Post a comment

Please join in. Comments on older posts will be held for moderation. Don't be a jerk. Eat fruit.