Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Modern English, "I Melt With You" (1982)


Modern English came along early enough that Wikipedia labels it a New Wave rather than a New Romantic act, but it was at least harbinger of the "second British Invasion" and an adequate standard of the times too: not just in the lush, soft, breathless, keyboardy way it proceeds but in the nuclear anxiety it embraces, as "melting with you" turns out to be dying in the arms of a lover at the onset of the final conflagration. Dinner by candlelight and long walks on the beach. Holding hands and no need for words. Mushroom cloud and out. At the time, we knew that was on the way (the TV movie The Day After became something of a media saturation event early in 1983, which may have been the peak for that). More fitting, I think, that "I Melt With You" served as soaring montage music in the teen movie Valley Girl, with Deborah Foreman and an 18-year-old Nicolas Cage. The churchy stained-glass tones of the song filter the empty-headed cheese just enough to make the moment romantic and energized, although remember also this is a Nicolas Cage performance we are talking about. One worth seeing nonetheless. Modern English plays it feather-light and deadly serious, with no evidence of a real thought of consequence in its pretty head. We hear "I Melt With You" everywhere nowadays, don't we? Shopping malls, laundromats, elevators, waiting rooms. Or is that my imagination? I keep looking in my Billboard book for the chart information but it is never there. I keep thinking if Spandau Ballet and Simple Minds managed to score top 10 hits this should have at least cracked the 40. Am I crazy?

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