January 5, 2008

1985: In times of tenderness

Scritti Politti Perfect Way:



Remember when an album was preceded by multiple singles? Like the artist just kept releasing 45s until they had an album? That was the case with Scritti Politti's classic synthpop Top 5 album Cupid and Psyche '85. The first release was the Scritti song that really goes down in history, Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin). It came out in March 1984 and was followed by Absolute in June, Hypnotize in November and The Word Girl in May 1985.*

Finally in June 1985, Cupid and Psyche '85 was released, adding six songs to the set of singles, including my favorite track, Perfect Way. I bought this on 7" in the 11th grade (it hit #11 in the US). I love the chiming synth on the opening and the lyrics, with words like margin, complacency and omission. The breathy vocals, the piano and staccato rhythms are crucial to the whole Scritti sound. In fact, Miles Davis liked this tune so much, he covered it in 1986!

Scritti Politti Perfect Way expired

A few bits'n'bobs:

*I would not be surprised if Phil owns all of these on vinyl!

17 comments:

Doron said...

I love the song that Green Gartside did with Kylie on Body Language, "Someday". It was funky and entirely underrated, just like its parent album.

Phil said...

Ack-chewally, I only have the 12" versions of Absolute (which I ADORED) and Wood Beez. Cupid and Psyche '85 was one of those albums always on 'the list to buy' but I never did. Weird, eh?

DanProject76 said...

Their last album was pretty great as well. And the one before that, about a million years ago.

lucas miré said...

I should have known I was a raging homo when, in 7th grade, I demanded my mother drive me down to the store so I could get the cassette. Loved "Perfect Way" so much!

El MarvelOso said...

I loved the work they did with Chaka too.

Dan said...

"Perfect Way" is one of those quintessential 80s singles and another Scritti Politti song that I love is "Best Thing Ever" from the Who's That Girl soundtrack. One of the better non-Madge tracks on there, I daresay.

countpopula said...

You know I have all the attending 12"s from this project too (shows me age)! Really, I consider "Cupid & Psyche" to be one of the top five produced albums of the 80's (along with ABC's "Lexicon of Love", Roxy Music's "Avalon", Peter Gabriel's "So", and David Sylvian's "Secrets from the Beehive") as some of the best produced albums of ANY era (and the 80's WERE ABOUT PRODUCTION). That being said, "C&P" had a LOT of great songs that were not singles as well ("A Little Knowledge" comes to mind as a fantastic ballad a cut above the norm). Unfortunately, producer Arif Mardin (responsible for producing Norah Jones huge hit CD "Come Away With Me"--also responsible for "C&P") passed away a couple years ago.

Although 2005's "White Bread Black Beer" lacked the production sparkle, it showed how much Green continues to evolve as a songwriter, and is one of the more personal records I've heard to fly in the face of commercialism in recent memory.

I also pulled out my Chaka single recently. Scritti did a great job with it.

GOOD SHOW XO!

Phillip said...

Oh My god, Scritti Politti circa 1985 were just the perfect pop band and I am so glad he came back last year. His voice was something else and who else uses words like complacency, hermeneutic, paradigm in lyrics. Intelligent pop for intelligent kids.

El MarvelOso said...

Arif Mardin was an incredible producer. No only could he work his magic in different genres, but he was a master at arranging. He is responsible for so many historic recordings.

I also like David Gamson's work. Very clean.

D'luv said...

If you do a "Digging Your Scene"/Blow Monkeys post, it'll pretty much be love.

El MarvelOso said...

Yes, "Digging Your Scene" is a classic song. Love the Ivy cover too.

xolondon said...

Did I not ever do a Digging Your Scene post? I will someday! These 80's post always go over well.

Arif produced on of my all-time favorite songs, Through The Fire by Chaka. I think, anyway.

Does anyone remember Tony LeMans? I think David Gamson worked with him. Tony was a Prince protege who had a great tune called Higher Than High. I am pretty sure he died young though.

Phillip, I read that Green was into Derrida and I rolled my eyes. Those fucking deconstructionists! :)

xolondon said...

UPDATE: I will do a post on Tony LeMans soon, but here is David Gamson today. Aged well:

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=136538408

Yuяi said...

omg, I love Scritti! It's funny, but I hadn't seen all of the vids until today! Some are much better than others, with "Hypnotise" being quite slick. And you have to have read MSND to fully understand all the "druggie"-looking stuff they are doing with the eye-droppers! I was not too impressed with the Wood Beez video, but it's still a good song. C&P is a great album I never owned (oh the horreur) but I did own and play Provision (boom! there she was) to death. All great songs. Thnks fr the mmrs, Xo! Great post.

El MarvelOso said...

Yes, I remember Tony LeMans. I have the album. Really enjoyed it. He died in a motorcycle accident while recording his new album. I did work with Sharon Bryant, who sang backgrounds for his album. She said he was a really nice guy and that he was very talented.

Gamson did an awesome job with Meshell Ndegeocello.

Oh. It's Kristen Again. *sigh* said...

i had this cassette and now i have the cd, i loved every song on this album, which i thought was very strange for me. This is the greatest album to clean to!

babs said...

omg. Not only did I love this song, but I am currently in the place where I probably heard the song or saw the video for the first time. I am sitting in the den where I used to watch MTV's 120 Minutes into the Future. And somewhere in my random tape collection, there might even be a bit of Scritti Politti on tape. Yes, peeps, am in PA, home of my high school and am hearing songs on the radio that I first heard probably more than 20 years ago. Le petit sigh...