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Saturday, March 3, 2012

"You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"

Dead or Alive - "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" (1984)

At the time that it reached number 1 in the U.K. it held the record for taking the longest time to get there.

This song has been covered, sampled, and dragged through the trailers and movies that need to "sound 80s" for so long it's hard to imagine but this actually sounded original when it came out. Lead singer Pete Burns got inevitable comparisons to Culture Club singer Boy George, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood and New Order were already dominating the charts with synthesizer driven danceable pop. But this had something different. I think it's Burns vocals, which are strong; both soaring and rough when they need to be, and he playfully flirts with the listener the entire song.

The rest of the track is standard 80s fair, but I should point out that a live drummer and bass player were on the track, as well as a keyboard player and various engineers adding those doodling electronic effects. The fact that the drums and bass are live, and don't stop is what gives the song its heart. All the little effects on the keyboard and otherwise make the song fun, but you need a real rhythm section to give a song a solid foundation. Not that I really think much of the song in general, other than the vocals, but at least there were instrumentalists involved and not just a guy sitting in front of a computer creating loops. Wow, I sound old and cranky. I thought the French and Tejano music would be enough to let me review an 80s tune, but I guess it's time to take a break from dance music again.

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