Culture Club - "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" (1982)
Apparently Boy George started on stage as Lieutenant Lush, an occasional guest vocalist for Bow Wow Wow, who was booed off stage until he was dropped and started his own band.
So I am really just listening to this song for the first time. Of course I was aware of it culturally, and have heard it thousands of times at school dances, in The Wedding Singer, and played every time someone on VH-1 says 80s. But I've never bothered listening to it before. It's a very quiet song, a very sad song, a touching mournful song; sitting on the back of a Reggae dance beat to make it all go down easier.
There is very little solo keyboard in the song, but it's there, floating along in the background, holding down the chords. The bass is too busy showing off to hold the song together, and I really like the kinda flashy bass work. There is a sound of a Glockenspiel throughout the song, but I'm pretty sure that's a synth sound. The strings sounds at the beginning for sure are artificially created. I really like the church choir sound of the beginning. The subtle soaring sound of the backing vocalists really hits at the right moments during the song, but in particular make the opening a memorable almost confessional moment. As much as I like the vocals and the bass, it's the beat that makes this song danceable, and stand out from any number of New Wave love songs. The Brits really love their reggae, which I did not really know before reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die. It really influenced British New Wave and the British Punk Scene. This songs rhythm is pure laid back reggae and that beat made it possible to move your butt while listening to an androgynous man sing about love in a manner that made people confused. It was really the beat that made Americans OK with such an odd and different band I'm sure.