This is the third entry chronicling the first two volumes of the now out-of-print 80s music collection, Living in Oblivion, which will proceed in track order. Sadly, the third time is not at all the charm.
Yet another case of a song by a band who’s done much better (in this case “It’s My Life”), Talk Talk (the band, not the song) distinguishes itself by performing an even less interesting Duran Duran imitation than Kajagoogoo. I don’t think I’ve ever said anything so insulting.
A quick by-the-numbers on Talk Talk (the song, not the band):
Time spent on verses: 53 seconds
(14 seconds of which are sort of a gimme since the first half of the third verse sounds a little like it’s supposed to be a bridge but the band wasn’t imaginative to come up with different chords)
Time spent on choruses: 1:42
Number of times the word “talk” is said in the song not counting the weird echo-y voice in the background during the third chorus that kinda sounds like it’s saying “talk talk” but after several repetitions sounds more like the Swedish Chef saying “nog”: 86
Those 53 seconds of lyrics aren’t much to write home about. It’s the usual grab bag of loss of identity ascribed to possible romantic infidelity, inflamed by resulting paranoia and a smattering of manic depression right at the end. Or as I like to call it, high school.
As initially sympathetic as the singer sounds here, if you give this a solid listen, you have to end up siding with the unheard from partner on this one. If you engender the ire of your beloved merely for crying when he or she is sad or laughing when he or she is happy, you have to know you’re in a damned if you do/don’t scenario. Congrats to Talk Talk for flipping the script, I suppose, but the end result means you’re looking at the least sympathetic protagonist since Lolita or, more recently, My Best Friend’s Wedding.
Other than the moment at about 1:50 when the drums are actually so loud in the mix that they completely overwhelm the lyrics (which in light of the above isn’t such a bad thing), the only other notable thing I can say about this work is that it completes a trilogy of songs appearing on albums of the same name, and named after the bands that performed them, thereby following in the footsteps of Bad Company’s “Bad Company” off of Bad Company and Living in a Box’s “Living In A Box” off of Living in a Box*, which coincidentally shows up on Volume 2 of the Living in Oblivion series, so I’ll end up getting to it and it’s New-Jack-Swing-by-way-of-Rick-Astley grooves sometime around Thanksgiving.
I realize this project is still in its infancy, but this one was tough to get through. I even did laundry while I was writing it. Let me make this clear: I procrastinated writing a blog post about music by DOING LAUNDRY. It was especially tough since there’s a good spate of songs after this one, which made writing this entry something akin to being told “You can’t have dessert until you eat three more bites of those beets on your plate.”
I never had a problem with this song before, but man I sure as hell do now.
* Are these the only three examples of this? If not, drop some knowledge in comments.
UPDATE: Immediately after writing this, I realized if I put the other two songs into a Google search, I’d come up with others. Sure enough, I found this site and this one which clued me into a few examples, some of which are so obvious that I am ashamed of myself. Only metal can top 80s music for self-referentiality. And I should have expected the inevitable Wikipedia entry, which lists so many examples that I’m actually ashamed of music.