I’ve long held that Spandau Ballet’s “True” is one of the worst songs to come out of the 80s. But in much the same way that Berlin’s “Metro” is better at summing up the group’s output than “Take My Breath Away” is, “Chant No. 1 (I Don’t Need This Pressure On)” leaves a more complete impression of Spandau Ballet than “True,” which is arguably its best known hit. This isn’t to say that “Chant” is a great song. But it’s worth examining so as to give SB a fair shake.
Disco never really died, it just laid low for a while until it could infect New Wave. I’m not sure why this noted more, but there it is. It’s probably most evident in the work of the New Romantics, and Spandau Ballet takes it to the extreme here. Yes, there’s a bit of funkiness going on, but it’s quite disposable. Most of the vocals sound as if lead singer Tony Hadley is yawning the whole time, and the whole affair makes Howard Jones sound like George Clinton by comparison. The breakdown at 2:25 conjures up images of your parents “gettin’ down.” And, for some reason: slacks. Brown ones. With lots of pleats.
Speaking of Hadley’s lyrics, “Chant” sounds like a half-finished work, to the point where singing “TK” would have been more interesting. Arguably, the best thing about the track is its horn section, provided by Beggar and Co., an even less-remembered group than SB. But the weirdest thing about the group is this nugget, courtesy of Wikipedia: apparently the group’s name refers to “the spasms of the Nazi war criminals as they “danced at the end of the rope”, when they were hanged at Spandau Prison.”
This has me so incredibly freaked out, it has eliminated what little remaining desire I had to ever hear Spandau Ballet again.