You like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah...
May 4, 2021 7:06 AM   Subscribe

The Brilliant Stupidity of Robert Palmer’s 1986 No. 1 Hit, ‘Addicted to Love’. A brief reflection on the 'utterly ridiculous', 'absolutely iconic', and 'brilliantly idiotic' song on the thirty-fifth anniversary of its hitting #1. [SLVariety]
posted by Capt. Renault (80 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
 
How can we discuss the legacy of "Addicted to Love" without mentioning Al Yankovic's tuber-themed parody?
And late at night
You always dream
Of bacon bits
And sour cream
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:20 AM on May 4 [41 favorites]


There was a Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick mid 90s rom-com with the same title which I remember mainly for a theme of creepy mirror- and lens-based voyeurism. Midway through the showing I leaned over to whoever I was with and predicted that the end credits would be scored to a girl-band cover version of the song, and she was much impressed when my prophecy was fulfilled.
posted by St. Oops at 7:33 AM on May 4 [12 favorites]


That was a fun article, thanks for posting it. It's always amazing how much cross-pollination is happening behind the scenes in the music industry.

Re: AC/DC songs being secretly complicated, these guys disagree.
posted by saladin at 7:35 AM on May 4 [12 favorites]


Tom Breihan's take on the song, from his long running The Number Ones column (previously).
posted by TedW at 7:47 AM on May 4 [11 favorites]


playing as far behind the beat as humanly possible

I don't think I ever noticed this before, but holy hell, yeah, the kick and snare on 3 and 4 are so late in the verses so as to be almost wrong. The open hat on 3 makes the snare seem even later, builds anticipation. The whole thing drags so hard. And then you get to the chorus and it tightens up a bit and drives a bit harder, to my ears.

(I will admit of being guilty of unintentionally playing on top of the beat in a sometimes-unpleasant way, though, so my read on this might be a little off.)

Compare to Weird Al's "Addicted to Spuds," which features a drummer playing closer to the beat, and you'll find the whole feel to be different.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:50 AM on May 4 [14 favorites]


I had no idea the Chic rhythm section was on this.
posted by thelonius at 8:00 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


I'd love to hear from one of the models* 'playing' in the band. it really is a parody of itself. Great article, and fun to rewatch the video. Anybody got a link to the Britney Spears Pepsi commercial referenced? I'm not up for searching for it.

from youtube comments: "Let's meet the girls as they are in the video, from ..Julie Pankhurst-keyboards, Patty Kelly-guitar, Mak Gilchrist-bass, Julia Bolino-guitar and Kathy Davies-drum/partially hidden in the back. the girls as they are today, ..Julie-works in retail and is a mother, Patty-landscape designer with 2 children, Kathy-lives in Thailand where she does charity work, Mak-still models in England and Julia-hair and makeup artist."
posted by theora55 at 8:01 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


I'd love to hear from one of the models* 'playing' in the band.

More info here.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:07 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Noblemania interviewed the Robert Palmer girls in his Girl in the Video series.
posted by pxe2000 at 8:07 AM on May 4 [11 favorites]


Shout out to THE PALMER BUNCH on SNL from 1989 (Brady Bunch crossed with the models from the band)
posted by stevil at 8:14 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


So, that Stereogum article goes through a brief mention of Palmer's career, but fails to mention the fantastic "Sailing Shoes/Hey Julia/Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley". Unless I missed it in my admittedly quick scan? One of my favorite sing along tunes when I'm driving.

Also: I'm going to have to go down that rabbit hole of "Number Ones", because I love stuff like that.
posted by sundrop at 8:16 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


the Chic rhythm section

It's a pity that Bernard Edwards wasn't also on Let's Dance; Nile Rodgers, in his memoir, says that he was concerned about his reliability for such an important project, at that time (there's an anecdote about Edwards showing up a day late for a session and thinking it was the day before). Now the bass player on that record, Carmine Rojas, did a great job, and the bass sounds excellent, but it would have been interesting to hear Edwards' version.

(Wikipedia says he appears on the track "Without You").
posted by thelonius at 8:17 AM on May 4


Also: I'm going to have to go down that rabbit hole of "Number Ones", because I love stuff like that.

You might enjoy the Hit Parade podcast from Slate.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:19 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


I'm going to take issue with saying the models can't dance. Those are perfectly acceptable moves, speaking as a rhythm guitar player.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:22 AM on May 4 [23 favorites]


Re: AC/DC songs being secretly complicated, these guys disagree.

I agree with them (though I love AC/DC) and my hot take: Weird Al -type parodies are even simpler to make than AC/DC songs.

His originals are excellent though.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:22 AM on May 4


A/DC is pretty much straightforward, but I wouldn't really call "Back In Black" dead simple OTOH
posted by thelonius at 8:25 AM on May 4


It's not great quality, but I believe this is the Britney Spears Pepsi commercial in question (though it seems like it's more referencing Palmer's next big hit, 'Simply Irrestible,' a song with a lot of SAT words and a video that dumbs down 'Addicted to Love').

See also the video for Tone Loc's 'Wild Thing.'
posted by box at 8:28 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


the 'utterly ridiculous', 'absolutely iconic', and 'brilliantly idiotic' song on the thirty-fifth anniversary of its hitting #1.

or if you had to endure it at the time -- just more hi-concept 80s awfuldom. The mainstream was badly polluted in those days, toxic to the point of apocalyptic.

Fortunately, there was a pile of great stuff going on elsewhere
posted by philip-random at 8:29 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


I had no idea the Chic rhythm section was on this.

Tony Thompson drummed for The Power Station and Bernard Edwards produced them so there was definitely a Palmer/Chic connection. Also re: models, Caroline Cossey was the model in "Some Like It Hot."
posted by a Rrose by any other name at 8:29 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


>>Tom Breihan's take on the song, from his long running The Number Ones column

Oh, wow, from that same article was a link to a fantastic cover version from Ciccone Youth featuring (and directed by) Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon that I've never seen before.

Superimposed over footage of B-roll military footage, it's like the 80s version of a YouTube response video.
posted by jeremias at 8:38 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


I have a particular memory of reading about the Robert Palmer girls as a teen feminist, probably although not necessarily in Susan Faludi's Backlash. Apparently there were strict rules of conduct, diet, and of course weight, and it made a huge impression on me -- all this not to be a ballerina or a gymnast but a Robert Palmer girl! I had vague ideas about going into acting, which were of course over then. In any case, I see now that the models don't seem to discuss that; they make it sound like a short and not unpleasant shoot. Maybe the author was talking about a touring company, or maybe the rules weren't much different from modelling life in the '80s in general.

The song is stuck in my head now, so thank you for that.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:44 AM on May 4 [1 favorite]


TIL Chaka Khan could've been there too. It's a great song and I still to this day can't figure out what is so mesmerizing about the video. Anyway, Chaka Khan she would've brought the song to another level altogether. Thanks for the post!

And yet, Palmer didn’t intend to sing by himself: “Addicted to Love” was recorded as a duet with R&B icon Chaka Khan — but her vocal was dropped before the song was released.
posted by bluesky43 at 9:13 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


> "There was a Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick mid 90s rom-com with the same title which I remember mainly for a theme of creepy mirror- and lens-based voyeurism."

Man, that movie was ... a thing that exists. The only conceivable romantic take-home from it that I could get was "thank god these two repulsive human beings are now a couple so that neither inflicts themself upon anyone more worthwhile".

My spouse, who is an astrophysicist like the Matthew Broderick character was supposed to be, also has a special place of hatred in her heart for that movie's depiction of astronomy. It's not a major part of the film or anything, but the degree to which they did not bother to find out anything whatsoever about the job of a main character is astonishing. It's pretty much as bad as it would be if, say, in a movie about a chef at a five star restaurant, there was a seriously-meant scene where they were shown popping a cast-iron pan full of unmixed raw ingredients into a microwave, pulling out a perfect souffle, and then saying, "Quickly! Serve this to the King before it melts!"
posted by kyrademon at 9:32 AM on May 4 [19 favorites]


My favorite homage/response/pisstake to "Addicted to Love": Ingrid Michaelson's "Girls Chase Boys."
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:33 AM on May 4 [18 favorites]


The article is a delightful reflection. Opening the hood on a big time pop smash from 35 years ago is bound to expose some rabbit holes (The Chic rhythm section! The background models! Noddy Holder!). Comments here, per usual, only make it all better.

The presence of this rabbit hole is fantastic because (a) I have a lite Tuesday schedule that lets me explore them more than I might normally, and (b) my personal memory of this song is completely, wildly, laughably orthogonal to everything presented thus far: NFL Rocks (starts about ~45 seconds in). In the 80's I didn't care about pop music (Michael Jackson excepted). But I was sports-crazy. Someone, somewhere, decided that this song would make a great soundtrack to concussion-level tackles from the NFL. And, boy, did I wear out this VHS back in the day.

Somewhat wild to think that for some, the visual reference for this song is robotic mannequin-models. For me, it's unnatural neck & spine compressions...
posted by Theophrastus Johnson at 9:46 AM on May 4 [5 favorites]


I'll always associate the Robert Palmer Girls with the Patrick Nagel prints that were absolutely everywhere when this song was on the airwaves. Nagel prints seem to have disappeared down the memory hole of lost 80s nostalgia along with windsocks (fish-shaped and otherwise) and The Scarecrow and Mrs King, never garnering a Stranger Things reference or dedicated podcast deep dive as far as I can tell.
posted by St. Oops at 9:59 AM on May 4 [35 favorites]


I had no idea the Chic rhythm section was on this.

No doubt. Nile, Tony, and Bernard had their fingerprints all over the 1980s. Tony was the secret weapon - check out what he and Nile did on Madonna's "Material Girl". Masterful, but powerful.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:07 AM on May 4 [3 favorites]


TIL various fun facts about the Ciccone Youth project, including that it was created partly to encourage a depressed Mike Watt to make music again after D. Boon died, that Kim Gordon's 'Addicted to Love' vocal was recorded in a karaoke booth (and the video was made in a make-your-own-video booth at Macy's), and, my favorite, that Sonic Youth wanted to release it at the same time as Daydream Nation, but were persuaded to wait a few months.
posted by box at 10:19 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


Nagel prints seem to have disappeared down the memory hole of lost 80s nostalgia along with windsocks (fish-shaped and otherwise) and The Scarecrow and Mrs King, never garnering a Stranger Things reference or dedicated podcast deep dive as far as I can tell.

One of the many joys of Thor: Ragnarok is that Taika Waititi put Bruce Banner in Tony Stark's clothes, including a T-shirt that had Duran Duran's Nagel cover for Rio on it. (The link goes to an announcement for Forever 21 putting out some more Nagel T-shirts, although sadly they seem to be almost out of them.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:30 AM on May 4 [7 favorites]


Yes -- I don't recall making the connection to Nagel's art when I saw the video back in the '80s, but that was one of the first associations that hit me when I watched it just now.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:38 AM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Nagel's artwork and/or style is alive and well on nail salon windows. It seems to be part of a signage kit. I like it unironically and ironically, myself. I'm pretty sure I've seen Nagels in rooms in The Simpsons and Bojack Horseman.
posted by Countess Elena at 10:44 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


I always considered Palmer a cheesy Rex Manning from Empire Records type, but Clues is an interesting album, and shows his range.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:18 AM on May 4 [4 favorites]


Man, that movie was ... a thing that exists. The only conceivable romantic take-home from it that I could get was "thank god these two repulsive human beings are now a couple so that neither inflicts themself upon anyone more worthwhile".

The ur-source of this sentiment is the appraisal Samuel Butler once wrote of the marriage of Thomas and Jane Carlyle: "It was very good of God to let Carlyle and Mrs. Carlyle marry one another, and so make only two people miserable and not four".
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:30 AM on May 4 [10 favorites]


In late 1988, I was living in Spokane when Palmer performed at a concert in the Spokane Opera House. I didn't go. Instead, we had friends in from out-of-town and the six of us went out to dinner and, after dinner, decided to go to a small bar at the top of the, I *think*, Davenport Hotel for some drinks.

When we arrived at the bar, it was moderately busy and we got a great table with a good view to the stage where a pretty good cover band was playing. After about 45 minutes, the bar suddenly got very busy — packed. Someone in the crowd yelled a request to the band, "Play some PALMER!"

The band started to play "Addicted to Love," and, after a verse or two, a part of the crowd started cheering as a man got up from a table and made his way through to the stage.

It was Robert Palmer and he took the mic from the awestruck singer and finished "Addicted to Love" and then a remarkably good performance of "Simply Irresistible," with the crowd singing along.

He then, turned and thanked the band and went back to his table.

It was fucking magical.
posted by bz at 11:33 AM on May 4 [63 favorites]


Trivia time. On Robert Palmers' late 70s album like Pressure Drop and Sneakin Sally Through the Alley the band backing him up is made of Lowell George ( Little Feat ) and The Meters. And it's good.
posted by Liquidwolf at 11:42 AM on May 4 [7 favorites]


I'm trying to listen to the new Robert Palmer tape but Evelyn, my supposed fiance' keeps buzzing in my ear.
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:05 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


sundrop (and others), maybe Tom didn't mention side 1 of Palmer's Sneaking Sally album, but it definitely got covered in the comments.

I started following Tom's column because of the MF coverage when he was wrapping up 1970. The TNOCS comments section is one of the those old-style internet communities, where strong friendships have been formed and lots of people have contributed back (most recently see mt58's crossword puzzle).
posted by morspin at 12:17 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I've seen Nagels in rooms in The Simpsons and Bojack Horseman.

yep, at least once (with the inimitable Simpsons overbite, of course).
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:28 PM on May 4 [4 favorites]


I remember this video being a big deal at time. So many parodies. There was a Royal Canadian Air Farce parody with a Bill Clinton theme that was not suave.

I actually liked the album 'Riptide' and included some tracks on funky mix tapes.
posted by ovvl at 12:47 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


I went looking for the episode of Northern Exposure where Joel dreams about Maggie with the models in the background, lip-syncing to what I misremembered as "Addicted to Love" but was in fact "Simply Irresistible." Unfortunately, every time someone puts the clip up on YT, fucking NBC Universal takes it down, they are just the worst. I remember it being probably my favorite Palmer video parody at the time. The best I can do is a still from pinterest, which I'm not on so I can't see if there's any video.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 12:54 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


"...but Clues is an interesting album, and shows his range."

From Teh Wiki:
Palmer, who played percussion on Talking Heads' Remain in Light, had the favour returned when the band's drummer Chris Frantz played bass drum on "Looking for Clues" along with Palmer's drummer, Dony Wynn.

HOLD THE PHONE ROBERT PALMER WAS ON REMAIN IN LIGHT?!?
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:58 PM on May 4 [22 favorites]


Odd, I think, that the article didn't really dig into the context a little more. The mid eighties were something of a fraught time for discussions and works around sexuality and pornography, particularly in regards to female desire. At the same time Addicted to Love was made, Annie Sprinkle and Karen Finley, among a number of others, were exploring the line between desire and exploitation in performance art pieces that were widely discussed and alternatingly attacked and praised, sometimes within the same piece, by critics and even caught attention in Washington around founding for the arts and arguments about the "decline of morals" and the like, with major splits within the feminist movement over the issues involved as well.

The song has Palmer essentially cajoling a woman to give in to her desires and to him, lightly, hypnotically, and slightly bawdily, which the music conveys by using a rhythm pattern and guitar/keyboard/horn sound vaguely reminiscent of what passed for a "stripper club" sound, something that you could hear again more emphatically in the 1986 Randy Newman/Joe Cocker tune from 9 1/2 Weeks, You Can Leave Your Hat On, where the man singing is directing a woman in how to best seduce him. Here though the emphasis of the song is in suggesting the woman, or women more generally, have been posing as distant and removed from sexual desire, as an act that the singer is wise to and will free them from.

"The lights are one, but no one's home" is the hook for the video, starting as it does with a close up of one of the women in the "band", her face, like those of the others, close to a mask of inexpressiveness, not vacant in the sense of empty, more vacated as in not there in the moment. The women are dressed in black and red, like the cloud scene behind them, with Palmer and the instruments they "play" in bright white that shines out from that background seeming to illuminate the scene as if the light is coming from Palmer himself. (See Goya's Third of May 1808 for a radically different but visually related use of white in this manner.)

The women are notably braless, which is made apparent when white lighting hits their dresses as they move, giving a sense of the pose of disinterest being undercut by their own bodies as they sway to the music impassively. Palmer's neat attire sets him apart from the other popular music stars of the era and lends a sense of respectability to his insistence, he's appealing to their alleged desires as a man of standing, not an outsider, but one who "knows women" and is giving them permission to let down their guard and give in to their own wants. The song was, from what I could tell at the time, as or more popular with women than men, at least as a song apart from the video, and that may be because it spoke to something in the time that was in the air that wanted answer of varying sorts and still lingers in some ways.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:04 PM on May 4 [24 favorites]


Unfortunately, every time someone puts the clip up on YT, fucking NBC Universal takes it down,

The DVD release of Northern Exposure was delayed for years by music licensing; finally, they put it out, missing many songs that had been in the broadcast soundtrack
posted by thelonius at 1:07 PM on May 4


Robert Palmer was a very well connected figure in those days. He comes across as a very decent bloke in books from Chris Frantz and Phill Brown and played with all sorts of legends during his career. One of the funniest stories of him is when he went to record with Lee Perry in Jamaica. Apparently he got surrounded by a mob of quite intimidating rastas in the middle of a vocal recording. Perry told him he couldn't do anything about it and he should just soldier on which is what he did.
posted by Kosmob0t at 1:13 PM on May 4


From the link in Capt. Renault's comment above:

In addition to Palmer and the five women, five musicians, off-camera, were miming what the models were supposed to do with their instruments due to British media production laws.

Does anyone know more about how these "British media production laws" were requiring the musicians to do this? The quote links to another article that doesn't explain any better.
posted by polecat at 1:31 PM on May 4


Page 5 on this PDF by the Musicians Union covers Miming sessions.
posted by Lanark at 1:47 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


Ha! I just discovered an accidental mashup. Here I am sitting at home listening to Kraftwerk's "Pocket Calculator", browsing this thread and decide to watch the "Addicted to Love" video but with no sound. Having grown up as a teen in the 80s, I've hit my lifetime quota of listening to that insidious song, tbh.

Anyhoo, it turns out that those asynchronous "synchronized" dancers work GREAT with syncopated Kraftwerk beats.

Here, see for yourself! (You will probably have to press the mute button on "Addicted to Love", this interface is uhh, a bit wonky.)
posted by jeremias at 2:11 PM on May 4 [12 favorites]


That is just great jeremias!
posted by Windopaene at 2:46 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


To conclude a slight Northern Exposure derail, there has been at least one Blu-ray release, since that awful DVD release, with all the original music. Available from wherever files are found.
posted by DeepSeaHaggis at 2:48 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


one time in the year 2000 my housemate & I had Addicted to Love playing in the living room & each of our four other housemates, separately, popped their heads into the room and said "Did you know this song used to be called 'Addicted to Drugs?'" because that was a fact we had all learned from Pop-Up Video
posted by taquito sunrise at 3:05 PM on May 4 [5 favorites]


This song is brilliant. Not a thing wrong with it; never has been. And Palmer's entire catalog, right down to his final album, is so much better than it seems at first blush.
posted by Dr. Wu at 3:09 PM on May 4 [9 favorites]


sundrop: So, that Stereogum article goes through a brief mention of Palmer's career, but fails to mention the fantastic "Sailing Shoes/Hey Julia/Sneakin' Sally Through the Alley". Unless I missed it in my admittedly quick scan? One of my favorite sing along tunes when I'm driving.

Don't forget "Get Outside" from the same album.
posted by emelenjr at 3:12 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Every so often I learn that Robert Palmer was British, and soon after, the fact escapes me again. It's some cousin of the Berenstain/Mandela/Baader Meinhof effect that makes it only possible to assume that he was American.
posted by acb at 4:02 PM on May 4


HOLD THE PHONE ROBERT PALMER WAS ON REMAIN IN LIGHT?!?

It must have been a cool time to live in the Bahamas across from Compass Point Studios.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:19 PM on May 4 [6 favorites]


From way up above: I strongly recommend the Number Ones columns. I consider myself super knowledgeable about pop music, but I am amazed how often I learn something I didn't know from them.
posted by wittgenstein at 4:39 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


HOLD THE PHONE ROBERT PALMER WAS ON REMAIN IN LIGHT?!?

My all-time favorite album ... How did I not know this???
posted by ZenMasterThis at 5:16 PM on May 4 [4 favorites]


My one and only time singing karaoke was to this song.

Much alcohol was involved.
posted by freakazoid at 5:56 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


HOLD THE PHONE ROBERT PALMER WAS ON REMAIN IN LIGHT?!?

If we're talking about other things that Palmer had a connection to, I'd point out that Palmer was a notable fan of the sf/fantasy author Jack Vance, and had listed Vance's 1966 novel The Eyes of the Overworld as his favourite book.

After Palmer's death, the author's son John Vance said, "Robert Palmer visited us on two or three occasions, for the first time back during the 'Addicted to Love' tour. After that he telephoned every now and then, typically in the middle of the night, with his companion Mary Ambrose, full of cheer and appreciation for some turn of Vancian phrase (he loved Cugel). Dad of course was compelled to critique Robert's musical tastes, and always encouraged him to turn to jazz; who knows, maybe he had an influence. Robert will be missed."

Vance returned the favour and begins one of his later novels with this line: "Toward the far edge of the Cornu Sector of Ophiuchus, Robert Palmer's Star shone brilliant white, its corona flaring with films of blue, red and green colour."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:03 PM on May 4 [14 favorites]


To conclude a slight Northern Exposure derail, there has been at least one Blu-ray release, since that awful DVD release, with all the original music. Available from wherever files are found.

You have to admit though, the parka cover on the DVD release was pure genius.
posted by madajb at 6:03 PM on May 4 [2 favorites]


I remember it being probably my favorite Palmer video parody at the time.

I’ll have you know my Palmer parody mercikessly roasting Michael Jackson, “A Dick With a Glove,” absolutely killed with 2 or 3 people in my junior homeroom class. And was actually kind of prescient.
posted by ejs at 6:24 PM on May 4 [7 favorites]


from wikipedia:
A quiet man in his personal life, Palmer was uninterested in most of the excesses of the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, although he was a very heavy tobacco user who smoked as many as 60 cigarettes a day
posted by readery at 7:15 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


Clues is a fantastic album! Johnny and Mary? Looking For Clues? Gonna throw it on right now.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:16 PM on May 4 [1 favorite]


jeremias: it turns out that those asynchronous "synchronized" dancers work GREAT with syncopated Kraftwerk beats.

And visually, those dancers, with their almost superhuman, almost identical looks and being dressed in black and red, are very similar to some of Kraftwerk's looks... compare them to the cover of The Man-Machine. It's pretty striking.
posted by Too-Ticky at 12:36 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


Clues is a fantastic album! Johnny and Mary? Looking For Clues? Gonna throw it on right now.

Wait, Johnny and Mary was a Robert Palmer song??? I just knew it as that really incongruous track in the middle of the Todd Terje album! Mind BLOWN!!!
posted by Guernsey Halleck at 2:28 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


And visually, those dancers, with their almost superhuman, almost identical looks and being dressed in black and red, are very similar to some of Kraftwerk's looks... compare them to the cover of The Man-Machine. It's pretty striking.

Amazing. Three cheers for synchronicity!
posted by jeremias at 3:15 AM on May 5


Great bass line, tight guitar lick, great vocal, red lipstick, black hair, eye makeup, see through black tops...
posted by DJZouke at 5:40 AM on May 5


Wait, Johnny and Mary was a Robert Palmer song???

I thought it was one of Bryan Ferry's 80s solo songs.
posted by acb at 5:58 AM on May 5


She's s fine, there's no telling where the money went.
She's so fine, there is no other way to go.


Oh well...never mind. Just go with the bass line.
posted by mule98J at 6:06 AM on May 5


The 80s are a foreign country.
posted by acb at 6:31 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


I remember, living through the 80s, that people spent a lot of time making fun of the 70s, especially disco, and that made me sad. So now when people make fun of the 80s it makes me happy.
posted by JanetLand at 6:38 AM on May 5


I haven’t read TFA yet, but having glanced at the byline, I realize that I used to work with the writer, Jem Aswad, many years ago at a music trade magazine. Great guy, been with his GF now wife, a similarly talented writer, Deborah Orr, since before we met.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 6:47 AM on May 5


The 80s are a foreign country.

And yet so many here are native born.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:58 AM on May 5 [5 favorites]


Not native born, but I did live there for 10 years. I always felt like a foreigner there and was happy when I finally emigrated to the 90s.
posted by fuzz at 11:52 AM on May 5 [3 favorites]


The 80s are a foreign country.
A land of contrasts, really.
posted by thelonius at 12:16 PM on May 5 [2 favorites]


It's quite odd. Addicted To Love was kind of like Robert Palmer's Let's Dance, and it made a huge star out of him, but it also made him a sort of bland rock star, and he really wasn't that at all - although not experimental (I mean, he really wasn't a Bowie) his stuff was so varied and eccentric. Apart from the 70s R&B stuff, Clues was a response to the growth of synth pop (the album's home to Looking For Clues, Johnny and Mary and a cover of a Gary Numan song about "the last electrician alive"); Later he did a wonderfully glitchy version of Some Guys Have All the Luck (which he claims was him rewriting the song without realising it, but rather than ditch it he credited the original writer, despite the fact that it's quite different) and covered You Are In My System . Around the time of System I saw him at the Oxford Apollo - the city's couple-of-thousand-seater venue for solid acts, which he was after fifteen-or-so-year career. After Addicted To Love, though, it was stadiums all the way, and I'm not really a stadiums kind of guy.

He did do that jazz album, by the way.
posted by Grangousier at 1:18 PM on May 5 [5 favorites]


Oh, and I heard that he claimed that Johnny and Mary was about Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, but he was just joshing, wasn't he?

Here's Martin Taylor's Django-inflected cover version. No words, no potential dictatorial hidden meanings.
posted by Grangousier at 1:23 PM on May 5


Oh, and one more thing. Thanks to that article I've found out that I'm older than all but one of the women in the video and it's freaked me out slightly. I'm not totally naive about the ages of fashion models and the curious dichotomy of making very young women look like much more mature women. It's not, now I think about it, surprising. But I know who I was in 1986 and it has freaked me out a bit.
posted by Grangousier at 1:42 PM on May 5 [3 favorites]


An all time fave, it plays to my occult romantic delusions. Cold as it is, it hits the spot. (As for the edit, dillusions is somehow a useful concept.)
posted by Oyéah at 6:04 PM on May 5


I kinda hate that article. It's all backhanded compliment, kiss-slap, slap-kiss.
posted by Chitownfats at 5:47 AM on May 6 [1 favorite]


I will never forget John Peel announcing it on Top of the Pops as "A Dickhead in Love".
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:52 AM on May 9 [2 favorites]


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