Educating Peter # 29

January 6, 2013

As you may or may not know, around this time every week there is an attempt to soften my view of the music of the 1980s. (My view is that music of the 1980s is horrid.) This attempt takes the form of a song from the aforementioned decade, and it’s chosen by two enthusiastic proselytizers, Michael and Steve (Hi, guys!). Michael instigated the series and has provided the bulk of the songs, but Steve occasionally chimes in. They both choose songs they think will elevate my opinion of the 1980s from a cultural cesspit to something more like The Renaissance, and have chosen a variety of songs. Unfortunately, their efforts have so far been in vain.

This time Michael has sent me an honest-to-goodness power pop song. Maybe he’s thinking he can win me over in the “The 80’s were great! – really!” stakes with a power pop song from that dreaded decade instead of what he’s given me up until now.

The Plimsouls – “Now” (1981)


0:00-0:02 – As soon as this started I thought of Phil Seymour’s “Precious To Me”. Oh-oh. Now I have “Precious To Me” stuck in my head. (“I love you so…”) This isn’t helpful.

0:03-0:07 – Egad. Now this is reminding me of “Wait Until Midnight” by The Prefects. And “Wait Until Midnight” has now replaced “Precious To Me” in my head. Grrr.

0:14-0:16 – Oh no. Now it’s reminding me of The Numbers’ “Five Letter Word”.

I sincerely hope this Plimsouls song doesn’t end up reminding me of every power pop song ever written.

I’ve just noticed the snare drum sound. It’s nice and un-80’s. In other words, every time the drummer hits his snare drum it doesn’t sound like an explosion in a cave. It sounds like a snare drum.

0:21-0:24 – The very first thing the singer sings is this: “Girl, I need your love tonight”. Ugh. I’m hoping against hope that the lyrics are going to improve very rapidly. Otherwise, I fear I’m going to be subjected to an inordinate amount of power pop lyric clichés.

0:26-0:28 – Second line: “I can’t wait, I must know”. Oh. So it’ll be the clichés then. [Sigh]

0:30-0:35 – “What’s on your mind, same thing’s on mine”. Uh-huh.

0:36-0:38 – “I can’t wait any longer…” I have a fair idea of what the singer’s thinking about, because his voice just got a whole lot more urgent. His voice also went up, up, up for what I think will be either the chorus or his need to go to the bathroom and lock the door.

0:40-0:55 – It’s the chorus. And I’ve just been reminded of “Precious To Me” again. Unfortunately, it was the combination of the chords used for the chorus (which were the same ones used at the start of the song when they first reminded me of “Precious To Me”) and the singer leading into the chorus with “Cos I need you tonight”. It instantly reminded me of Phil Seymour singing “That you’re precious to me…” leading into the chorus of that song.

0:55-1:08 – Well at least this is a little different. This part of the song is like a bonus chorus within the chorus, because there was the chorus (0:40-0:55), then this jaunty singalong (which sounds like a football team is singing it), and then it’s back to another one of the first chorus. So the structure is like Full Chorus = Chorus A, Chorus B, Chorus A. I don’t think I’ve come across that in a 1980s power pop song before.

1:08-1:22 – Chorus A. (See above.)

1:22-1:22 – It’s back to a verse, and I’m thinking of the The Numbers’ “Five Letter Word” again.

1:29 – I wouldn’t mind the singer not singing the word “girl” again. I don’t know why, but I’m finding it irritating.

1:41-1:43 – I thought the singer’s urgent delivery of the line “…well they’re just out of reach” here was pointless. Throughout this verse he was singing fairly low-key, but for the last line of the stanza his voice became more intense, which was followed immediately after by… more low-key singing for the rest of the verce. I don’t quite understand why he did that. For me it was the aural equivalent of being about to sneeze but then you don’t.

1:56-2:37 – Another ABA chorus. (I’d much rather be listening to ABBA right now.) I did like the tom tom’s leading into this chorus (1:54-1:56).

2:37-2:37 – A repeat of the chorus, leading to the fade-out. Because this is the last chorus, the band added a little extra something to listen to. Someone decided to used a descending quarter-note guitar line (i.e., exactly one note per beat). I’ll let you decide whether that was effective or not.

As for the whole thing, my conclusion is this:

Apart from the slightly different chorus structure, this was a completely ordinary 1980s power pop song.