I’ll let you into a secret. I had already chosen AOTM for February quite early on. However, one fateful night, in the midst of a pristine carbonara with a less than interesting dinner opponent, this album occurred to me. The album title is apposite for this month of strenuously fake commercialised sentiment.
My attention was drawn from the decidedly underwhelming company, to the masterful regality of this colourful album. What vocality; what depth of sound and excellent instrumentality. Scritti Politti, originally heralding from Leeds, created something truly special in their second album.
It remains the band’s most successful album, reaching number five in the UK, and was certified gold by the BPI for 100,000 copies sold. The album contained five singles, three of which were top 20 hits in the UK.
Having read Thomas Dolby’s startling memoir ‘The Speed of Sound’, I am awake to the immense influence of the Fairlight CMI synthesizer. It is used marvellously throughout the album, helping to create stunning soundscapes, as can be heard below.
The album from which “Perfect Way” emerged, Cupid & Psyche 85, combines feather-light, MTV-friendly vocals with R&B, funk, reggae, and state-of-the-art synthesizer programming. ConsequenceofSound
The track which keeps haunting my consciousness is ‘Small Talk’. Reportedly recorded in one afternoon, it is littered with excellent melodies and prickling poignant lyrics. The pace and effortless musicality add to it, making it a tremendous success for me.
Another stand out for me is ‘Don’t Work That Hard’, a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree. I added it to my ‘Almost Top Ten’ playlist.
Not content to just be a collection of au courant sounds and lush vocals, Cupid & Psyche 85 uses Gartside’s interest in Marxism and deconstructionist theory to subvert the blissful, accessible pop with ideas about language, work, and capitalism. ConsequenceofSound
Overall, Cupid & Psyche 85 is a work of astounding musical value. It is suitable for a wicked party or as background to a leisurely chat about emotional trauma. The musical excellence of this album is not confined to a certain discernment or taste, it is for everyone. But unlike most chain restaurants, this crowd pleaser is of very high quality. Have a listen to it if you have time. You won’t regret it.