Song: Space Age Love Song – A Flock of Seagulls, Number 43, 5 December 1982
Ok, let’s get this out of the way right now:
Surely one of the most derided hairstyles in 80s pop music.
It must have been spectacularly irritating to look around.
In June of 1982 Flock’s best and generally only really known song, I Ran, reached number seven on the charts in New Zealand. Space Age Love Song is actually quite a good follow up. As are about two other songs on their fairly short Greatest Hits collection (it cost me $9… which is probably about right).
Listening to I Ran, Space Age Love Song, and The More You Live, The More You Love it struck me that the main reason this band was any good at all was the guitarist: Paul Reynolds. He had a good ear for hooky riffs that could make quite dull songs interesting. After the big self-titled album of 1982 (such fun!) the band is mostly window dressing some ordinary musical ideas and some ordinary lyrics.
Since you’ve been gone it’s been raining hard
Like crystal teardrops to the floor
It’s even raining in my heart
Across an ocean wide a voice that calls your name
A love that never dies like an eternal flame
Across the great divide for all eternity
I feel like I, and everyone of a certain type, wrote these exact same words in their diary when they were thirteen. I reckon the mistake they made was not extending the metaphor of rain in the heart. Something like “It’s even raining in my heart / sad puddles are forming in my intestines / grief-stricken mud is trickling out of my….” Maybe not.
Flock were interviewed in Smash Hits in 1982. They come across as quite serious. The dude with the haircut and his brother Ali are from Yorkshire originally, but moved to Liverpool. Mike had two hairdresser stores but chucked it in for the band.
In the Smash Hits interview the lead singer claims that, “Any idiot with two fingers crossed can make a record.” I beg to differ. Still it’s nice to know that a band I had previously thought of as sort of ridiculous was an actual band that played instruments and slogged it out on long tours building a following and pushing their songs up the charts. As anyone knows who has read this blog for a while I have a great big soft spot for the one hit wonders, forgotten stars, and almost made its of this world. It is somewhat sad to realise that in this interview the peak for this band has already past, and although they are talking about the promise-filled future the high point had already been reached. At the end of the interview the singer reflects on their ride so far: “You suddenly get that little memory of how it was… and how it is.” It seems to me that this sentence might be as true now for the band as it was in 1982.
But never mind all that. Let’s enjoy the fact of their self-titled album which I have to say is an enjoyable album, full of cool songs, nice hooks and a stupid haircut. More serious critics than me state that this was a concept album about an alien invasion. I don’t see it. The lyrics are too weak. The only thing that really seems to connect these songs is the frenetic pogo-ing you would need to do on lots of them if you wanted to dance at their concerts. Elsewhere I read that the band claimed to have actually seen UFOs. Although they seemed not to want to talk about that by the end of 1982: “Too much has been made of it. It’s like someone mentioning their car and forever after they’re asked about it.”
No, it’s really not like that.
Sadly, it would seem that by 1984 the singer had abandoned his awesome haircut.
Which, in a Samson and Delilah kind of way, might explain why the hits dried up for A Flock of Seagulls.