Boing-ga-boing-ga-boing-boing, snap! Now that is a hook, bitches.
For a long time, the name Stephen Duffy was nothing more to me than the answer to a trivia question about who was the original lead singer of Duran Duran. That all changed in 1987, when I heard “Kiss Me” for the first time. I would later discover that “Kiss Me” had actually been recorded three times, the last of which peaked at #4 on the UK charts in 1985. But my heart belongs to the 1983 original, released under the name Tin Tin. This is bouncy, Erasure-before-there-was-Erasure synth pop at its absolute best.
The song has too many hooks to count, but here is a quick rundown of my favorite parts:
– The galloping drum beats in the chorus
– The slight flange on the drums
– The octave-jumping keyboard
– Boing-ga-boing-ga-boing-boing, snap! Damn, how do you resist that?
The chorus is a “Dune”-sized earworm as well, as Duffy tells the object of his desire that “Your love is better than wine / But wine is all I have / Will your love ever be mine?” It appears to be lost on him that he could use the wine to get the girl to love him (for a night, anyway), but oh well.
Following the eventual chart success of “Kiss Me,” Duffy would go on to launch one of the most striking about-faces in music history by forming the Lilac Time, a pastoral folk pop band that continues to record today. (I’m particularly fond of their 1999 album Looking for a Day in the Night.) The closest he would come to his pop past would be as songwriting partner for Barenaked Ladies’ Steven Page and Robbie Williams. I’m guessing that last collaboration could bankroll a dozen more Lilac Time albums by itself.
And now, for your viewing pleasure, I present you with a video for the, ahem, vastly inferior 1985 version of “Kiss Me,” which actually begins with 20 bonus seconds of the end of the video for “Kiss You When It’s Dangerous” by 8 Seconds. Remember 8 Seconds? No? Don’t worry, Dave Steed will tell you all about them and that song before you know it in his Bottom Feeders column. See you in two weeks, danceteria types.