White Label Wednesday: Vitamin Z, “Burning Flame”

Written by Music, White Label

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The funny thing about music in 1985: they would make an extended mix of anything. Even funnier, people would dance to it.

Take this week’s subject, the UK band Vitamin Z – pronounced Veetamin Zed by their fellow countrymen – who made their biggest splash with a slick, overproduced slice of mid-tempo ear candy called “Burning Flame.” Singer Geoff Barradale (now the manager of the Arctic Monkeys, thank you very much) does a mean Curt Smith impression – which might explain why the band opened for Tears for Fears at one point – and the song boasts a catchy, if wimpy, chorus. “How you teased when I first made love”? Even Morrissey blushed at that line. The song had its charms, but a catchy beat that makes you want to shake your groove thing isn’t one of them.

And yet, this song was a big hit on the dance charts. The Dead Milkmen weren’t kidding: we really will dance to anything.

This is not to denigrate the extended version any; given what they had to work with, the mix works rather well with the breakdowns and echoed vocals and what have you. Still, it’s not a dance track. Was there anyone circling the dance floor in 1985, saying to themselves, “This music is fine, but I’m not going out there until I hear ‘Burning Flame’”? There must have been, if the song’s chart success is to be believed, but who were those people? For some reason, I keep picturing stock brokers with ponytails. Whatever the case, they were white, that’s for sure.

In fact, let’s have some fun with this. I officially declare “Burning Flame” to be one of the whitest songs ever recorded. Let’s hear your suggestions for other songs that share this dubious distinction. Bonus points if there is an extended dance mix of the song as well.

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Vitamin Z – Burning Flame (Extended Version)