We Don’t Want To Live Forever
These are the shownotes that go with Season Three, Episode Ten: We Don’t Want To Live Forever
Twice A Man – Sorrow (1983)
Sorrow, from the second album from 1983 of Twice a man, called: The Sound of a Goat in a Room.
I stumbled upon this band by accident because I bought a record around 10 years back with a cool album cover, and an intriguing band name. It was a thrift store in Amsterdam just around the corner from the office where I used to work. For only € 1 I could take a chance right?
That album turned out to be the first one “Music for Girls from 1981”. It turned out to be a gem so I looked up more info and bought more eventually.
What I found out was this: In 1981 Twice a man became one of the first fully electronic bands in Sweden. Dan Söderqvist and Karl Gasleben are the founding fathers, and the band initially had another name Cosmic Overdose. The band was asked to choose e less hippie sounding name before opening for New Order. The promoter of the concert gave them a list with suggested names, and they kept the one they chose for the show “Twice a Man”.
Initially they made quite accessible dark wave/synthpop songs. They are also one of the few bands that has bridged the gaps between New Wave, progressive rock and experimental music.
During the 90’s the band became a project group, composing music for film, dance and theatre performances, audio books and computer games.
I like their earlier albums the most, they have that dark edge that I’m always looking for. After that they became more poppy and those tracks don’t really stand out in my humble opinion.
Alphaville – Forever Young (Forever Young, 1984)
It’s classics time!
Alphaville was a German synthpop/rock music group, the members being Marian Gold, Bernhard Lloyd and Frank Mertens. Forever Young was one of their greatest hits.
On the surface, this is a hopeful song celebrating the virtues of youth, but a closer listen reveals a theme of aging and death. It is a real sign of the times, you can tell the song was written during the Cold War, from the lyrics “we’re only watching the skies, hoping for the best, but expecting the worst; are you gonna drop the bomb or not?”. The whole song breathes a melancholic atmosphere; the awareness that life is short and can end anytime.
For me, it has special meaning since me and my friends used to enjoy this song in the 80’s. However, since then I have lost three of them, three of my best friends, before the age of 35, due to suicide, drug abuse and cancer. They were unique and irreplaceable and I still miss them. For me, this song will always be dedicated to them, because they never got the chance to grow old. They are Forever Young.
The song’s dreamy and atmospheric music video, directed by Brian Ward, shows the band performing in one of the halls at Holloway Sanatorium in Virginia Water, England. You see people ranging from children to the elderly, dressed in ragged finery, awaken to watch the band, then walk through a diamond-shaped glowing portal.
The song was a hit in some European markets when it was released, but it never got beyond #28 in the UK and never even entered the top 40 in the USA, despite three separate releases by the band. A huge number of acts covered the song over the years, the last being Becky Hill in the UK. Her version was selected as the soundtrack to a UK Christmas TV advert last year. The original Alphaville version has been streamed over 600 million times on Spotify and YouTube.
The best moment I’ve heard this song being played was just a few years ago. With another surviving member of the same group of friends, I visited a Kim Wilde concert. As an encore, Kim Wilde played Forever Young to an audience of ageing fans of with a knowing smile on her face. It was a bit tongue in cheek, and yet it created a tangible sense of connection in the audience, and finally it was an emotional moment for the both of us, all at at the same time. Forever Young will always be a special song for me.
Sisters of Mercy – Flood II
It’s quite unbelievable that we didn’t play something by Sisters of Mercy in all 3 seasons so far. However in our first season while we were still talking Dutch, We mentioned the horrible concert that they did in 2016 I walked out of. There were 2 guys behind a laptop on stage, and Andrew Eldritch sounded like shit. From the skinny, amphetamine taking, enigmatic frontman he was in the late 80’s, known for his obscure MTV interviews, there was now a fat, bald man standing on stage that looked like he needed to make some money for his retirement.
No passion at all. Anyway… sorry for the rant but I had to mention it. How the mighty have fallen. Sometimes it’s best to just enjoy music of the gods of the 80’s but skip their live shows these days.
Still, Sisters of Mercy is a band that have put out a lot of quality. I’m referring to their first 2 albums, and the countless singles and EP’s. Especially the album “Floodlands” and more specifically, the track “Flood II”. My absolute favorite track by them and maybe even within the whole genre.
For our listeners that don’t know The Sisters of Mercy: They were an English rock band, formed in 1980 in Leeds. After achieving early underground fame there, the band had their commercial breakthrough in the mid-1980s and kept up until the early 1990s. These days, the band are a touring act only. And when I say “the band” I’m really talking about the ageing Andrew Eldritch and some musicians hired on the cheap.
So far the group has released three original studio albums: First and Last and Always (1985), Floodland (1987) and Vision Thing (1990). Each album was recorded by a different line-up, but singer-songwriter Andrew Eldritch and his trusty drummachine are the only points of continuity.
The Sisters of Mercy stopped recording new material in the early 1990s, when they went on strike against East West Records, whom they accused of incompetence and withholding royalties, and had pressured the group to release at least two more studio albums.
Singing Man – Magnus (Where Neon Goes To Die, 2014)
Magnus is a collaboration between Belgian singer, composer and musician Tom Barman (you may know him from dEUS) and techno DJ and English-born Belgian producer CJ Bolland, the man behind house acts like The Project , Space Opera , Cee-Jay , Pulse, Angel and Sonic Solution
These two guys don’t like to be boxed in in genres and their love of music clearly speaks from their collaboration in Magnus. Magnus delivers a synthesis of house, techno, pop, electro, breakbeat, drum ‘n’ bass, rock and remarkably old-fashioned new wave, one song sounding very different from another. It is a wild mixture of genres, all bound together by their love for darkness.
Ten years after the release of their first album The Body Gave You Everything, they released Where Neon Goes To Die in 2014.
This is a single from that album, Singing Man.
Yes indeed, that is Editors frontman Tom Smith. He helps to give Singing Man that special Depeche Mode atmosphere. The track really is a homage from these three seasoned recording artitsts, a finely crafted tribute to their undeniable love for dark 80s wave pop.
It may be worth your while to check out their album Where Neon Goes To Die, but keep in mind that the styles on the album are all over the place, even if each one of the songs is layered and sounds great.
Visonia & Dopplereffekt – Die Reisen
Dopplereffekt is an electronic music duo from Detroit that has been active since 1995.
A small fact: The Doppler Effect refers to the change in wave frequency during the relative motion between a wave source and its observer. … For instance, when a sound object moves towards you, the frequency of the sound waves increases, leading to a higher pitch.
Back to the band: Dopplereffekt is one of many electro projects that involves Gerald Donald, although he refuses to confirm or deny his participation. He typically uses pseudonyms such as Rudolf Klorzeiger and Heinrich Mueller. As the German names and scientific themes suggest, science is a major influence on Dopplereffekt.
In the mid 90’s they made songs about sex with mannequins, and robots wiping out the human race. Then they suddenly disappeared from the scene for a few years, and when they returned in 2003 their sound was much more serious. No more sex with mannequins, now they focused on scientifically themed deep space excursions. The group collaborated with Visonia, a Chilean producer called Nicolas Estany on the single “Die Reisen,” from 2014
The track is very warm and immersive. If you know Dopplereffekt, you will hear their recognizable and signature arpeggiated basses that always give a cosmic or spacey feel. A nice ans spiritually uplifting piece of music that we will start right now.
Ultravox – Vienna (Vienna, 1980)
Insert Infected Classic Jingle
Yeah, another Infected classic!
Vienna by Ultravox was a big hit for them, worldwide. I remember it making a huge impression on me at the time the song came out in 1980, and yet, it never reached number 1 in the UK. Can you remember when you first heard it?
Like so many of the famous hits we’ve discussed, the song came together very quickly. The drummer was using a CR-78 drum machine and was playing ‘Synare’ drum pads at the time. He played a pattern with the synth pads over the drum machine and said something like “What about this, then?” and there it was: the ‘Vienna’ rhythm. The band started playing to it and used a chorus idea they had laying around and had no verse for so far. It all clicked in a couple of hours. The only thing that was added in the studio was the middle ‘solo’ section of the song.
Keyboard player Billy Currie remembers where the lyrics came from: “We were all being very arty, discussing the composer Max Reger, and Midge Ure walked up and said in his Glaswegian accent, ‘This means nothing to me,’ and turned away. When we came in he’d put down this chorus using that very phrase.”
Ultravox was well pleased with Vienna, they knew it was the musical high point of the album and made it the title track since it was the song that best represented what they were trying to do. They had to fight with record company Chrysalis over having it released as a single. Chrysalis thought it was far too long at six minutes, way too weird for a Top 30 chart hit, and much too depressing and too slow. Other than that, they liked it.”
An innovative video (the first “mini movie” video), was filmed for this song. Partly in black and white, the clip was directed by Russell Mulcahy, one of the biggest directors of the early ’80s. The video was mostly shot around London, with scenes at the Gaumont State Theatre, Covent Garden Market and Searcy’s. The scenes shot in Vienna were done on the fly, with the band and crew visiting the city for a day and exploring by taxi with the help of a guide book. One scene that stands out is the one where a tarantula crawls across the face of a man. This brave soul is Julien Temple, who was another very popular music video director in those early years.
When this was released reviewers noted it was inspired by the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt and the Vienna Secession movement from early in the 20th century. Singer Midge Ure encouraged this analysis in some interviews that he gave at the time. However he later admitted to Rolling Stone Magazine that he lied to the papers about that at the time; “The Secessionists and Gustav Klimt, whatever. I didn’t know about any of that stuff. I wrote a song about a holiday romance, but in this very dark, ominous surrounding.”
The track was produced by German Electro wizard Conny Plank. The link with early 20th century Vienna only came into being when it was suggested by Plank. He said that for this grand epic, evoking the spirit of early 20th century Vienna would be fitting. Conny spoke about how everything was a big façade at the time. The music was becoming increasingly pompous, to the extent that endings were almost getting longer than the piece of music itself. Vienna was a response to that development. He was trying to make the track sound over-pompous, in such a way that it was obvious to the listener – actually pretty difficult to do.
As a an extra to this great show, while you’re there, pick up some merchandise! We have awesome hoodies, phone cases and trendy t-shirts. Want free shipping? Use the code INFECTME