I always wanted to write a very stereotypical music review, so here we go.
I grew up in a fairly small and provincial town in the north of Germany (Wilhelmshaven) and I was never all that interested in the usual stuff kids were interested in (soccer). So as a young teenager, I ended up spending a lot of time alone, taping music from the radio, listening to the latest charts from Britain. I remember one of the sounds that stuck with me the most when I was about twelve or so was produced by a group called “Dexy’s Midnight Runners” - fast-paced music, with a whiney voice singing about hell-knows-what over a band that featured a brass section. I had no idea what that was all about - my English wasn’t even really existing back then, and I don’t think anyone was able to understand what Kevin Rowland was talking about (if I had been able to understand it, I probably would have liked it: “Dear Robin, you’re always so happy, how the hell do you get your inspiration? You’re like a dumb, dumb patriot.” [from “There, There My Dear”]). As for the music… There was no Soul in Wilhelmshaven. How would I know what that was all about?
Sadly enough, Dexy’s really only survived for one album, before Rowland turned it into a freak show with fiddles (and worse, even later). Just the other day, I came across Projected Passion Revue, a new compilation with 1981 material, the centerpiece of which is a live recording. Of course, there’s the usual awkwardness about listening to this music now - and it’s not like listening to some pop from the 1980s that is now getting rediscovered for the umpteenth time already and that was very popular back then anyway. When you’re twelve or thirteen, you really just don’t know much about the world, and you kind of know it - even though you spend most of your time claiming the opposite. Re-discovering music like this is a reminder of that time. And, hey!, “There, There My Dear” still sounds awesome after all those years!