Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Furs Furs Furs release Talk Talk Talk

The Psychedelic Furs : Pretty In Pink

On May 18, 1981 The Psychedelic Furs released Talk Talk Talk, a torrent of sound produced by Steve Lillywhite that peaked at UK#30 and US#89. Richard Butler sounds fed up with socializing, not that you can make out the lyrics without some help from a lyric sheet. In "Pretty In Pink", he aims his poison pen at a series of Caroline's sexist boyfriends

The one who insists he was first in the line 
Is the last to remember her name
He's walking around in this dress that she wore 
She is gone but the joke's the same

Richard Butler explains the song to The Quietus:

The idea of the song was, 'Pretty In Pink' as a metaphor for being naked. The song, to me, was actually about a girl who sleeps around a lot and thinks that she's wanted and in demand and clever and beautiful, but people are talking about her behind her back. That was the idea of the song. And John Hughes, bless his late heart, took it completely literally and completely overrode the metaphor altogether! I still like the song.

Columbia Records made a valiant effort to get FM radio to play the Furs, taking out this full page ad in FM Music Quarterly, a tip sheet for radio programmers. One of the things they should know: The Furs debut was the #4 most played album on college radio in 1980.

One of the Rolling Stone Record Guides gave the album 5 stars, its highest rating and Spin's Alternative Record Guide gave the album a 9/10. The immediate review wasn't also do high in praise. This is a 3 star review from Record World.

Most record reviewers didn't pick up on the Furs own sexism at the time. Songs like " Into You Like A Train" and " I Wanna Sleep With You" are lusty and perhaps lacking in respect. But enough did for Richard Butler to respond:

That was a little surprising. I didn't find there were any attitudes on there written as a male that couldn't also be felt as a female. If I were to posit the idea that I didn't want to have a romance with somebody, I just wanted to sleep with them, I was accused of sexism? I think that's a fairly commonplace way of thinking for males and females. Not every time a girl has sex does she want to get married and have babies with the person – you know? It seemed a curiously old-fashioned way of looking at it all, and in a way, reverse sexism.


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