I was in the mood to spin a record and this was the one I went with. I own two Eurythmics records, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) and Touch. I’ve got all the CDs or MP3s (whatever they’re called), but only these two on vinyl. So, I had a seat on the couch and listened – you know, the way we used to do back in the day. It was nice to hear the album again and it sounded pretty good on the maggies. Side one played, with a little snap, crackle and pop, and was quite good. Here Comes The Rain Again, Right By Your Side and Who’s That Girl; all pop hits in 1983 and still phenomenal. Regrets and Cool Blue, both a little deeper and hipper than the average pop cut. All good. I was loving it. Then I flipped the record and was greeted by The First Cut; all kinds of new wave funky – and Aqua; arty and laid back. Then came Track 3; No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts), and I stopped. I had been looking at the album cover, reading the liner notes, checking email and whatnot, but at some point during this song I stopped… everything. When it finished, I played the song again and I was mesmerized.
It opens cool and mellow with a simple but compelling synth baseline, strings and hand claps all thanks to modern synthesized sounds. The moody track is joined by Lennox’s rich voice on the “oooo-oooo-oooo’s” and you have the makings of a chilled out ballad. But that’s not what you get. What you get is an aggressive love/hate ballad (I think), about the realization that the relationship is over and both parties know it. You know, that moment when the other’s voice starts to sound like nails on a chalkboard, and everything turns to spite. (That’s my interpretation, at least. It definitely ain’t about feeling and falling in love). This, in my opinion, is all bolstered by the severe – sometimes emotionally wrought – backing vocals. The way they come in stealing words from the singer, resembling an argument (as in the chorus), and at other times juxtaposed to the singer or singing over her. It’s a beautiful and intense new wave soul song; and I wish it was longer.
No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts) is what I think is known as a deep cut. It was never a single, never remixed for dance floors (hmm, I should do that myself), and never covered as far as I know. The song has a sort of Isaac Hayes feel to it (you know what I mean?); more than what it seems at first listen. I would have loved to hear him cover it. Or better yet, do it as a duet with Lennox. Annie Lennox, once called “The Greatest White Soul Singer Alive” (VH1), supports that accolade without the need for vocal acrobatics or hair-raising hysterical shouting. It’s not about showing off how many vocal tricks she can pull off in the song, it’s about revealing the anguish, anger and sadness of losing love, and making the listener feel it along with her. I felt it then, I feel it now. I love this song. (You can check it out below).
Explanation and Disclaimer
I should say in my Explanation, that I’m a child of the eighties and thus have a soft spot for the era. By the time Touch was released, I was cultivating a pretty descent music collection. My tastes ran the gamut from mainstream radio hits to public and college radio (back in the day), from ‘you name it’ to “what the hell is that?!” In high school I rolled with everyone from metalheads to rude boys to b-boys and back again. I made mixtapes of the latest in funk and soul for parties (even did a mix of DMSR that got in the rotation at an LA club in ’82), and I spent more than a few nights at Anti-Club with some of my punk friends. IOW, I just loved music. All kinds. And so did everyone I knew then and the people I associate with now. Not that special, I know. I just felt like explaining myself.
Now for the Disclaimer: I am not trying to be a critic and I’m not out to write real reviews. My thesaurus ain’t that big and my use of metaphor is elementary at best. I can’t paint a picture using simile and my wordsmith skills won’t build a aural landscape of pure verbiage. I wrote about this song because when I heard it last week I couldn’t shake it. It stayed with me. Not as an earworm (though I compulsively listened to it for days), but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Even when I listened to other music I could feel the song lurking there in the recesses of my mind. I felt compelled to say something about it, so that maybe I could move on (in a good way). My love affair with this song, and Eurythmics, is in no way over and will continue. That’s why.