Wednesday, December 18, 2013

When the Wife's Away, Scritti Politti Will Play

After a week away Mrs. LTL! returns today. So, I had better hurry because these are looong versions, and it would not be good if I'm spinning this 12" single when she comes in the door... no, not good for anybody.

Scritti Politti's full-length debut, 'Songs to Remember,' had a series of lengthy delays before its release. So, by the time the album was in the rack on Sept. 3, 1982, three singles had preceded it. This one, "Faithless," was sandwiched between "The Sweetest Girl" and the double A-side "Asylums in Jerusalem"/"Jacques Derrida." It's nice to have all of these as 12" singles, but if you can only have one, "Faithless" is the one to grab because it's the lone song of the trio that was extended from the album version. And if you don't have 'Songs to Remember' you should go get it right now.

If you're most familiar with 'Cupid & Psyche '85' material, it may come as surprise to you that prior to that pop phenomenon the music of Green Gartside was chock full of some serious themes. Green spoke to Smash Hits about "Faithless" in '82. He said the song was about "how living without faith brings you both happiness and sadness. I've never had any religion, except maybe politics, although I am interested in having some means of achieving social order and progress." You 'Cupid' fans may be shocked by the production of the early work too.

"Faithless" peaked at No. 56 on the UK singles chart and and was listed at No. 35 on NME's best singles list for 1982. These two versions from the 12" add up to more than 19 minutes!

Did I mention the wife hates Scritti Politti?

Scritti Politti - Faithless (Triple Hep N' Blue) (mp3)
Scritti Politti - Faithless (Part II) (mp3)

4 comments:

Echorich said...

Wonderful stuff! I was introduced to Scritti Politti by Skank Bloc Bologna. It was wildly different than anything else out there, sort of psychedelic and dubby with possibly the closest thing being Metal Box era PiL. It was the first song I ever bought on Rough Trade and set a high benchmark for the label in my mind.
When Songs To Remember came out and the pre release singles were put out, I was at first a bit deflated that the music seemed easier to understand, poppier, not requiring as much effort on my part as the listener to understand, but the lyrics were sharp - filled with the politics of society and the personal. I came to love STR quickly.
When, after STR his interest in US rap and hip hop lead to the disco/funk of Cupid & Psyche '85, I didn't flinch and was completely taken in by the gorgeous/joyous production of the record.
The only Scritti Politti album which I have a hard time with is Anomie and Bonhomie, it would be a wonderful EP but it just doesn't feel like a Scritti Pollitti album for me. But White Bread Black Beer pulled things full circle for me and the man of many styles and sounds was back on a track I could get behind.

Brian said...

Echorich,
First off, I'm impressed you go back to Skank Bloc Bologna, and I hope you still have the 7". Worth big bucks now. I'm thinking only a handful of Americans really knew about the band before The Sweetest Girl... and even then I'm not too sure there were THAT many of you. Little before my time.

I think you like Provision more than I do, but we are on the same page with the other albums. White Bread Black Beer felt like a miracle.

I don't think we have ever talked about the two new songs that were on the compilation from 2011. I have really wanted to post A Day Late and a Dollar Short during this series, but I have cold feet about the powers that be coming after me. That may have to wait until I'm ready to close shop. Anyway, that song has done nothing but make me want more, more, more.

Echorich said...

You think right Brian, I am a fan of Provision it was a pop oasis in a era, the late 80's, where everything was going wrong in music in my mind. I was seriously loosing interest in rock and focusing my attention on the Chicago, New Jersey and New York house scenes and the vibrancy of that music. But there is some amazing, glossy and satisfying music on Provision. Oh Patti is a track that could have easily have been written for Tracey Thorn/EBTG. The album's LA sheen was a bit of contrast from the NYC/London axis of C+P 85, but 23 yrs later Pet Shop Boys attempted to capture that same sunny, shimmery backing vocal style on Elysium to somewhat simmilar success. Yeah I really like Provision.
As for those two new track on the compilation, A Day Late has sort of a wonderful updated C+P 85 feel while A Place Where We Belong feels like a Provision song played through the White Bread Black Beer lens (horrible mixed metaphor). I love them both.

Anonymous said...

I was obviously too slow on the uptake here, both these links seem to be dead. :( Is there any chance you could re-up these again? I had this on 12" but have never seen digital copies of both side. Fingers crossed! :)