Thursday, February 21, 2013

12 Inches of Love: 'Poison Arrow'

"Poison Arrow" is the second in a trilogy of 12" singles ("Tears Are Not Enough" was first) that would become part of ABC's brilliant full-length debut, 'The Lexicon of Love.' Frontman Martin Fry wrote a letter to the listener on the back of these record covers. This middle message, like the song, is one of heartbreak, just before the love, whimsy and redemption found at the conclusion of the threesome ("The Look of Love"). Here is part of what Fry said:

"You are now looking at the second ABC recording. The A side is a song called "Poison Arrow" torn from the events of my personal life away from the glare of publicity. Many of you out there may think standing in the spotlight brings many rewards. But let me tell you, the fruits of fame can be sour and I too have my private moments.
However it is my duty and privilege to share some of these experiences with you.
Love's Ammunition, A Poison Arrow or the pain received at the hands of Cupid. But then again -- a love affair without a broken heart? Like making an omelette without breaking an egg."

He finishes his thoughts about "Poison Arrow" this way: "Be young. Be foolish. Be alphabetical." His concluding words on "The Look of Love" cover are much the same but a bit more optimistic and less wry: "Be young, Be foolish Be lucky in love..."

There are a couple of versions floating around out there, but the following take of "Poison Arrow," clocking in at nearly seven minutes, is called the "New Re-Mix." It's called "new" because this was the second 12" single of "Poison Arrow." I believe it was aimed at an American mass audience that had some catching up to do. Although it wasn't released until 1983, several months after 'The Lexicon of Love' came out, the song was still mixed and produced by album producer Trevor Horn. I must admit that even though I'm a sucker for 12" singles I'll take the album version of "Poison Arrow" almost every time. Still, it's fun to mix things up with this jazzy rendition, and that's why I pulled the vinyl off the shelf today.

ABC - Poison Arrow (Re-Mix) (mp3)


Echorich said...

Always felt this verison was possibly an outtake from Mantrap. It has a very jazzy/filmic quality for sure. I also kind of like the mixing down of Martin's vocal to create more of a musical sheen - if that's actually possible. This version is also spot on with the emerging New Jazz scene in London that was in full effect with Sade, Style Council, Carmel and the like. Yes vote #1 for the album version, but the New Re-Mix has merit certainly.
As an aside, you must be aware that Mantrap femme fatale Lisa Vanderpump owns the reality airwaves in with Vanderpump Rules on Bravo. She has aged very very well!

Brian said...

Hi Echorich. Spot on, as usual. I was (and still am) a big fan of the whole sophisti-pop scene, and I would put 'The Lexicon of Love' near the top of that list. I like to imagine how big Everything But the Girl (I know you love 'em) could have been if they could have released their first album more quickly. It sat on the shelf for an awfully long time. The scene had already peaked with fickle fans by the time it came out. Take care.