Typically, shuffle brings me first to a song that I have actually inexplicably already written a lot about. I am a bit obsessed with the inception of my weird obsession with this odd Erasure album from 1994 I Say I Say I Say, largely forgotten by the wider world except for mega hit ‘Always’. I listened to the record endlessly as a ten year old, forgot about it in my late teens and then got mad into it again in my twenties. It’s stuck around since.
I write a lot about nostalgia when it comes to music, and with an album as odd and at times cringe-worthy as this it’s obvious that kid me is having some sway over my continuing interest in it.
But I wrote somewhere else about how this album has a very specific sound, a style of crisp and vacuum sealed synthesizers that only seemed to be in vogue for 18 months or so in the early ’90s, and sounded an awful lot like the sort of music OctaMed on the Amiga was capable of producing. I Say I Say I Say is that rare record where literally the only instrument is synthesizers, wall to wall. Percussion, bass, melody, everything but vocals (and a choir) come from the memory banks of some no doubt incredibly sexy old piece of hardware. It creates such an interesting and sustained vibe (awful word), like I am intruding on a completely separate world that exists within the RAM of an Amiga 500. The fact the lyrics for the record (and especially this song) are so fairy-tale like, repetitive and into the idea of a safe space, a sanctuary, a lover’s paradise deep in a forest (as the albums cover suggests) is such an odd thing to have juxtaposed against these cold sounding synths.
I was over the moon when I found out many years later that the follow-up to this record, Erasure, is just as weird and full of this idiosyncratic techno- folk. But that’s another story.