Sunday, January 31, 2016

"Shiny, Shiny" by Haysi Fantayzee

Song#:  1537
Date:  07/23/1983
Debut:  88
Peak:  74
Weeks:  5
Genre:  New Wave, Synthpop

Pop Bits:  This UK duo with the odd name (pronounced HAY-zee fan-TAY-zee) consisted of Jeremy Healy and Kate Garner. Their music followed in the new wave steps of acts like Bow Wow Wow and Adam & the Ants and their style would influence other artists like Boy George (who was a school friend of Healy's). Their first single, 1982's "John Wayne Is Big Leggy," became an unexpected hit that reached #11 on the UK chart. A follow-up single didn't fare quite as well, but this third outing was a success reaching #16. The singles led to a debut album called Battle Hymns for Children Singing, which hit #53. Across the pond, they didn't really catch on. This song would end up being their only single to crack the US chart. The duo would split up later in 1983 with both artists heading out on solo careers.

ReduxReview:  Strange name, strange song. It's almost like Dexys Midnight Runners merged with Adam & the Ants. It's a bizarre combination. The chorus is like a childish taunt while the rest of lyrics are hard to follow. Despite the upbeat disposition of the song, the lyrics seem to point towards something darker that I can't quite figure out. I first heard this on an 80s new wave compilation and wasn't sure if I liked it or not. I still don't. I compare it to a clown (p.s.: I don't like clowns) where something deep and dark is wrapped up in a fake, happy package. It's a bit unsettling, but alluring in a weird way.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) After her music career fizzled, Garner would pursue photography. She would end up photographing many celebrities and would even do shoots for album covers. Probably her most famous cover shot was the one that graced Sinead O'Connor's 1987 debut album The Lion and the Cobra.  2)  The duo's UK hit "John Wayne Is Big Leggy" somehow escaped being banned by the BBC when initially released. One part of the satirical song imagines John Wayne having his way with a Native American woman. She complains that his gun holster is in the way and asks him to take it off. He refuses and tells her to turn around and he'll show her another way to have fun. Of course, this is a not-so-subtle reference to anal sex. Meant to be a commentary on the treatment of indigenous people by European settlers, the lyrics (set to a bouncy tune) passed through BBC censors without issue. The duo performed the song on Top of the Pops and it was even played on a Saturday morning children's show (thanks to its cowboy theme).


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