Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Things Can Only Get Better" by Howard Jones

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2263
Date:  03/23/1985
Debut:  75
Peak:  5
Weeks:  23
Genre:  Synthpop, New Wave

Pop Bits:  Jones' debut LP Human's Lib did quite well thanks to two Top 40 singles including the #27 "New Song." In the UK, this album had been released much earlier, so they were ready for new material from Jones. He ended up putting out a new single titled "Like to Get to Know You Well" and it reached #4 in the UK. It was followed by a remix EP that featured the song. The US missed out on all of this and had to wait for his new album, Dream Into Action, to be prepped. It was ready early in '85 and this track was chosen as the first single. It meandered its way up the Pop chart until it finally cracked the Top 10. It also crossed over to several other charts including Dance (#10),  Rock (#21), AC (#38) and even R&B (#54). The hit would help push his album to #10 and it would eventually go platinum.

ReduxReview:  I was already on-board with Jones so when this song came out I was all over it. It was funky synthpop that featured a chorus that consisted of nothing but "whoa-whoa's" and I loved it. There are very few hit songs where the entire chorus is just a syllable and/or word like this. Some songwriters consider it lazy to not write actual words, but I think they are snooty snoots. I mean, how fun is it just to go "whoa-whoa-whoa" to this song? It works great and it made the song memorable. The album was one of my faves from '85 and I still enjoy it.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  Background vocals on this track and others from the album were performed by the female trio Afrodiziak. That group worked both in the studio and on tour with artists like Jones, Elvis Costello, Heaven 17, Sam Brown, Maxi Priest, Julia Fordham, and others. One member of Afrodiziak was Caron Wheeler who later joined the R&B group Soul II Soul. Wheeler sang the lead vocals on the band's two biggest singles, "Back to Life" (#4 Pop, #1 R&B) and "Keep on Movin'" (#11 Pop, #1 R&B). Both songs were platinum sellers in 1989.


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