Sunday, July 1, 2018

"Perfect Way" Scritti Politti

Song#:  2451
Date:  09/07/1985
Debut:  87
Peak:  11
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Synthpop

Pop Bits:  When Green Gartside formed Scritti Politti in 1977, the band was involved in the UK punk scene. Their raw sound coupled with arty, sometimes political lyrics gained attention and it got them signed to Rough Trade Records in 1979. The band recorded a couple of EPs for the label prior to recording their debut album. However, the direction of the band took a big left turn when Garside suffered a major panic attack after a show and needed to recover. During that time, Garside began to develop a fondness for pop and R&B music and his interest in indie/punk began to wane. Once back to work Garside recorded a song based on his new influences titled "The Sweetest Girl." It became the band's first charting song in the UK and a debut album soon followed that made it to #12. That prompted a change to a major label (Warner for the US) and a change of scenery as Garside took off for New York. With two new band mates and famous producer Arif Mardin on board, Scritti Politti recorded their second album Cupid & Psyche 85. The LP's first single, "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)," would reach the Top 10 in the UK. In the States, the single got to #4 on the Dance chart, but failed at Pop. However, this second single would grab the airwaves and after a slow start the song nearly made the Pop Top 10 peaking at the dreaded #11. It would also get to #6 Dance and #85 R&B. In the UK, the song was the album's fifth single and it stalled at #48.

ReduxReview:  This band went through quite a change. This commercial-leaning dance-pop track is vastly different from their indie beginnings. Many artists make changes to their sound over time, but this song sounds like something Scritti members would have been rallying against back in the day. However, those that love 80s synthpop were probably glad Garside went through his musical change as this was such a catchy, radio-friendly track that easily made a lot of people happy. It would be the band's only major hit in the US, but it was a solid one and the album is a bit of an 80s synthpop classic.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) In the beginning, the band was known for being Marxist-leaning, which was occasionally reflected in their lyrics. They seemed to particularly like Italian Marxist philosopher, writer, and politician Antonio Gramsci. As a nod to Gramsci, they adopted an Italian phrase as their name. Scritti Politici basically means "political writings" and that seemed to fit in with their music and with what Gramsci did. However, Garside thought it needed a little rock 'n' roll update and change the second word to Politti so that the name flowed easily like the early rock song "Tutti Frutti." Although Garside and the band would abandon their Marxist beginnings, the name would stick around.  2) Jazz legend Miles Davis ended up doing a cover of this tune for his 1986 classic album Tutu. Apparently, as Davis was recording the album, his producer Tommy LiPuma suggested adding a cover tune and gave him a bunch of pop albums for Davis to listen to and perhaps find a song. Davis ended up loving "Perfect Way" and chose to record it. Garside was able to meet Davis afterward and the pair became friendly. Davis would even perform on a track titled "Oh Patty (Don't Feel Sorry for Loverboy)" from Scritti Politti's third album Provisions. That song would be a hit in the UK reaching #13 in 1988.


1 comment:

  1. I wish he hadn't had such crippling stage fright. This is a wonderful song from a very interesting record.