Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"Life's What You Make It" by Talk Talk

Song#:  2601
Date:  02/01/1986
Debut:  98
Peak:  90
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  This English band broke through in the US in 1984 with the hooky synthpop song "It's My Life," the first single and title track from their second album. While the hit brought a lot more attention to the band, they didn't seem all that happy by the success, the pressures it brought, and their more commercial synthpop sound. The band decided to change course for their next LP The Colour of Spring. The shimmery synthpop of their previous LP was traded in for a fuller band sound that leaned towards experimental rock while retaining a bit of commercial appeal, as typified by this first single. The new sound was warmly received in the UK where the single got to #16 and the album #8. In the US, the news wasn't quite as good. Although the song got to #20 at Dance and #26 Rock, it just couldn't make it out of the basement at Pop. It would be their last charting single in the US.

ReduxReview:  I really like the groove of this song with that deep piano riff leading the way. The production of the song is terrific. It's moody and atmospheric and I really dig listening to it. However, I can see why it didn't really do much in the US. There is nary a hook in the thing, which is a near necessity for US pop radio. Yet I don't think the song needed one. The jam stands out on its own and makes an impression. It's just a shame that US listeners weren't patient enough to give the song a chance. They missed out.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  This song was basically a forced write. It seems their management didn't think there was anything on the new album that was single-worthy and asked them to write another song. They were reluctant at first, but then came up with this tune, which helped the album become their best selling studio album in the UK. After this, the band dove even further into experimental territory for their next album Spirit of Eden. Although it featured no hits, the album sold well and critics applauded their new sound. Feeling that their label, EMI, was not in-tune with what they were doing, they sought to dissolve their contract, which they eventually did. They signed up with Polydor and issued out the post-rock album, 1991's Laughing Stock. While critically well-received, the album was not a big seller. The following year, the band decided they had other interests broke up.


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