Sunday, December 23, 2018

"Something About You" by Level 42

Top 10 Alert!
Song#:  2627
Date:  02/15/1986
Debut:  85
Peak:  7
Weeks:  27
Genre:  Synthpop, Sophisti-Pop

Pop Bits:  The roots of this band go back to three teenage friends from the Isle of Wight. They performed in various groups and after a move to London, they would develop a band that would eventually be called Level 42. Initially, their music was all instrumental and a bit experimental incorporating elements of jazz, R&B, pop, and funk. An initial charting single secured them a deal with Polydor and they recorded their self-titled debut LP in 1981, which featured a few vocal tracks alongside their instrumentals. The album was successful getting to #20 in the UK. Their next few albums were also solid sellers and they grabbed their first UK Top 10 hit in 1983 with "The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)." By 1985, Level 42 had refined their tunes to be more mainstream and their instrumentals had all but disappeared. Thanks to the years spent refining their skills, they also garnered a reputation of being an expert live act. While they were beginning to have success in other countries, they were still virtually unknown in the US. That is until this song from their sixth LP, World Machine, started to get them noticed. It had already been a #6 hit in the UK by the time it started to get promoted in the States. The song was a slow starter, but as weeks passed it just kept inching up the Pop chart until it finally landed in the Top 10. It was also a hit at Dance (#4) and AC (#10) while also scratching the Rock chart (#45). The single spent a long time on the chart (27 weeks), which was far above the average for a Top 10 hit. It helped the album become a solid seller that reached #18.

ReduxReview:  I thought this was a classy song that had wide appeal. The production, chord structure, and melodies just seemed to rise above the typical pop singles of the day. It was expertly crafted and even sounded like something "fun" from musicians whose skills were far above what was on display with this track. I loved this song (and still do), yet it didn't lead me to becoming a big fan of the band. I know some folks who have followed Level 42 for decades and even knew about them prior to this hit, yet I didn't jump on board the love train for the band. I should probably go back and explore their catalog a bit more. However, I'm still a big fan of this 80s classic.

ReduxRating:  9/10

Trivia:  The band name stems from the 1979 sci-fi novel The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. In it, a supercomputer was built to calculate the meaning of life, the universe, and everything. The answer ended up being 42 - hence Level 42. The Hitchhiker's Guide first began as a radio show on BBC 4 in 1978. It then expanded to a series of novels, a TV show (on BBC 2 in 1981), and a stage show. It took a long while but it was adapted into a movie in 2005 starring Sam Rockwell. It received mixed reviews and did mediocre business at the box office. The results stymied any hopes for sequels. The novel and its sequels have sold millions of copies with new fans still coming on board every year.


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