Monday, March 2, 2020

"World Shut Your Mouth" by Julian Cope

Song#:  3060
Date:  03/21/1987
Debut:  93
Peak:  84
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This multifaceted UK artist has had a complicated life and career. As a musician, he began playing in various bands starting in the mid-70s. He got his first taste of success with his psych-rock band The Teardrop Explodes. They released two successful albums in the UK in '80 and '81 and even grabbed a Top 10 hit titled "Reward" (#6 UK). They broke up before a third album could get released. Cope then went out on his own and signed with Mercury Records. His debut solo disc, World Shut Your Mouth, came out in '84 and did fairly well, but a second LP faltered and he was dropped by the label. Cope then signed on with Island Records and recorded his third album Saint Julian, which pushed Cope into a more straight-ahead rock sound. This song, which was not a track on his debut LP of the same name, was issued out as a single and it caught on reaching #19 in the UK. The tune then crossed over to the States where it picked up some airplay and got to #22 on the Rock chart. It also made the Pop chart for a short month. Both the single and the album (#11 UK/#105 US) would be his best charting efforts on both sides of the pond. After a somewhat successful follow-up album, Cope wanted his music to make a more artistic statement rather than be driven by what the label wanted. This obviously led to a tumultuous relationship with Island that ended in 1992. After a stint with Echo Records, Cope then just decided to ditch the mainstream and formed his own label/website Head Heritage. He has been releasing works on the label since 1997.

ReduxReview:  This is a terrific rave rocker that I had kind of forgotten about. The tune had a 60s rock influence along the lines of The Kinks and it featured a memorable chorus. Producer Ed Stasium (The Ramones, The Smithereens) put a crunchy sheen on the track that took it to the next level. It showed that if he wanted to, Cope could create solid tracks with mainstream appeal. The problem was that Cope didn't want to do that. He wanted to be his own artist and not one owned and operated by labels, so his stint as a commercially viable artist was brief. That's not to say his later works were inaccessible, they just didn't contain contemporary radio-ready rock like this. Still, over the course of a couple of albums (Saint Julian and My Nation Underground), Cope bent to the whims of the music business and came out with a few gleaming gems like this song.

ReduxRating:  8/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) While this song would be Cope's only one to reach the US Pop and Rock charts, he would end up with a few entries on the new Modern Rock chart. His follow-up to Saint Julian, My Nation Underground, featured the #1 Modern Rock hit "Charlotte Anne" and the #10 cover of The Vogues' 1966 #4 hit "Five O'Clock World." His 1991 album, the critically well-received Peggy Suicide, contained the #4 Modern Rock track "Beautiful Love."  2) Along with his music career, Cope has been a successful author. In addition to two autobiographies, Cope has written music commentary books, a fiction novel, and two well respected non-fiction books on archaeology and antiquarianism.


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