Monday, February 8, 2021

"The Motion of Love" by Gene Loves Jezebel

Song#:  3399
Date:  02/06/1988
Debut:  89
Peak:  87
Weeks:  3
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Pop Bits:  This goth rock-influenced UK outfit formed by twin brothers Jay ("J") and Michael Aston started to come together in 1980. The following year the band made a move to London and soon after got the attention of Situation Two, an offshoot imprint of indie label Beggars Banquet. Beginning in 1982, the band released a few singles and then followed them up with their 1983 debut LP Promise, which made the UK Indie chart Top 10. A second album, 1985's Immigrant, would do well enough to boost the band's profile and that got them moved up to the Beggars Banquet imprint, which then allowed them to get distribution in the US via Geffen. Their 1986 third album Discovery would expand their audience at home while breaking them in the US (mainly at college radio) with two of the LP's tracks making the US Dance chart including the #11 "Desire (Come and Get It)." It set them up well for their next effort, The House of Dolls. This first single would be a minor blip on the US Dance chart at #46, but the exposure on college and indie radio stations helped the song get on the Pop chart, if briefly. Another track, "Twenty Killer Hurts," would get to #33 at Dance. The album would then top out at #108. While the numbers may not seem impressive, the band was highly regarded on the indie scene and garnered a large following both in the US and UK.

ReduxReview:  This song sounds like the band's stab and coming up with a viable, radio-friendly single. Even the production, courtesy of Jimmy Iovine (who only did two track for the LP), framed the tune in an arena-sized sound that gave it a solid pop/rock punch. It seemed the label (and perhaps the band) was determined to turn Gene Loves Jezebel from a college/indie rock cult group into a more mainstream-friendly act. Perhaps the label's answer to The Cure. It didn't quite work out that way, but I thought this hooky, exuberant track was a good one to show off the band. It is oddly quite a happy track with all its whoops, reverb, and brightly recorded guitars and keyboards. It took a couple of listens, but I ended up enjoying the song quite a bit.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  When the band first formed, they went by the name Slav Aryan (or by some accounts, Slav Aryan, Slavorian, or Slay Arian). After their move to London, they took on the name Gene Loves Jezebel. There seems to be a couple of origin stories about the name. The most common seems to be that the name was a combination of rockabilly pioneer Gene Vincent and his 1961 song "Jezebel." The other story involves nicknames given to the Aston twins. It seems like "J" Aston was dubbed Jezebel because of his initial-only first name and his long, flowing hair. Michael Aston got called Gene after Gene Vincent. It seems that Aston had a bit of a limp due to a poorly healed broken leg. Somehow, this got associated with Gene Vincent who in 1960 was in a major car crash while on tour in the UK. The accident added further damage to his leg, which had previously been shattered in a motorcycle crash in 1955 and left him with a limp. (Also in the car crash was another early rock 'n' roll star Eddie Cochran, who died from his injuries.) Aston's limp somehow brought to mind Vincent's limp and Ashton got called Gene. The pair of nicknames then turned into the band name. There is also an addendum to the second story that after the twins got their nicknames, someone flippantly said "does Gene love Jezebel?" The answer was apparently, yes, Gene loves Jezebel, and a band name was born. If the latter story is true, it seems the love didn't last all that long. Their relationship would turn tempestuous over the years with lawsuits and each brother forming/leading their own version of Gene Loves Jezebel.


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