Friday, August 13, 2021

"What's on Your Mind (Pure Energy)" by Information Society

Top 10 Alert!
Gold Record Alert!
Rated 10 Alert!
Song#:  3581
Date:  07/16/1988
Debut:  90
Peak:  3
Weeks:  25
Genre:  Synthpop, Dance

Pop Bits:  This band headed up by Kurt Harland and Paul Robb got started on the campus of Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1982. The group worked on an electro/techno/freestyle sound and pushed out an indie EP in 1983. It helped get them signed to Minneapolis' Twin/Tone Records and a second EP, Creatures of Influence, was released in '84. The following year one of the tracks from the EP, "Running" was released as a single and it started to get some club action. It eventually led to the group getting signed by Tommy Boy who reissued the single. In the summer of '86, the track would get to #10 on the Dance chart. Happy with those results, the label then wanted a full album from the group. They would assemble a self-titled full-length debut and this track would be the first single issued out. The song became popular in clubs and would quickly hit #1 at Dance. The week it reached the top spot on that chart, it debuted on the Pop chart. It took a little while for the song to catch on, but once it did it carved a path up to the #3 spot. With the single slowly catching fire, sales were steady and it would end up being a gold seller. The hit would help the album make it to #25.

ReduxReview:  The basics of this track were great to begin with. It had a nice melody in the verse, a hooky chorus, and terrific production. However, that "pure energy" vocal sample is what took the song over the top. Its use was inspired and it basically created a very memorable secondary hook. The tune was absolutely infectious and it still is. I can't imagine an 80s playlist without the track. It is essential synthpop from the decade.


Trivia:  Most people quickly figured out that the male voice on the track that says "pure energy" was that of Leonard Nimoy's Spock character on the original Star Trek TV series. The sample of Nimoy's voice came from the 1967 episode "Errand of Mercy." Also heard on the track are the voices of Nimoy's co-star DeForrest Kelly (Dr. McCoy) and Richard Tatro, who played the android Norman on the episode "I, Mudd." So how on earth did the band get permission to use the Star Trek samples? Turns out they got a lot of help from Nimoy's son Adam. Apparently, Adam Nimoy was an attorney who specialized in entertainment law. He also just happened to know and be a fan of the band. That connect help InSoc get the clearance to use the snippets.


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