Monday, October 4, 2021

"Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls" by Book of Love

Song#:  3633
Date:  09/03/1988
Debut:  90
Peak:  90
Weeks:  4
Genre:  Synthpop, Alternative Dance

Pop Bits:  This Philly/NYC band officially came together in 1983. Made up of two high school friends, Ted Ottaviano and Susan Ottaviano (oddly, not related) along with Lauren Roselli and Jade Lee, the quartet's demo of a song titled "Boy" found its way to Sire Records who took a shot on the band. They re-recorded "Boy" and tossed it out as a single in 1985. It did well in clubs and ended up getting to #7 on the Dance chart. A second single, "I Touch Roses," did nearly as well getting to #8 Dance. The pair of hits had Sire calling for a full album and Book of Love's self-titled debut would get released in '86. The band also got hooked up opening for Depeche Mode on their tours, which helped to expand their audience. They finally got back in the studio in '87 to record their second album, Lullaby. To kick things off, this first single was issued out. Once again, it did well on the Dance chart getting to #5. The action there helped the song cross over to the Pop chart, but it would only circle the very bottom rungs for a month. I would be their only single to reach the Pop chart. The extra exposure helped the album make it to #156. A third album, 1991's Candy Carol, would sell a few copies and get to #174. Their 1991 LP Lovebubble would not chart, but it did contain the #4 Dance hit "Boy Pop." After that album, the band would split. Later in 2001, Reprise Records would release a compilation from the band titled I Touch Roses: The Best of Book of Love. A new remix of their first hit "Boy" would be issued as a single and it surprisingly went to #1 on the Dance chart. The band has reunited and performed together several times over the years.

ReduxReview:  Apparently, this was one of the first charting songs to contain lyrics that referenced the AIDS epidemic with "Strangers in the night, exchanging glances, but sex is dangerous, I don't take my chances." Weirdly, it also references a Frank Sinatra hit. The chugging tune had kind of a dark European synthpop feel, which was probably why they got paired up with Depeche Mode on their tour. Gurgling synths drove the tune while Susan Ottaviano's expressive alto creepily crawled over them. The track leaned towards goth, which was starting to invade college and indie radio. However, it wasn't something that was prime for Pop chart success. The band and the song are interesting late-80s curios.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) The first track on Lullaby is a dance style remake of the 1974 #7 instrumental hit "Tubular Bells" by Mike Oldfield. The tune became popular thanks to its use in the hit 1973 horror classic The Exorcist. The song melded right into the next track, "Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls." In their "Tubular Bells" remake, band member Lauren Roselli imitated a line from the film said by its young star Linda Blair, "mother, make it stop!"  2) A song from their third album Candy Carol would end up having a horror movie connection as well. It would be picked up for use in the 1991 Oscar-winning thriller The Silence of the Lambs. Band member Lauren Roselli wanted to branch out into acting and ended up getting cast in a small roll in the film. It seems Book of Love was recording their album around the same time that Silence was being filmed and Roselli played "Sunny Day" for director Jonathan Demme. He liked it enough to use it in the background of a scene in the film. Roselli would also be cast in Demme's 1993 Philadelphia.


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