Monday, January 23, 2012

World Party - "Ship of Fools"

Ship of Fools - Private Revolution

(Debuted February 14, 1987, Peaked #27, 15 Weeks on the chart)

Although World Party is billed as a group (and is shown as one in the video below), it is essentially Karl Wallinger's solo project since he left The Waterboys in 1986. Despite the use of some studio musicians and backing singers -- including Sinead O'Connor -- Wallinger played most of the instruments on the Private Revolution LP. The first single from the album was "Ship of Fools," which would end up being the only Hot 100 listing World Party ever ended up with.

"Ship of Fools" is a song that strongly identified with the environmental activists who were then a small but vocal group that became much more visible as the next decade began. Normally, activist politics and music rarely mix well but "Ship of Fools" is an exception because its message isn't as blatant as it might have otherwise been. However, lines like the hook "You will pay tomorrow" let the sharp-eared listener clue in on the fact that there is a message in between the pop sheen of the music.

I remember "Ship of Fools" from watching the video on MTV in 1987, but didn't hear it often on the local Top 40 station. In fact, a couple of years later I was asking some friends if they remembered it and they were certain I was talking about Robert Plant's song of the same name (released on his 1988 Now & Zen LP) despite my insistence that it was a totally different song. I eventually found the World Party song for my music collection, and it's a song that is just as fresh today as it was when it was released. That's not something that can be said for a large amount of stuff that was recorded in 1987.

No comments:

Post a Comment