Monday, August 13, 2012

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - "Secret"

Secret - Crush

(Debuted December 14, 1985, Peaked #63, 12 Weeks on the Chart)

The number above can't be right. I saw the video for "Secret" enough times in 1985/'86 on MTV that it couldn't have possibly stalled at #63. However, the references (and Wikipedia, which I use strictly as a backup) all have that number as its peak, so it must be correct. However, the video of singer Andy McCluskey walking along an English seaside resort interspersed with scenes from the previous 40 years mix with the synthesized riff that drives the song. That's the power of music; whether you like it or not, certain melodies can take you back to a point in your life. It somehow allows you to remember old friends, think back on old times (good ones and not so good ones) and put yourself in a time and place where things were different.

While the LP Crush was the first that most of us in the U.S. heard from Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, they had been hitting in their native U.K. since 1979. In fact, Crush was their sixth LP. Early on, the group's stylistic leanings were toward Kraftwerk and Ultravox, but once they incorporated more melodic material into their repertoire, they began getting noticed on this side of the "Big Pond" as well.

The sound is a little quixotic, though. The fragile lyric seems to be overpowered by the force of the synthesizers and production on the record. It's definitely a 1985-era sound, which may be one of the reasons I can remember it so well in my own mind. 

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