Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Love is Stronger Than Death

Song: Love is Stronger Than Death
Artist: The The
Album: Dusk

The The formed back in 1979 and basically consist of one consistent member, lead Matt Johnson. Born and raised in London, Johnson formed his first band at fifteen and was introduced to a variety of styles in the nightclubs and dance venues owned by his uncle. The The began as a dance outfit with heavy use of synthesizers and drum loops. “Dusk” was my first introduction to the band; saw the video for first single “Dogs of Lust” on “120 Minutes” along with an interview by Johnson who was strange but very intriguing. A local radio station I loved was playing “Dogs” quite a bit and was raving about the record so I bought it and fell in love.

“Dusk” is a poetic rock record about love, death, and the basics of the human condition. Johnson’s vocals are dark, almost Goth in a way, something you respond to or feel little for. After falling for “Dusk” (which is great from start to finish) I went back and got the more dance oriented “Infected” which included the fun title track as well as a song with Neneh Cherry. I didn’t connect with it as much and didn’t pursue any future or past releases from the band, though 1989’s “Mind Bomb” and the debut; “Soul Mining” are well regarded among rock critics.

I hadn’t dug the CD out in a while, having imported the key tracks onto my iPod ages ago, and was floored to find out that none other than The Smiths’ Johnny Marr had joined the band for this record and has his distinct guitar work on almost every track. Listening to “Dogs of Lust” again I can’t believe I didn’t realize this before as it echoes “How Soon is Now” quite a bit. Marr did not return on future albums, but his mark is certainly a key ingredient to “Dusk’s” success.

In 2004 singer Angela McCluskey released her hit-or-miss album “the Things We Do” which featured an excellent, if too faithful, cover of “Love is Stronger Than Death.” This is a song that is so amazing I fully feel it deserves to be a classic and yet from my knowledge, it was never released as a single. I can see torch singers or really vocalists of all kinds covering this song with great effect. Wouldn’t it be something to hear a song like this performed on American Idol? I think it is not out of the realm of possibility. This is a great song and “Dusk” is a lost treasure form the 90’s.


The “hot” video for “Dogs of Lust”:

1 comment:

BrianF said...

Coincidentally, The The requested to become my Myspace friend just the other day. It's in the air...