Friday, 3 April 2015

7 inch singles collection: Scritti Politti - The Word Girl

Green is the colour...


A-Side: The Word Girl (Flesh & Blood)
B-Side: Flesh & Blood

(Virgin 1985)

Scritti Politti is a name that to me promises something other than it delivers. The name, apparently, means political writing - so what I expected from Scritti Politti when I first heard the name was some kind of agit-pop political diatribists - all angry shouting and choppy guitars, not the more melodious dance-pop that they delivered. Of course it being dancey stuff initially set my teenage self against it - as with many different genres that I was set against during my youth I've come to appreciate more as I've aged. My excellent wife has a couple of Scritti Politti albums and I feel a better understanding of them now than I ever did, and also a realisation that amongst the soft dance tunes there are writings of political import as well.

Notwithstanding the above The Word Girl was a song that I quite liked at the time - it has a sweet lilting reggae melody that feels light and airy. Green Gartside's voice is quiet and precise, and captures the essence of dreamy adoration that he feels to the girl in question. there's a the coming to terms with the fact that she's not just ideal, or a word, but she is "Flesh and Blood" as well. There's not much more that I can say about The Word Girl - it's a pleasant song that seems lightweight and throwaway, but ends up ensnaring you in it's charms.

Flesh And Blood is a recurring theme here - not only is it the subtitle and lyrical coda to the a-side, it's here in full glory as the b-side. During the course of this blog we will encounter records with different songs as b-sides, records where the b-side is an instrumental version of the a-side, and b-sides which are remixes of the a-side, but here is a unique example of a b-side that has exactly the same tune as the a-side, bu different words and a different singer. Flesh And Blood is rapped by a female with a Caribbean accent - Ranking Ann. Her tone is more aggressive and confrontational than Gartside's singing - and well it should be as she's rapping about how she (and all other women) are actually flesh and blood human beings - not just objects (for adoration or abuse). Not sure that it's as successful as the a-side. The contrast between the style of singing and the music doesn't really work for me, on the other hand the mirroring between the two sides of the record is nice idea and executed well.

Ultimately though, for me, there's little more to this than one good song that passes a few moments pleasantly. Oh, and I enjoy the fact that the singer's first name is Green.

Next time it's probably about time for another Shadows record...

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