Monday, February 10, 2014

Talk Talk - It's My Life

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of It's My Life, the second studio album from the English band Talk Talk. Following on the heels of their 1982 debut The Party's Over (click here for that review), this 1984 record further helped expose them to the world. It went to number 59 in Canada, number 49 in Sweden, number 42 on the US Billboard Album chart, number 35 in the UK, number 27 in New Zealand, number 12 in France, number 10 in Italy, number 4 in Germany, number 3 in the Netherlands (with a total of sixty-four weeks on that chart) and number 2 in Switzerland.

Side one begins with "Dum Dum Girl". As the third single, it went to number 74 in the UK, number 34 in New Zealand, number 31 in the Netherlands, number 24 in Switzerland, and number 20 in Germany. This infectious synth-pop dance song likes to mix it up with the tempo, from the slower chorus to the verses the build in intensity.

"Such a Shame", the second single, was inspired by the novel The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart; it was one of lead singer Mark Hollis' favorite books. This song charted at number 89 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 49 in the UK, number 39 in New Zealand, number 9 in the Netherlands, number 7 in France, number 4 in Italy, number 2 in Germany and number 1 in Switzerland. The opening makes me think of some kind of jungle safari, and I like how the ending closes out too.

"Renée" is the sad tale of a young woman whose life has passed her by. The arrangement on this one really helps set the mood well.

The title track is next. "It's My Life" was released as the lead single; it charted at number 73 in Australia, number 46 in the UK, number 33 in Germany, number 32 in New Zealand, number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100, number 30 in Canada and the Netherlands, number 25 in France, number 7 in Italy, and number 1 on the US Billboard Dance chart. I am a big fan of this song; I loved dancing to it back in the 80's and still get fired up when I hear it today. It has just the right amount of angsty rebellion to it that was perfect for the youth of the 80's. It instantly takes me back to the spring and summer of 1984, with good friends and good times. In 2003, No Doubt charted with a successful cover of the track.

Side two starts with the brooding ballad "Tomorrow Started".

"The Last Time" attempts to lighten things up slightly with its arrangement. The lyrics have a dark edge to them though as if the singer is talking about committing suicide.

"Call in the Night Boy" intrigues me though I am not quite sure what it all means lyrically. I particularly like the piano solo.

"Does Caroline Know" was the B-side to the first single. The percussion on this one stands out for me.

The record closes out with "It's You".

While I knew Talk Talk from the title track, the rest of It's My Life was totally new to me with this review. As with their previous album, I definitely liked what I heard, particularly on the first side. This one lives on the fringe of the synth-pop of the early 80's that I was very much into; I have added it to my "get in the future" list.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Talk Talk, like the Beatles, started off sounding one way, progressed rapidly and ended up with a very different sound.

I initially lost interest after It's My Life but after some time went back and revisited their latter releases to find all sorts of new sounds I really appreciated.

Thanks for this one, Martin