09 January 2008

"george" || louise tucker || 1983

Today we examine a track that truly defies genres.

Louise Tucker is from Bristol, a town in the southern UK, where she studied opera before meeting producers Tim Smit & Charlie Skarbek. The three of them collaborated on a project that became Louise's first album, Midnight Blue, released in 1982. It was a completely new idea: The fusion of Louise's operatic vocals and downtempo synthpop music. The result was a frothy, almost gossamer album of easy-listening synth music.

Don't get me wrong, though. This album may be filed under "easy listening" in the (most likely few) iTunes libraries in which is appears, but it rocks. When I play Louise through a powerful amplifier and hook up some refrigerator-sized speakers with 15-inch woofers to it, she could blow down the Astrodome. Her voice is one of the most powerful that I've ever heard in any genre of music, and although it's extremely bizarre to hear it with all of the synths, the output is undeniably fantastic.

The follow-up album, 1983's After The Storm, was more of the same frothy goodness. It almost could have been released as a double set with Midnight Blue, in fact. Many artists who create something wonderful and unique with their debut album completely screw themselves over by trying something totally different on the second LP (see: MC Hammer). Louise, however, avoided that plague. She made another solid record of this ooey-gooey-synthy goodness, and then disappeared into complete obscurity.

The last track on After The Storm is a lengthy number called "Bluesy," which is little more than Louise's voice with a faint, ambient synthesizer and a more prominent drum machine. When it ends, we as listeners are practically begging for more, and it seems almost criminal that her final album ends on this note.

The track that I've chosen for today is just a personal favorite of her repertoire. It's a waltz that sounds like it merits being played on "a liner that is cruising the Atlantic," but it rocks hard enough to crank in your car while driving around town, dramatically yelling the title of the song as it's barked in the lyrics. It also features a bridge that's borderline histrionic, as it sounds like it's lifted from a death scene in a Rossini opera.

You'll laugh, you'll dance, and you'll most certainly "GEORGE!"

Listen to it here.


Unknown said...

I love the classical elements... very Rock Me Amadeus, and the vocals make me think of CocoRosie...

you should download "The Things they Carried" by Eux Autres. It's twee pop but very catchy!

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