Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Year by year: 1980


I’d read a lot about Robyn Hitchcock before I actually sat down and heard his music. Magazine articles and encyclopedia entries made him sound like some Syd Barrett-obsessed eccentric playing brittle folk music with abstract lyrics and unwieldy melodies. Then I forgot all about him. Then I got Underwater Moonlight

And then along came “I Wanna Destroy You”.

Underwater Moonlight is brimming with self-confidence. Hooks, attitude, nonsense. Lyrics are quirky verging on obscene (one song is actually called “Old Pervert”), but Hitchcock’s personality and assertive vocal delivery make them sound special and strangely meaningful.

This album has it all. From insane violin (“Insanely Jealous”, obviously) to some of the greatest pop songs ever written (“Queen Of Eyes”, incidentally). Intelligent, gutsy, adventurous, charismatic masterpiece. Later, Hitchcock would emulate this brilliance but never quite top it. 

P.S. The Affectionate Punch and Searching For The Young Soul Rebels are almost as good, but someone had to be left in the snow. 1980 was some year.