Sometimes a simple-but quirky synth hook is all it takes to get a song stuck in your head FOR YEARS. Such is the case with the pre-”Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” Eurythmics track, “Sing Sing.”
I have no idea what’s going on in the lyrics (maybe Shredder 1984 can translate for us?), but Annie Lennox sings dispassionately in French over a mid-tempo disco beat and lots of strange audio accoutrement. Produced by the legendary Conny Plank, the track is a synth-pop standout on an album – 1981’s “In the Garden”- that otherwise sounds more like something from The Cure than from the group that would later deliver us synth-centric hits like “Sweet Dreams” and “Here Comes the Rain Again.”
Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox went on to dominate the 1980s pop charts with slickly produced albums and singles, but it is great to hear them in a more constrained, minimal context like on “Sing Sing.” You get the feeling that they probably recorded the main riff in one afternoon and then spent a raucous evening tracking and mixing all the weirdness going on around it. For a group noted for its baroque studio perfectionism, “Sing Sing” is a fleeting glimpse at their impulsive post-punk roots.
Chris Frain produces and performs electronic music under the moniker Pattern Language. His EP, Total Squaresville, is available from Happy Robots Records (UK) at: