Track of the Week: Eurythmics / Sing Sing (1981, from In The Garden)

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.”

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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.

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Chris Frain produces and performs electronic music under the moniker Pattern Language. His EP, Total Squaresville, is available from Happy Robots Records (UK) at:

[https://happyrobotsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/total-squaresville]

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