Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Shattered Dreams (1988)

"Shattered Dreams," Johnny Hates Jazz (1988)

In music, there are the giants. Then, there is Johnny Hates Jazz.

Described by as "A three piece band consisting of two damned good looking englishmen (and one unfortunately butt-ugly American)," these late 80s popsters were by no means the greatest band to ever tread the earth.

Had they emerged at the beginning of the decade, their music might have been considered fresh and exciting. However, by the time they appeared on the scene, their brand of New Romantic pop was starting to wear thin. The dandy sensibilities of artsy boys like ABC and Duran Duran were appropriated by bands like Johnny Hates Jazz and Curiosity Killed the Cat later in the decade, but their impact upon music was less important than that of their predecessors. Why? Maybe it was because the original spark of the New Romantics had withered into a crass banality. It became pastiche, a shadow of its former self.

"Shattered Dreams" is a good example of this degradation of the form. Listen to the track and note how the band appears to be going through the motions rather than stylishly delivering the goods. While the b-side shows some artiness, the a-side is trying too hard to tug at our pop-loving hearts. It's catchy, to be sure, but is the repetition necessary? And listen to the bassline. Ugh.

That's not to say I don't like Johnny Hates Jazz. I like them more than a certain Johnny disapproves of jazz. I do. Had they shown up in 1982 rather than 1988, their work would've been at the height of the zeitgeist rather than at the bloated, tired and disoriented end of it. And hey, at least they're not Rick Astley.

1. Shattered Dreams (12" Version)
2. Shattered Dreams (7" Version)
3. My Secret Garden

Download (10.78 MB)

No comments: