Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hidden 'Gems' On My MP3 Player: #10 - Pete Shelley

PETE SHELLEY - HOMOSAPIEN

CHEESE FACTOR: 4/10



"I'm a shy boy,
You're the coy boy

And you know that we're homosapien too"

Any song that starts like that is going to be a killer, no question about it.

I first discovered this song in 1994 believe it or not. It came out in about 1981 but for some reason it passed me by, or I passed it by, take your pick. I can't quite recall it being played on the radio at the time and I listened to a lot of radio. I was aware of The Buzzcocks, via my older brother, and looking back I can see how this was intended as a Buzzcock's single but never made the grade due to the standard in-band fighting. Shame really, as this catchy tune could have propelled the band to all new heights as it is it's now remembered as being Shelley's best known song. He never quite matched it, my view anyway.

So how did I discover such a boppy tune in the midst of my dark years? Easy - it was a constant at the nightclub that I used to frequent on a Wednesday night. Not everything from that time was bad, there was good and this is one of those things. In fact I fell so much in love with it that it's an essential for me, as important to me as Taxi Mary and Would?

Cheese factor? Take a look at that suit! Nik Kershaw would come visiting a few years later and borrow that suit only to turn up the contrast. As a song it's damn near perfect. It has a killer backing tune, it doesn't stop and the lyrics are just enigmatic enough and yet also easy to sing loudly in a drunken state. Considering Shelley's sexuality (on public record) I've always wondered if he wanted to change the lyrics ever so slightly, just that one word, 'homosapien' to something a bit more stronger, say, 'homosexual'?. Food for thought. In fact when you listen to it, change that word and the song takes on a whole new meaning.

I'm stunned beyond words that in this era when 20 year old songs are raped and pillaged by those with little or no talent that no-one has gone back to this one to steal it and 'claim' it as their own. Surely an oversight, or is that it's just too perfect? Perhaps Shelley has a gun on hand for when people contact him and say, "Hey, guy, the Sugarbabes are going to take your backing track and put new vocals over the top. Do you mind?" Whatever the reason it is gratifying to know that this song still exists in it's pure form, may it remain that way. One of the most perfect dance/party songs for any and all occasions. That it's subversive only adds to it's charm.

1 comment:

robert thomas said...

Loved this song when it came out and played it to death. Although the queer subtext was not lost on me.

I remember Molly Meldrum plugging it on Countdown and saying it should go to #1. Not sure if it did but I remember it certainly got a lot of airplay.