Cupid & Psyche 85
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Cupid & Psyche 85
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Audio CD, March 12, 1986
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Media Type: CD
Artist: SCRITTI POLITTI
Title: CUPID & PSYCHE 85
Street Release Date: 07/06/1987
Around the time of Cupid & Psyche 85's release, Scritti Politti mastermind Green Gartside was fond of citing deconstructionist theory as an influence on his subversion of boy-meets-girl lyrics. He might just as well have named Elvis Costello, given the trenchant nature of bubbly-on-the-surface pop tunes such as the U.S. Top 20 single "Perfect Way" ("You want a margin of error for two") and "The Word Girl" ("The girl was never real / She stands for your abuse"). With veteran Aretha/Dusty/Bee Gees cohort Arif Mardin on board for several cuts, and contributions by pop subversives such as Fred Maher and Robert Quine, Cupid remains a classic of hyperintelligent post-new-wave pop funk. --Rickey Wright
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I had found the cassette in a cutout bin - hardly a dignified place for such a fine collection of tunes. I'll admit that I bought it mainly for the familiar radio tracks "Perfect Way" and "Wood Beez," but almost every track on the album could have been solid a Top 40 hit. (The CD contains all of the tracks found on the cassette, but their order has been rearranged slightly, placing the remixes and alternate versions at the end of the disc.) I have the cassette with four bonus tracks that couldn't fit on the LP version, and of those bonus tracks, only "Flesh And Blood" - which features a female guest singer named Ranking Ann in place of Green - is a track I can personally do without. [I'm just not into deep reggae.] Aside from that, even my least favorite tracks - "The Word Girl" and "A Little Knowledge" - are still good.
Undeniably, Green Gartside does have an unusual voice - a silky near-falsetto more than vaguely reminiscent of Michael Jackson - but it fits perfectly with his keyboard work and the precise accompaniment of band mates David Gamson [drums] and Fred Mahur [guitar and backing vocals]. I can't imagine these songs being sung by anyone else.
I can't understand why radio overlooked "Lover To Fall," which I consider one of the best tracks on the entire album - if this one doesn't get your feet tapping, you'd better see a neurologist. Ditto that for "Small Talk" and "Don't Work That Hard." Make sure you crank up the subwoofers for the remix of "Absolute" - it has a deep, tight bass line that will knock your socks off.
I just received my shiny new CD copy a few weeks ago, and if you like infectious, FUN music, you should order it too. "Cupid and Psyche 85" is, without a doubt, one of the most thoroughly well-crafted albums of the 80's. I would also recommend the 1988 follow-up album "Provision", which is not quite as captivating as "Cupid and Psyche 85" but certainly does have its moments.
Perfect Way was the big hit, and I still crank it up each time. But Wood Beez is the one that lives on for all my friends.
'Each night I go to bed...
I...pray like Aretha Franklin...'