Third Times The Charm? Modern English Re-Record "I Melt With You" Not Once, But Twice!


Back in 1982, Modern English scored an unlikely U.S. radio/MTV smash hit with "I Melt With You", a song whose popularity to this day belies its lowly chart position of #76.  The song immediately raised the band's profile in the U.S. from "non-existent" to "yeah, I've heard of those guys" while becoming their first Top 20 hit back home in the UK.

Funny story, when the song became a hit, the local indie record store near me did what any good record store would do when a band starts heating up and ordered more Modern English albums.  Only problem was that by going big on import copies of the album Mesh And Lace, the store was buying an album that did not actually contain "I Melt With You".  Honest mistake, being that the lyrics to the song itself include the phrase "mesh and lace" .



Those doing so were greeted by a band whose sound was noticeably moodier than the upbeat British pop jangle they'd fallen in love with love, but "I Melt With You" actually appeared on After The Snow, an album that manages to delight just as much as their big hit, but that peaked at #73 on the Billboard Top 200.

Once a band has this much heat, of course, the parent label swoops in and suddenly plies you with promises of more money and priority treatment.  The band, still high on their stateside success soon left the homey confines of 4AD Records, not to mention England, for the Big Apple and Sire Records.

Unfortunately, the move failed to generate further success as the band's next album Ricochet Days spent all of two weeks in the Top 100.  Another album two years later, Stop Start missed the charts completely.  By the end of '86, the band called it a day.



Singer Robbie Grey and guitarist Michael Conroy reformed the band as a trio in 1989 and inked a deal with TVT Records; a label then known more for their compilations of TV theme songs than for signing rock bands (although the label's 1989 release of Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine quickly changed that.

Released in 1990, the band's Pillow Lips saw the band do the unthinkable; re-record "I Melt With You".  Never mind that the original version of the song was readily available in its original form on After The Snow and a number of new wave compilation albums, apparently the powers-that-be at TVT felt the best way to sell albums was to include a new version of the band's best-known song.

Unfortunately, the band's re-recording of the song completely lacked the atmospheric intensity of the original.  The performance isn't horrible so much as the mix seems intent on burying the song's best qualities; namely the tom-heavy drums and soaring synth line that drive the chorus home. Even so, the re-recorded version peaked at the exact same chart position as the original version had eight years prior.

The band's reformation would prove short-lived as a contractual dispute with TVT forced Grey to end the band.



But the band wasn't finished re-tooling their best-known song, going so far as to re-record the tune yet again for the film "I Melt With You" (starring Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven and Thomas Jane).  This time around, however, the new version caters to the film's tense and brooding mood.

Thing is, this newest version is AMAZING, especially when heard within the context of the movie, which, itself, is an emotionally riveting story of four lifelong friends with a BIG secret who reunite, tempt the demons of their past, and set in motion a wild chain of events.

For those still unable to get enough of this song, Natalie Imbruglia ("Torn") has just re-recorded the song for inclusion on her covers album of male-sung pop tunes, Male, due in July.


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