Reason #302 Why The ’80’s Didn’t Suck: The People Who Grinned Themselves To Death

housemartinsOne year after the terrific debut (London 0 Hull 4) comes this terrific sophomore outing from everyone’s favorite ’80’s socialists, The Housemartins. The brilliance of this band, not unlike The Smiths, was masking their subversive messages in some of the most glorious guitar pop ever recorded. Here, have a look:

They smiled so much and waved their flags
As she saluted to the military band
Most of the people failed to see
She had a broken bottle in the other hand
And she took them by surprise
When she took them by the throat
And said “My friend you’re not allowed to vote”
But they shook it all off
With a nervous laugh and cough
“Next time,” she said “I’ll let those people choke”

The people who grinned themselves to death
Smiled so much they failed to take a breath
And even when their kids were starving
They all thought the queen was charming

It’s a fast paced song, one of the best of the decade, jaunty as hell, and not close to being the best song here. That honor would go to Build, the album closer and a song that sounds more like their next, more commercially successful venture, The Beautiful South. It’s a beautiful balad and one that will stick with you once you’ve experienced it. Most of the other songs are pretty terrific, if a little lighter in both sound and lyrical tone. My favorites of the rest are Me and the Farmer, 5 Get Over Excited, and Bow Down, but you can’t go wrong no matter where you place the needle on this one.