‘Two Tribes’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood
From the album Welcome to the Pleasuredome (1984)
On Saturday night I hosted a party to celebrate the birthdays of myself and the lady in my life and, as always with anything that I do, I put myself in charge of the playlist which was, like the author, made in the 80s.
I often hear people talking of musical ‘guilty pleasures’ and quite often that is followed by somebody saying ‘80s music’. I’m not a person who has guilty pleasures; if I enjoy something I enjoy it outwardly, and also most music made in the 80s is straight up fucking awesome. This left me with a dilemma of which song to choose from the 100 that are on the playlist, something like Spandau Ballet’s ‘Chant No.1’ or ‘New Year’s Day’ by U2. In the end, the thing that convinced me was one part of ‘Two Tribes’, the calm before the storm of the denouement – ‘are we living in a land where sex and horror are the new gods?’ There’s something about the way that the line is delivered and what it leads to that strikes me every time I hear the song. The music video (above) is in sync entirely with the song and speaks to the Cold War politics of the time, with both the lyrics and the video overtly referencing the then-American president Ronald Reagan.
I must also mention that the album from which this song is taken is, in my opinion, a masterpiece. Welcome to the Pleasuredome sounds like nothing that came before it and nothing has come close to the unique song arrangements and contents since. The album addresses as I said above, the situation of the Cold War as well as the sexual and gender politics of the mid-80s (the band came to notoriety when ‘Relax’, the first single from the album, was banned from the BBC for what they construed as overtly sexualised lyrical themes) and was a crucial other voice for marginalised and disaffected people in Britain and over the world in 1984.
Finally, for the sake of fun, below is my 100 song 80s playlist. Enjoy!