Wednesday, June 23, 2010

80s Jams #57: The English Beat "Mirror In The Bathroom" (1980)

The English Beat's first hit single, "Mirror in the Bathroom" is one of the pinnacles of the British ska revival, up there with any of the best Specials singles. Unlike the loose funkiness most commonly associated with ska, "Mirror in the Bathroom" is as coiled, paranoid and jumpy as Joy Division's Unknown Pleasures, only with a more danceable beat. Singer Dave Wakeling has since admitted that the lyrics are about cocaine addiction and its attendant paranoia, making sense of the almost creepy self-absorption of the song, but its real power comes from the knife-sharp interplay of the band, who were easily the tightest and most exciting of the ska revival acts. Decades later, "Mirror in the Bathroom" is still as musically exciting as it is lyrically disturbing. -- Allmusic

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