808 State - Spanish Heart (Ft. Bernard Sumner) (Updated 14th June 2013)
A track from their third (fourth if you count the Quadrastate EP) album, ex:el. As you might expect I was initially very interested in hearing this track as it features Bernard Sumner of Joy Division/New Order on lead vocals. Initially the track didn't have much of an impact with me, it's a lot slower than 808 State's other material and is a lot more vocal driven, and if I'm honest I prefer electronic music when it's more melodic and instrumental based rather than focusing too much on the vocal side of things. Having said that, there are still a few more dance-oriented flourishes within the song so its not totally chilled. For me the best part of the song is Bernard's vocal, and how well it gels with the rest of the track and ties it together. It's ice cold (as expected), especially with the piano chords punctuating it in the chorus. The song has quite a sad tone really, and that's reflected in the lyrics which depict a pretty bleak atmosphere. I can't say I know for sure what the lyrics fully mean, initially I thought that the song was about a failing relationship but the mention of "you both" in the chorus indicates there is a third party of some sort. A love triangle maybe? Who knows. In any case we are made to sympathize with Bernard's character as we discover that something he believed to be real wasn't quite so and the character is in denial. In any case, the songs sombre lyrics really suit Bernard's slightly melancholic vocal. I know he isn't technically the most gifted vocalist, nor does he have much of a range, but he has an authenticity about his voice that I like and it has emotive qualities too I think. I don't like the first minute of the song really were its just Bernard singing with some drum machines and not much in the way of melody around the vocals, but once the melody comes in it becomes actually a really lovely song. Its not the most instantaneous track I've heard, but its a great track and I can't help but feel its become quite overlooked in 808 State's body of work!