Saturday, 6 July 2013

Soft Cell - Torch

An underrated song, really underrated in fact. Although really I could say that about the vast majority of Soft Cell's work. Of course, they're most remembered for their classic take on Tainted Love but it's left the majority of their self penned work unappreciated. Torches  - along with Barriers - are my favourite Soft Cell tracks.

So, let's put the song in some context. It was released in May 1982, almost six months after the release of their debut album. Crucially, it didn't feature on Non Stop Erotic Cabaret. Having said that, subsequent deluxe editions of the album will feature it as a bonus track. It's also become a bonus track on subsequent reissues of Non Stop Estactic Dancing too. Naturally, it had 7" and 12" edits. Of the two - I prefer the 12". Only because it's a club song and 12" suit clubs better. It also was backed by the B-side Insecure Me. Truth be told, I'm not a huge lover of that song and I do feel Torch is far superior. In terms of UK chart performance it reached #2 on the charts. It was the highest charting single that they wrote themselves. The only track that reached #1 being Tainted Love of course.

Torch has a fairly simplistic arrangement, although I certainly love the dance factor the saxophone gives it. Despite that it also manages to have a certain relaxed feeling too. It certainly doesn't have a claustrophobic and overly synthized feel. It feels very natural and organic really.

I actually think of all Soft Cell's material, Torch is one of the songs that best expresses Soft Cell's trademark seedy atmosphere. It's hard to articulate, but when I first heard Torch I could practically see those seedy clubs. It feels very authentic to me - like the atmosphere in the song is an accurate depiction of some of the clubs at the time. It's not because of any one element - I mean they have far more sexual lyrics in other tracks. It doesn't have harsh or dark electronics either. What makes the track so effective is something I can't quite work out. I guess it's one of those instances in musical listening where sometimes something just makes you feel a certain way for no reason. You can't rationale or explain it, but it just happens. I know certainly what way I feel listening to this. It's such an effective track I think that it demands repeated listening, and it's one of the best songs of the 80s

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