Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Nik Kershaw 'Wouldn't It Be Good?'

Chart Peak: 4


There's a sizeable chapter in Giles Smith's Lost In Music about Nik - or rather Nick - Kershaw, whom he'd vaguely known as a jazz-funk guitarist touring the bars and clubs of Essex in the days before he was groomed for solo stardom. When I first read that just over a decade ago, I was quite surprised, not least because it had never crossed my mind before that he could have been a guitarist; he seemed so inexorably bound with synthpop.

Although I certainly heard 'Wouldn't It Be Good' a lot at the time, I don't think I really took in much of the lyrical content. It certainly didn't become clear until long afterwards that there's supposed to be more than one protagonist singing the verses: perhaps Nik could have clarified this a bit by changing his voice. In fact, perhaps he should have changed his voice anyway, because I don't find this sort of nasal hiccuping sound very appealing, and there was a lot of it around in 1984. I've learnt to appreciate the odder qualities of Andy Partridge's vocal because it projects a personality, but this sounds rather like they're trying to avoid personality at any cost. Many people, even ones who never met him in Colchester, will tell you that Kershaw is a talented musician, but if so he's selling himself quite short here.

In fact, my favourite moment on this track is the very start when it seems to stumble into action over the first couple of notes, adding a hint of humanity to an otherwise quite clinical sounding track. I used to quite like the spacey sound effect that introduces the chorus until I realised it was cribbed from the intro to 'You Haven't Done Nothin'.

Also appearing on: Now 3, 4, 6
Available on: Essential

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