Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Level 42 'Lessons In Love'

Chart Peak: 3


'Lessons In Love' became Level 42's biggest UK hit to date when it reached No.3 for three weeks in May 1986.

And indeed it was to remain their biggest British hit, and one of their biggest in the US. A work colleague of mine was a big fan of the band in their heyday, and we have a sort of running gag every time one of their songs comes on the radio while he's away from his desk.

"Guess which Level 42 song you just missed?"
"Was it 'Lessons In Love'?"

OK, occasionally it's 'Something About You', but it is almost always this one. And it's a song I know well anyway, having heard a lot of the Running In The Family album where it ultimately appeared the following year.

It's obviously one of their most pop-oriented songs from the times when they sought (and got) major mainstream success but I don't object to that on principle, especially as I'd only have a limited interest in funk jams. If anything, this isn't quite pop enough for my adult self; there's still a bit too much showiness which fails to gel somehow with the slightly daft lyric and the vaguely contrived way Mike Lindup has to get a little solo singing spot. In fact the phrase that springs most readily to mind is "watered down", with co-producer and -writer Wally Badorou trying to replicate a less dramatic version of the squelchy sounds he contributed to Talking Heards records earlier in the decade. I don't want to be too negative about this record when I don't actually dislike it, but it's somehow a bit too half-hearted to inspire enthusiasm.

Also appearing on: Now 4, 7, 10, 13, 14
Available on: Lessons In Love: The Collection

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