Monday, 16 June 2014

Level 42 'The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up)'

Chart Peak: 10


This track became the group's first Top 10 single in August 1983. They recently had their biggest Hit in their six-year chart history when 'Lessons In Love' reached No. 3.
The track that starts Side Three and so almost has to follow the Beatles is also the first track on here that's actually from the Now era. Indeed it has cropped up on at least one retrospective Now 1983 release, though it was never on a main-series release. It catches the band at a sort of transitional point, as they attempted to convert their reputation on the jazz-funk scene into more mainstream success - presumably with encouragement from the record company who were hoping for some return on their investment.

As such it should fall awkwardly between two stools, but in fact there's something rather addictive about it. I don't actually sound very much like my conceptions of jazz or funk music, but neither is is quite the same as the smoother Level 42 sound I remember from later in the 80s. It has a rather sparse arrangement, featuring some catchy little synth runs from Wally Badarou (who also gets a co-writing credit) and two contrasting vocals: Mike Lindup's naive singing and Mark King's cynical rap. Combine that with the chanted "Living It Up" subtitle and there's a set of elements that shouldn't really fit together but somehow they do I might even have to download this one myself. I'm not sure it's really summery beyond the fact that it has the word "sun" in the title, though.

Available on: The Very Best Of Level 42

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