Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Fine Young Cannibals 'She Drives Me Crazy'

Chart Peak: 5
Became their biggest hit to date when it made No. 5 in January 1989, following 'Johnny Come Home', 'Suspicious Minds' and 'Ever Fallen In Love' into the Top 10.
If 'You Got It' was a semi-successful attempt to recall old rock music, 'She Drives Me Crazy' is almost the opposite, a vision of a kind of futuristic rock. Of course 25 years later most of the biggest rock acts don't really sound like this, but that adds to the chart. Perhaps this is more like an alien's idea of rock music, taking recognisable elements of the sound and structure but turning them into something very different - there's a prominent riff but it's marooned in the sparse arrangement, with the bassline a distant hum and the distorted electric guitar sound dropping in from nowhere (I don't know whether it actually is a sample, but it's being used like one). They jostle for attention with Roland Gift's otherworldly, vulnerable vocal and the track's least rocky element, that insistent snare drum sound. More information is available on the internet about how they actually recorded it, but I'm more interested here in its effect as part of the track. You could see it as almost a parody of the metronomic drum beats forced on most rock in this era (as I criticised 'You Got It' for)., though it's more likely that somebody just thought it would sound cool.

Intentionally or not, the minimal arrangement concentrates the attention and sets up a slightly uncomfortable atmosphere, our protagonist sounding like he fears becoming genuinely unhinged by his obsession. A great comeback single that put the band back into the big league despite the wait since their first album; mind you , it was an even longer wait for more new material after the second album, fans having to hang on until 1996 for a few new songs on a best-of collection. This became the band's last penultimate appearance on a vinyl or cassette Now album, given the odd "bonus track" status of 'I'm Not The Man I Used To Be' on Now 16. For an act who appeared with a non-hit, not that many of their actual hits show up in the series.

Also appearing on: Now 5, 6, 15 16 [CD only]
Available on: The Raw And The Cooked


  1. The distorted electric guitar is odd; definitely a sample I think. Blue was my favourite of theirs. Good Thing on Now 15.

  2. Ouch! Major fail with 'Good Thing' My only excuse is that my Now 15 is still in shrinkwrap so I've never played it...
    As for the guitar, it's definitely being played off a sampler, I'm just not sure whether it's sampled from another track or just recorded to be sampled like the snare sound.