Culture Club were one of those bands, like Duran Duran, that people always mentioned when they started waxing nostalgic about '80s music, but I never heard any of their songs until long after the '80s. I was reading an article in the '90s where the author said something like, "Well, if you've forgotten about the '80s, let me just say these words: "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?' " And I didn't understand what the hell he was talking about. Hey, I didn't want to hurt anybody.
Funny, then, that I still knew who Boy George was, even though I couldn't have hummed you a single one of his songs, and I knew that he was some really weird-looking guy. I did know that much. I think Boy George was trying to out-do Annie Lennox in the freak show department. Whether or not he succeeded I will leave up to you.
But in my sweeping effort to re-acquaint myself with '80s New Wave, I downloaded a Culture Club greatest hits album. What struck me most about their music was that it was kind of ... wimpy. I don't need all my music to rock, but I didn't expect their sound to be so, I don't know ... gentle. It was like this strange reggae/Philly soul/Caribbean hybrid. I'm surprised it achieved the popularity it did. I like ballads as much as the next guy, but Culture Club were like a band that could only make ballads. Culture Club are like all the weird dub tracks on Sandinista!, without any songs like "The Magnificent Seven" or "Police On My Back." Even their "uptempo" songs sound like ballads.
But the weird thing is, Culture Club were not only popular - they were kind of hip. Was it because Boy George looked like Oscar Wilde on LSD? From my end, their music, although not bland, does not seem terribly ... exciting. Culture Club is not what I would have been desperately waiting to hear my whole life.
Whatever. It was the '80s. I give up.