Sunday, January 7, 2018

Because "(I Just) Blew My Load In Your Arms Tonight" Didn't Have The Same Ring To It

The opening of this song sounds like somebody singing "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" really rapidly and quietly. I know it's just a synthesizer. But wouldn't it have been cool if it had actually been some square-jawed stud in Calvin Klein underwear sitting in the studio breathing "Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha" into a microphone? That's my dream; don't take it away from me. I must confess that I have, with my own voice, recreated the opening hook of "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" at various parties and social gatherings. It's a hit every time.

Anyway, you think your crew is bad? How about a crew that cuts? Now that's a pretty bad crew. Pointing out that "(I Just) Died In Your Arms" wasn't Cutting Crew's only Top 40 hit is sort of like pointing out that Don Quixote wasn't Cervantes's only novel, but, to be fair to the band, I might as well do it. Of course, no one types "I've Been In Love Before" or "One For The Mockingbird" into the YouTube search feature when they're in the mood for a quick blast of '80s nostalgia. It's OK guys. Your one magnificent contribution to retro '80s playlists, like Don Quixote to Spanish literature, is an artistic legacy to be proud of.

For years I assumed the "death" mentioned in the title alluded to some sort of "emotional" death, given that the singer seemed to be expressing remorse over an affair ("I should have walked away," "I know I was wrong"). Turns out there are many different kinds of deaths, including those that bring forth life. From Wikipedia: "The actual words 'I just died in your arms tonight' originally came to Van Eede while he was having sex with his girlfriend, the French phrase la petite mort, or 'the little death', being a metaphor for orgasm." Deep, dude, really deep. Even if that was how he came up with the lyric, was it really that wise to admit it? Couldn't he have claimed he'd been reading Camus or something? This might explain other lines such as "It was a long, hot night/She made it easy, she made it feel right." I'll bet she did. Here are some alternate titles that probably would have hindered the single's climb to #1:
  • "I Just Splooged In Your Arms Tonight"
  • "I Just Busted A Nut In Your Arms Tonight"
  • "I Just Jizzed In Your Arms Tonight"
  • "I Just Shot My Wad In Your Arms Tonight"
Nope, the title they went with was definitely the best one. I have to say, this is one conflicted '80s hit. It's got that potent mixture of sex and death that all great rock music thrives on. I think that, had he lived, this might be what Jim Morrison's inevitable '80s comeback smash would have sounded like. Highlights:
  • 0:07: The entrance of a stately cello, lending an air of elegance to the sleaze
  • 0:15: A cymbal crash, slowly fading upwards just as Nick Van Eede makes his dramatic entrance
  • 1:40: Little guitar bridge between the second chorus and the second verse that sounds like it was lifted from After the Fire's "Der Kommissar"
  • 3:22: After a guitar solo that sounds like your neighbor's step-mom trying to play hair metal, there's a violent, brutal drum fill, followed by a swell of voices, which leads into ...
  • 3:24: All the instrumentation vanishing swiftly into the background, allowing for the solitary re-emergence of the "Ha Ha Ha Ha" synth, because we totally needed to hear that again
  • 3:55: Van Eede finally fades into the night, leaving the guitars to harmonize and groan in the kind of sonic agony that would have made Joe Walsh and Don Felder weep.

The video features what Wikipedia calls "artistic fragmented shots." Is that what those are? I feel like I'm watching the "preview" of another channel in the corner of my screen while the main channel is still on. Initially, when I searched for the video on YouTube and saw that thumbnail, I assumed it might have been one of those clips where the uploader had fiddled with the aspect ratio in order to avoid copyright infringement issues, but nope. Everything sort of looks like a bad Depeche Mode album cover. I can't tell if the model is really good-looking, or if the camera is just really out of focus, but she lounges around in her posh European apartment in a bra and silk sheets, wearing a month's worth of eyeliner, while the camera cuts away to equally sexy shots of of pears, roses, vases, ashtrays, and tomatoes. Various images initially appear in the top left pane, and then, a split second later, appear in the large background pane! But all, like, zoomed in and stuff! I can't get a handle on it, man.


Anonymous said...

Spot on observation about the guitar resembling that from Der Kommisar even though the latter was 4 years prior. It's like someone left the guitar setup intact in the studio and the CC walked in and said, "hey, were good to go". But 80s productions techniques were shared across lots of bands. The overly-compressed guitar funk sound used on Billy Jean was also used on The Fixx Saved By Zero and other tunes. Also the "petit mort" theory offered by the CC guy is total bull - I mean "I just died in your arms to tonight - must've been something you said" was more likely motivated by the fact that his hookup for the night just told him "I have herpes".

Herr Zrbo said...

After the Fire's "Der Kommissar"? Don't you mean Falco's "Der Kommissar?" Who the hell are After the Fire?? Have I entered some sort of parallel universe where Falco never happened?

Anonymous said...

Yes so it was Falco's song and he did it in 81 to solid success outside of the US. A year later "After the Fire" did it with much greater success in the US and the UK. See

Little Earl said...

I feel like we've been down this road before.