1988_0318 : What You Want




In June ’87, I wanted to make the perfect Techno-pop song. I was regularly scouring the 12″ bins in all my favorite indie shops for interesting looking records that might get me excited about the possibility of scoring a hit and getting a lucrative contractual deal with a label that might be able to afford me a living, while making the kind of records that I wanted to make.

I wasn’t concerned with fame and fortune. Just artistic satisfaction; that was the lesson I had learnt from watching my favorite Factory artists… New Order, Section 25, The Wake… and countless other artists in the post-punk scene (Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Siouxsie & The Banshees and so many others) who appeared to subsist off of making quality music and letting the college radio audience find them.

What You Want was another one whose lyrics originated from beneath the belt. I wanted to do something lyrically more daring than I had done before; it also marked a second studio phase where I suddenly cared more about singing; my vocals began to sit in a higher register, and all of a sudden I wanted to become Prince or George Michael. This was a blatant attempt at a song about sex, with me being slightly coy about it when the choruses rolled around.

Interestingly, the arrangement was supposed to have become my homage to Section 25’s Crazy Wisdom, but this arrangement never materialized for this particular song. I stripped theirs down to the following: Warm Synth, Brass Embellishment, Low chunky bass, Synthicord lead, Sequencer with Delay, Lead and backing vocals, Drum set: Kick, Snare, Hat, Clave/Wood block, and Claps.

Virtually none of it came out that way, and the song developed entirely from the Piano bass line instead.

Frankly the song is a little embarrassing when I hear it now because I can’t imagine being that same person any longer. But it was definitely a valiant effort at the time.