I’ve been downhearted, baby, ever since the day we met.

I turned on the TV yesterday and caught this video right at the beginning after not hearing the song for a good dozen years or more. I’d forgotten how much I liked it.

Primitive Radio Gods were very much a one-hit wonder. They continued to make music after this, but has anyone heard any of it? Some of these one-shot things are a lot more interesting than just “catchy songs everyone decided they liked before losing all interest in whoever was responsible for them”, though.

I remember this one standing out quite a bit at the time. There was nothing else like it on the radio in the mid/late 1990s. I also remember buying Rocket, the album this track hails from (I still have it somewhere), trying to like the other songs, and not really being able to make it happen beyond the opening track.

But hey, it wasn’t a total wash, because there was one really good song to keep coming back to. I always liked these lyrics:

And if I die before I learn to speak,
can money pay for all the days
I lived awake but half-asleep?

Something in there haunted me a little.

For some bizarre reason, at the time I somehow got it in my head that Chris O’Connor was the son of famous actor Carol O’Connor and he’d died tragically not long after the song became a hit, lending the whole thing another layer of poignancy. Imagine my embarrassment when I discovered it was just some dude unrelated to Archie Bunker who managed to set the charts on fire for a few minutes before falling off the pop culture radar.

I still like the piano solo during the mid-song instrumental break. It sounds like it’s being played by a child who only has enough understanding of harmony and the instrument to kind of hit random notes in the key of C major — which works out, because the song lives in that key — but there’s a sort of accidental beauty about it. It’s always felt like the only kind of solo that would have made any sense.

If only the video didn’t use the radio edit. It’s about a minute shorter than the album version and fades out before all hell breaks loose. I think the longer fade on the CD is a lot more effective.

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