Monday, 25 June 2012

"don't wanna be here no more"

Nik Kershaw's Wouldn't it be good is fairly compositionally sophisticated for a pop song, with a dramatic harmonic transition (from relative minor to major) between verse and chorus and a neat bit at the end where the verse and chorus melodies run simultaneously. Neither of these tricks would be too surprising in a competently written showtune, but together with the "thick" production (crunchy guitars and synths filling up the available sonic space) they give the song an unusual sense of scale.

The video, enlivened with some advanced Quantel magic, adds to the drama, although it's difficult to believe that handsome Nik is really as miserably down-and-out as he has to pretend to be for the first verse. Metaphorically, the lyrics work the conventional Petrarchan opposition between freezing ("the cold is biting / through each and every nerve and fibre") and burning ("the heat is stifling / burning me up from the inside") into a sort of pretend social commentary - the "pressures of modern life" or some such produce two different kinds of unbearable affect, forms of life from which one would dream (with a cruel, condescended-to optimism) of escaping.

There is a sense of both of the song's lyric positions - despairing loser and cracking-under-pressure high-flyer - being tried on like costumes; the assertion the song wants to make about their interchangeability ("wouldn't it be good to be on your side / grass is always greener over there") comes off as glib.

1 comment:

H said...

Always associate this song with footage of Miners strike mass pickets.