[9] Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, ‘Souvenir’

Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

As the wistfully melancholic synth refrain chimed in, Junior rushed over and gave me a hug. That’s what OMD can do.

See also: Atomic Kitten’s ‘Whole Again’, obviously.

My obsession:

[19] Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, ‘Electricity’

This is exactly the kind of tinky-tonk Casiotone tripe that gave electronic music a bad name from the moment it began to enslave the charts. Isn’t it wonderful?

“I don’t want it” said Junior.

Well, there you go. On the contrary, I do want it, a bit. It’s the sort of high concept stuff OMD specialised in as they ran the gamut from “our one source of energy, the ultimate discovery” to Joan of Arc to the atomic bomb, accompanied by tinny synths and tupperware beats. It’s what music was made for.

And it’s topical – as the economy crumbles into little bits around our ears, Andy McClusky gargles about “the final source of energy, solar electricity…”, pointing the way to a brighter, less oily future. Way to go, big man. Shame about Atomic Kitten.

[16] Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark, ‘Maid Of Orleans’

The 31st biggest selling single of the year starts off with some industrial noises, still more tuneful than Japan’s squeaks and whirs, before a kind of military waltz tempo fades in. It’s hypnotic and addictive, but still alienating until the melody comes in. These elements build and build, constructing OMD’s best song. It’s effortless.

It’s also their second single about Joan of Arc. What was the fascination? I know Jane Wiedlin looked quite cute in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but this was years earlier. Junior and I have no answers. We prefer to stand rooted to the spot by the metronomic rhythm, musing on OMD’s position in the hierarchy of great synth duos.

6th, we reckon.