Classics and some curiosities in the history of music.
"When Love Breaks Down" is a single released by the English pop band Prefab Sprout in 1984. It was the first single taken from their album of that year, Steve McQueen. On this first release the single did not chart in the UK Singles Chart, but it was reissued in 1985 when it reached #25. The song was also the group's first chart appearance in the United States, peaking at number 42 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart in October 1985.Recorded and mixed at RAK Studios, London.The b-side to the original release is a song called "Diana" which would later be re-recorded and released on the album Protest Songs, which was originally going to be released after Steve McQueen but was shelved until 1989.The song was re-released in March 2007, this time with an entirely new acoustic arrangement, recorded mid-2006 by Paddy McAloon, to coincide with the 2-disc Legacy Edition of Steve McQueen which came with a disc containing acoustic renditions of eight of the songs from the album.Steve McQueen is the second studio album by English pop band Prefab Sprout, released in June 1985. The album peaked at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart and number 180 on the US Billboard 200. The album was released in the United States as Two Wheels Good due to a legal conflict with the estate of American actor Steve McQueen.The cover of the album is a reference to Steve McQueen's lifelong passion for Triumph motorcycles and the 1963 film The Great Escape, starring McQueen and featuring prominent motorcycle chase scenes (with stunts performed by himself on a Triumph motorcycle).On 2 April 2007 it was reissued as a "legacy edition" double CD, featuring a remastered version of the original album and a bonus disc featuring acoustic versions of the songs recorded by the band's frontman Paddy McAloon in 2006.
On an episode of the BBC Radio 1 program Roundtable, noted musician and producer Thomas Dolby, a panelist on the program, spoke favorably of Prefab Sprout's "Don't Sing", a track from their 1984 Swoon. The band subsequently contacted Dolby, who met with their frontman and primary lyricist Paddy McAloon in the latter's County Durham home. McAloon presented Dolby with a number of songs he had written, "probably 40 or 50" by Dolby's estimate, some written as far back as 10–12 years prior. Dolby then picked his favorites and asked McAloon to make demo recordings of them; these recordings served as the basis for Dolby's initial process of planning the album's recording.In the autumn of 1984, Dolby and Prefab Sprout began working on the album's songs in rehearsals at Nomis Studios in West London; after these sessions had commenced, they moved to Marcus Studios for proper recording. The sessions were of a mutually-amicable atmosphere, with the band being respectful of Dolby's edge over them in recording and musical experience and Dolby himself keeping into account the band's wishes, knowing that McAloon "wouldn't want to be diluted" by his additions to the album. Subsequent mixing was carried out at Farmyard Studios in Buckinghamshire.The bulk of Steve McQueen's sound is dominated by Dolby's lush, jazz-tinged production. McAloon's songs touch on a number of themes, including love, infidelity, regret, and heartbreak, and are lyrically "literate and humorous without being condescending in the slightest."Critically acclaimed at the time of its release, Steve McQueen reached number 4 in the 1985 NME end-of-year poll for best albums, as well as number 28 on The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop critics' poll for best albums.]Chris Heath of Smash Hits called frontman Paddy McAloon one of the best songwriters of "depressingly precise song about the joys, fears and disappointments of love" to emerge in the wake of The Smiths' rise and lamented his suspicion that "too many people" would be put off by the obscurity and complexity of Prefab Sprout's songs.] Richard Gehr of Spin cited Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Lennon–McCartney and Elvis Costello, among other figures, as some of the "many ghosts lurking" in McAloon's lyrics and wrote: "I confess that the usual sensitive singer-songwriter crap almost always makes me squeal with boredom, but McAloon delivers the bacon here." Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, called McAloon "a type we've met many times before—the well-meaning cad," and was reminded of "the justly obscure, unjustly forgotten Jo Mama—or of Aztec Camera if Roddy Frame were a cad."Subsequent retrospective reviews of the album have also been favorable. Jason Ankeny of AllMusic described Steve McQueen as "a minor classic, a shimmering jazz-pop masterpiece sparked by Paddy McAloon's witty and inventive songwriting." Alex Robertson of Sputnikmusic praised it as "a nearly flawless convergence of gorgeous, smart pop songwriting and immediately pleasurable production that divides itself into eleven songs that are both distinct and also separated by a common thread of excellence." Q's Gareth Grundy called Steve McQueen the most succinct expression of McAloon's skills as a songwriter, while Will Hermes, writing in Spin, described the album as "elegant" and found it to be Thomas Dolby's supreme achievement as a producer.
My love and I, we work well togetherBut often we're apartAbsence makes the heart lose weight, yeah,Till love breaks down, love breaks downOh my, oh my, have you seen the weatherThe sweet september rainRain on me like no otherUntil I drown, until I drownWhen love breaks downThe things you doTo stop the truth from hurting youWhen love breaks downThe lies we tell,They only serve to fool ourselves,When love breaks downThe things you doTo stop the truth from hurting youWhen love breaks downThe things you doTo stop the truth from hurting youWhen love breaks down,Love breaks downMy love and I, we are boxing cleverShe'll never crowd me outFall be free as old confettiAnd paint the town, paint the townWhen love breaks downThe things you doTo stop the truth from hurting youWhen love breaks downThe lies we tell,They only serve to fool ourselves,When love breaks downThe things you doTo stop the truth from hurting youWhen love breaks downYou join the wrecksWho leave their hearts for easy sexWhen love breaks downWhen love breaks down