Gang of Four’s “To Hell With Poverty” single came out July 3, 1981. Here they are playing it on TV a couple of months earlier.
The Top 35 Or So Songs of the 80’s
#24: Gang of Four - What We All Want
If Entertainment! is a punk-funk gateway drug and hence Gang of Four’s “classic” album, then 1981’s Solid Gold is “the grower”. It’s sparser, slower and more introspective, but Burnham and Allen are funkier and more expressive as a rhythm section. “What We All Want” provides the most immediate rock song on the album, but it’s the militant bassline that steals the show. The band are steeled and disciplined here, and Gill uses his signature blasts of guitar noise to rock out and build atmosphere. King’s smartass, deadpan lyrics are less biting and sarcastic but equally devastating: “Could I be happy with something else? I need someone to fill my time.”
It’s their greatest dance track, but also a trip into an inescapable abyss: “The world it does not fade.” As the line goes, free your mind and your ass will follow. On Entertainment! the band might have wisecracked about your ass being capital. Here, ass-shaking provides only fleeting comfort for the freed mind, and even that escape is part of the grindstone. The fact that this song is not a total bummer and still plays great on the dancefloor makes it the band’s greatest achievement in my book.
Gang Of Four - To Hell With Poverty (Live on Old Grey Whistle Test, 1981)
Ooooooh ow ow ow! (via masochisticopposite)