Cutting Crew — “(I Just) Died in Your Arms”
(from The Best of Cutting Crew) — (I Just) Died in Your Arms [Extended Remix] - The Best of Cutting Crew

A and I had a total blast last night jamming out with a host of other mindless-pop-loving Austinites at the Alamo Drafthouse’s Totally ’80s New Wave sing-along, and it actually turned out to be quite the educational experience for both of us, because until last night, I had utterly no idea how serious (and, in actual fact, quite profound) a song Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels” is — my mind is blown time and again at these events when I’m forced, sometimes for the first time ever, to actually pay complete attention to the lyrics of songs I’ve loved my whole life! — and A gained a bit more sociological (and physiological) insight than he had held previously after I was forced to explain to him, verse by verse, what actually is going on between the lines of The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese.” (It was also quite a pleasant surprise to realize just how well a-ha’s then-revolutionary video for “Take On Me” continues to hold up all these years later.) There were some objectionable omissions from the playlist last night — no “99 Luftballons,” sadly, and no Kajagoogoo, no Culture Club, shockingly little Duran Duran, and they could have swapped out Billy Idol for a wee taste of Wham! and not offended me at all — but there was more than enough of Madness, Morrissey, Devo, Violent Femmes, and Sherry Ann’s beloved Cure to satisfy. Oh, and then there was Cutting Crew: this song — an all-time classic from that magical, mystical summer of 1987 — wasn’t technically part of the New Wave movement, any more than was “Walking On Sunshine,” but that didn’t stop my ass from getting happy and singing along nonetheless. Twenty-four summers have passed between the moment I sit here and type this and the moment my clueless eleven-year-old ears first heard this magnificently unsettling masterpiece — a compelling chronicle of how a young man’s erotic fantasy comes alive as an all-consuming minefield of desperation and emotional destruction — and it remains, bar none, the single sexiest song I’ve ever heard.

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