Monologue #16: Talk the Talk

Spring has sprung and it seemed time to post a new mixtape.

I have always been a fan of “talky bits” in songs. The contrast between the vocalist’s singing voice and talking voice adds variety but also creates a sense of drama and intimacy, as if the singer were taking time out from the song to address the listener in a more personal way.  So this mix features only songs with spoken word parts. They may be in the intro, middle 8, outro or all the way through… It covers a variety of genres (Romo, indie, italo, synth-pop…) from the 80s to the present day, although the songs all have an electronic component. Many of the songs have unfamiliarity value, due to being by less famous bands (Nancy Boy’s novel cover of Are ‘Friends’ Electric?, with a re-imagining of Gary Numan’s brilliant original spoken part) or being album tracks (La Roux’s Tigerlily, complete with a sinister middle 8 by Vincent Price!). Others hit the charts but are just there because I like them.

My début show at Aces and Eights for Gertrud Stein’s Achtung! Achtung! night back in March was a success, with an enthusiastic crowd and great DJ sets from Gertrud and Germany’s Linear Netrik. Much of the music was fairly obscure European new wave and electronica, yet people were constantly dancing. You don’t have to know a song to like it.

Another springtime highlight for me so far was finding this article about Ronny online via the Blitz Kids Facebook group (from whence the photo below comes, depicting Ronny with Grace Jones). I was lucky to find the hard copy of the magazine for sale online so I bought it of course! It focuses on the technical aspects of the French New Romantic diva’s collaboration with Ultravox’s Warren Cann and Hans Zimmerman. I enjoyed her dramatic explanation of why she preferred to be solo rather than join a band: “I hated the concept of having a whole group of people playing behind my back – I didn’t want the aggravation and I am very scared of relationships with human beings”.

ronny grace

Fair enough! I like being solo too, and the sense of autonomy it brings – although I have fond memories of my collaboration with Martin Block as part of A Terrible Splendour, and wouldn’t rule out another record at some point. I have recently uploaded the digital version of our album Poseurs on Bandcamp – so anyone wishing to have it in that format, or indeed buy it in a physical format, should get it there if they wish to support us directly. I also put all the lyrics up as they were not included with the CD and vinyl versions.