Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Song - Gang of Four's "Love Like Anthrax"

love'll get you like a case of anthrax and that's something I don't want to catch

The best love song ever!

Perhaps, a ditty written by Paul Mc Cartney after his somewhat expensive divorce from that mad bint Heather Mills? ... Sadly not!

Of course, it's the wonderful original version of "Love Like Anthrax" by the mighty post-punksters Gang of Four.

This version appeared on the Leeds lads' 1979's 'Damaged Goods' EP - their debut release.

An alternative version of the song appeared on their debut LP Entertainment! the same year.

The song's a seminal piece of postmodern, angst-ridden, experimental, existentialist rock.

The poor protagonist here is in a real bad way .... like a beetle on its back and there's no way for me to get up. The poor fella concludes that love is just like "a case of anthrax, and that's some thing I don't want to catch." 

And, as this tale is told through one stereo channel, bizarrely - in the original version of the song - through the other channel (and slightly less prominent in the mix), Andy Gill is reading out a detailed account of the technical resources used on the song!

On the re-recorded album version, this oddball monologue is replaced by a deadpan tract about public perception of love and the prevalence of love songs in popular music .... "Love crops up quite a lot as something to sing about, 'cause most groups make most of their songs about falling in love, or how happy they are to be in love, and you occasionally wonder why these groups do sing about it all the time."

Although the two sets of lyrics tell independent stories they occasionally synchronise for emphasis. 

According to critic Paul Morley, "The Gang spliced the ferocious precision of Dr. Feelgood's working-class blues with the testing avant-garde intrigue of Henry Cow.

Critic Stewart Mason has called "Anthrax" not only the group's "most notorious song" but also "one of the most unique and interesting songs of its time"

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