1985 Scritti Politti – Cupid & Psyche 85

scritti-politti-1985Cupid & Psyche 85 is the second album by the British/American pop group Scritti Politti, released in the UK on Virgin Records on 10 June 1985. The release continued frontman Green Gartside’s movement toward mainstream pop music stylings.

It remains the band’s most successful album, reaching No. 5 in the UK, and was certified Gold by the BPI for 100,000 copies sold. The album contained five singles, three of which were top 20 hits in the UK. The single “Perfect Way” became a surprise hit in the US, reaching No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in a 25-week run on the chart.

Following the signing of the new record deals, the band remained in New York and recorded three songs with producer Arif Mardin: “Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)”, “Absolute” and “Hypnotize”, all of which would later become singles from the new album. Green told NME, “He was the producer I most wanted to work with. We sent him some demos and he liked them very much and wanted to do it. It was his work with people like Chaka Khan over the past few years that made me want to work with Arif. Her version of ‘We Can Work It Out’ – incredible!”Synthesizer player David Gamson brought the influence of black American radio acts such as Parliament-Funkadelic, while Gartside took inspiration from nascent hip hop music.

The first single to be released from the album was “Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)” in February 1984, its subtitle alluding to the Aretha Franklin song “I Say a Little Prayer” which producer Arif Mardin had also worked on. Asked about the change in musical direction Green admitted, “if you’d played me ‘Wood Beez’ six years ago I think I’d have spat at it or something. But I like change.” He described the song as “very complicated, it’s the whole question of what pop is; its relationship to language, power and politics. It’s also a question of music’s transgression and abuse of some of the rules of language. Aretha was singing what are arguably inane pop songs and had left her gospel roots. But she sang them with a fervour, a passion, though I hate to use that word because it’s been hideously tarred in recent usage. To a committed materialist whose interest had come round to language again – perhaps because of a bankruptcy in Marxism to deal with ideology or any artistic community – hearing her was as near to a hymn or a prayer as I could get. Obviously I couldn’t make that point in a three minute pop song.”

Tracks

1  The Word Girl (Green Gartside, David Gamson) 4:25
2  Small Talk (Green Gartside, David Gamson) 3:39
Absolute (Green Gartside) 4:25
4  A Little Knowledge (Green Gartside) 5:02
5  Don’t Work That Hard (Green Gartside) 3:59
6  Perfect Way (Green Gartside, David Gamson) 4:33
7  Lover To Fall (Green Gartside) 3:51
Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin) (Green Gartside) 4:48
9  Hypnotize (Green Gartside, David Gamson) 3:34
10  Flesh & Blood (Green Gartside, Ann Swinton) 5:35

Musicians

1 The Word Girl

BassGreen Gartside
DrumsFred Maher
GuitarNick Moroch
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
VocalsGreen Gartside


2 Small Talk

DrumsFred Maher
GuitarAlan Murphy
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
ProgrammingSimon Climie
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
VocalsGreen Gartside


3 Absolute

BassWill Lee
DrumsSteve Ferrone
Drums (programming)Fred Maher
GuitarPaul Jackson Jr
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
KeyboardsGreen Gartside
KeyboardsRobbie Buchanan
KeyboardsDavid Frank
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
Background VocalsFonzi Thornton
Background VocalsTawatha Agee
VocalsGreen Gartside


4 A Little Knowledge

DrumsFred Maher
GuitarIra Siegel
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
VocalsGreen Gartside


5 Don’t Work That Hard

BassMarcus Miller
DrumsSteve Ferrone
Drums (programming)Fred Maher
GuitarPaul Jackson Jr
GuitarRobert Quine
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
KeyboardsRobbie Buchanan
KeyboardsDavid Frank
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
Background VocalsFonzi Thornton
Background VocalsTawatha Agee
VocalsGreen Gartside


6 Perfect Way

DrumsFred Maher
GuitarNick Moroch
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
VocalsGreen Gartside


7 Lover To Fall

DrumsFred Maher
GuitarNick Moroch
GuitarGreen Gartside
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
VocalsGreen Gartside


8 Wood Beez

DrumsSteve Ferrone
Drums (programming)Fred Maher
GuitarPaul Jackson Jr
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
KeyboardsRobbie Buchanan
KeyboardsDavid Frank
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
Background VocalsFonzi Thornton
Background VocalsTawatha Agee
VocalsGreen Gartside


9 Hypnotize

DrumsFred Maher
GuitarNick Moroch
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
VocalsGreen Gartside


10 Flesh & Blood

DrumsFred Maher
GuitarNick Moroch
KeyboardsDavid Gamson
Background VocalsBJ Nelson
VocalsGreen Gartside

Liner Notes

Producer – Arif Mardin (Tracks 3, 5, 8, 11, 12),
Producer – David Gamson, Fred Maher, Green Gartside (Tracks 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13)
Arranged By – David Gamson, Green Gartside (Tracks 3, 8)
Arranged By – David Gamson (Tracks 4, 5, 7)
Engineer – Ray Bardani (Tracks 4, 7, 9)
Mastered By – Tony Cousins
Mixed By – Howard Gray (Tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
Mixed By – Gary Langan (Tracks 3, 9)
Recorded By – Howard Gray (Tracks 1, 2, 6, 10)

Design (Packaging Designed By) – Keith Breeden
Photography (Article) – Rob Brimson
Photography (Group) – Andy Earl

Phonographic Copyright (p) – Virgin Records Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Jouissance Ltd.
Copyright (c) – Wb Music Corp.
Manufactured By – WEA Manufacturing