Before moving on to discuss this song, this has been a dicey 24 hours here at Teatro Triste del Clown for me.
First, the song I originally posted at #2679 was a song titled “Essence,” which I thought was by a band named “Essence.” No idea why. Maybe it was labeled as such when it was sent to me. Turns out, it was actually by a singer named Stew. Anyhow, I’ve archived it and will break it out in several years.
Second, I had entered every remaining song by a band whose name started with the letter “E” into the “draft” queu at the blog. I do this so I can write about any given song at any computer when I have some free time. Furthermore, I entered the list off of my iPod from the “artists” menu.
Well, lo and behold, I got home and in my iTunes library, stuck between EMF and Erasure, were songs by The English Beat and opera singer Enzio Pinza. Neither artist was listed on my iPod under their name, though both of their albums were present. Turns out that if a song is marked in your iTunes label as being part of a compilation (and there are no other songs by that artist present), the songs will be stored under “Compilation” but not “Artist.”
I’ve now rectified this mistake, but had to add 16 or so songs into the library and will now be writing about them slightly out of alphabetical order. I’ll place them in the index in alphabetical order, which will mean my numbering system will be slightly off.
Anyhow, on the The English Beat with this official video:
On this side of the Atlantic, The Beat was known as The English Beat because there was already another band named The Beat (later Paul Collin’s Beat) in the United States. The Beat is part of a small group of bands that had to alter their name for this reason in the U.S. Other bands who shared this fate (at least temporarily) include Yaz (Yazoo), Squeeze UK (Squeeze), and The Charletons UK (Charletons).
I was never an enormous fan of The English Beat, though I do rather enjoy most of their songs – especially saxaphone player Saxa. All of the songs I am writing about come from their greatest hits package Beat This! The Best Of The English Beat.
“Mirror in the Bathroom” practically epitomizes The English Beat’s sound – a nervous and ticking guitar playing, ska rhythm, inspired saxaphone work and Dave Wakeling’s distinct vocals. Its rightly considered a classic of the genre and is a fun way to start our three or four day exploration of their work.
EDITED TO ADD: “Mirror in the Bathroom” (one of the “pinnacles of the British Ska revival: according to Stewart Mason at that link) was the first track on The Beat’s 1980 debut album, I Just Can’t Stop It.