It’s a feeling that can never fade
Raw synth classics, dance music, experimental concept albums, pseudo-Caribbean pop; over the last forty years OMD have covered an enormous amount of musical ground, rarely satisfied with keeping to one genre or theme as they progressed from album to album.
Yet somehow, despite this arguably fickle style of writing, they still seem to have what is known as a ‘signature sound’- one that separates them from their contemporaries and renders many of their tracks immediately distinguishable as a song by ‘Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’.
‘Don’t Go’ is one of these tracks. Plucked from the relatively lowly status of a potential B-side and promoted to that of the band’s 40th single release, the emotive lyrics, memorable melody and McCluskey’s cutting vocal performance on the track are all obvious signals of a ‘typical’ OMD tune, particularly for longtime fans of the band who have followed their four decade journey.
The music itself drips with retro-sounding synthesisers, and the simplicity of the track’s structure makes it the ideal mainstream radio calling card for the recently-announced 40th Anniversary box set. In fact, in all aspects (with the exception of the track being a digital-only release), it seems as if it would fit the bill- particularly for OMD fans- perfectly.
Why, then, have there been multiple instances on social media of people reporting how much they dislike it?
For something to say? In order to deliberately spark a debate? Because they just genuinely don’t like the track?
All of the above could be true. However it seems more likely that there are individuals taking offence at what is such an inoffensive song because it was not what they were expecting. For a fortieth anniversary single (a landmark release for any band), these people might have been expecting something different. Something flamboyant. Something more ambitious. Something bigger and, in their eyes, something ‘better’.
But rather than doing the obvious and releasing a pretentiously grandiose, showy, anniversary single, OMD have (as they so often have in the past) sidestepped. ‘Don’t Go’ is not particularly flamboyant, or ambitious, or unexpected. It is, however, a radio-friendly tune that will with any luck gain some much-deserved mainstream airtime, that also encapsulates the band’s sound in the simplest, most concise- and as a result, most effective- of ways. The punchy synthesised undertones, catchy melody and directness of the lyrics all add to its charm, and potential for repeated listening.
After all, wasn’t that where the appeal of their first single lay forty years ago?
Souvenir is released 4th October 2019 and can be pre-ordered via: https://store.omd.uk.com/collections/music/products/souvenir-5cd-2dvd-deluxe-boxset
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