The Second Anniversary: A Song For No-One

Attending the album launch event for Alphaville’s Catching Rays on Giant (2010) altered the way I viewed the relationship between the engaged and the detached.

Such a rare event makes presence alone feel ambassadorial. Gratitude creates a bias that I didn’t think would be appreciated.

Alphaville fans are generally hard to please. The band’s credibility is raised by these levels. Equally, there’s normally a reason why a band’s place is where it is.

Clowns in a circus called the material world
Gods without immortality, nothing to lose
Nothing to gain, nothing to keep
Shepherds of dreams, we are what we are!

[Astral Body]

Alphaville have been thrust back into national consciousness, perhaps in hope over expectation. Catching Rays on Giant charted well, reaching #9 in Germany.

Of course, there was discussion in fan circles, but with more belligerence than I expected. Alphaville frontman Marian Gold was accused of not listening to fans. The problem is: everyone wants something different, and there’s no way to cater for that.

Equally, an artist’s autonomy is weakened once it commits only to what its fans claim to want. The only certain common denominator was that fans wanted a new album. On that, they delivered.

Demands for the esotericism of Forever Young require an echo of 1984. That’s neither commercially viable nor easily achievable. Alphaville’s top-10 album is an achievement; producing for wider audiences is considerably harder than just for your fans (or so we think).

Marian Gold has faced unjust criticism

Synth-pop is still in vogue, but it’s flighty. The Killers provided ‘Human’ in 2008 before vanishing, and Hurts have recently moved in with their dulcet and dour tones. Alphaville are a-ha’s natural replacements and could easily inherit more of the Scandinavian synth love affair.

Catching Rays on Giant needs little detail. It’s a synth-pop album, heavily produced, and with plenty of quirks. Energy and cultured beats are tempered by the mellow tones of ‘Heaven on Earth’ and ‘The Deep’.

Tracks from the limited-edition Crazyshow are reprised – ‘Carry Your Flag’ and ‘Miracle Healing’ (both slightly less lovable here). The deluxe edition’s ‘Forever Young’ is a tongue-in-cheek reaction to the covers that have made the song popular for other artists.

Influences and old and new: we find shades of Depeche Mode, Gary Numan, and even the peculiar strand of Fischerspooner.

Song For No-One has plenty of eccentricities

The release of the second single, ‘A Song for No-One’, coincides with the second anniversary of this site. The album version is sharper, yet the video edit is more defined.

Well you and I can’t tell the wood from the trees,
So call me stupid if you please! Because
This is a song for no-one but myself…

It’s witty, light-hearted, camp, and rather strange. It’s also hyper-eccentric, with the Polari threaded navy casting a sly wink at ‘Go West’ and past generations of British kitsch humour.

Let nobody accuse Alphaville of not thinking enough, even if the execution causes a few rumbles. That suits me and this site perfectly.

See a summary of Alphaville’s Catching Rays on Giants album launch party in November 2010.

4 thoughts on “The Second Anniversary: A Song For No-One

  1. Congratulations!

    I’ve taken to telling people, quite proudly, that I’ve been blogging for twelve years. And I still have fragments of that first blog, buried deep on my hard drive. I read it and wonder, was the person who wrote it always going to grow into me?

    Try as I might, I couldn’t quite get into Hurts. Maybe because “Wonderful Life” reminds me too much of Bristol. I think in many ways the music I’ve collected and the memories listening to it brings back is a more accurate and poignant diary than any words I’ve ever written.

    Email me some music to check out – are you on Spotify?


    1. Thanks Al 🙂

      Twelve years really is an achievement. My LJ, if I still count that, is eight years old this summer. I struggle to read it back. Some of it evokes great pathos; some of it I cannot understand; and lots of it I am extremely embarrassed about. It’s like a collection of open wounds.

      ‘Sunday’ aside, I’m not a fan of Hurts. I’m disgruntled that they turn up with their dour pop and find fame, whilst the long-suffering Alphaville are so much better and yet will never breach the UK. What’s new? That’s the industry, I guess.

      That’s a wonderful thought (re: music and memories). I used to archive music by month as it featured in my LJ ‘Current music’ for a similar effect. It’s only now that the balance between the personal and impersonal feels more comfortable that I’m adding music videos here to complement entries. Certainly, music made the New Year epilogue here one of the most fulfilling pieces I’ve ever written.

      I am on Spotify, though little of my favourite music is. I’ll forward some along!

  2. Congratulations!

    Lot of truth over here…
    Lot of critics from fans, Marian Gold hasn’t been understood…

    Personally, I just love the whole album, very catchy as you said.

    Waiting for the next new album… 2012 I think, if everything will be OK from Alphaville.

    Long life

    Luis Mota

    1. Thanks Luis! Very good to hear from you. Glad you liked the article.

      Other fans have shown me that there are things I did not account for here, but I’m not deterred. I love the album, and am proud of that. I cannot wait for the next: we know Sweet Dreams and Gallery are not yet released. A Handful of Darkness is going to be the next Lassie Come Home, and if they can put Fur Dich on as well, it would be quite amazing.

      Peace and Best Wishes from the UK!

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