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Modern English

The summery hooks and warm lyrics of "I Melt with You" gave listeners the impression that Modern English were an upbeat pop act, but the single, first released in 1982, was actually an anomaly in the band's early discography. Formed in Colchester, England in 1979, Modern English were originally a punk group called the Lepers. Featuring Robbie Grey (vocals, guitar), Gary McDowell (guitar), and Richard Brown (drums), the Lepers performed mainly at parties. After Mick Conroy (bass) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) joined, they changed their name to Modern English, self-released their 1979 debut single, and were subsequently signed to 4AD. Inspired by the stylish gloom of Joy Division and Bauhaus, Modern English released the 1980 singles "Swans on Glass" and "Gathering Dust" and followed them in 1981 with debut LP Mesh & Lace. Boiling with raw anger, dissonant rhythms, and weird noises, the album confused some critics while mesmerizing others. It reached number five on the U.K. indie chart. A year later, the band streamlined their sound. Though After the Snow featured the driving and slashing post-punk classic "Life in the Gladhouse," the album was comparatively softer and brighter, exemplified by the open-hearted "I Melt with You." In early April the following year, that single entered the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. -- where it was released on Sire -- and peaked a couple weeks later at number 78. Near that month's end, the romantic teen comedy Valley Girl was released in the States with the song featured prominently, and its video was placed in rotation on MTV. An enduring minor hit of the new wave era, "I Melt with You" gradually nudged After the Snow into U.S. sales in excess of 500,000 copies, acknowledged in 1989 with a gold certification from the RIAA. Modern English's commercial momentum stalled with 1984's Ricochet Days, their last recording for 4AD in the U.K., and 1986's Stop Start, their last work for Sire in the U.S. The band split following the release of the latter, but Grey and Conroy resurfaced in 1990, on the TVT label, with Pillow Lips. That July, a re-recorded version of "Melt with You" managed to slightly eclipse the original by peaking at number 76 on the Hot 100. Label conflict prompted another period of inactivity, and ended with the Grey-driven Everything's Mad, released in 1996 on Imago. Grey continued to lead Modern English and, in 2009, was reunited with the majority of his fellow original bandmates. Soundtrack, which Grey had recorded earlier in the decade with longtime Modern English producer Hugh Jones, was issued on Darla the following year. Revitalized, Modern English toured extensively, then recorded Take Me to the Trees, produced and mixed by mate and fellow 4AD alum Martyn Young (Colourbox, M/A/R/R/S). The album was released in early 2017. ~ Michael Sutton & Andy Kellman
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Stations Featuring
Modern English

    Top 44 Love Songs

    Top 44 Love Songs
    1 song

    1-Hit Wonders

    1-Hit Wonders
    1 song

    New Wave

    New Wave
    2 songs

    '80s Alternative

    '80s Alternative
    2 songs

    Awesome '80s

    1 song

    Shuffle Hits

    1 song

    Adult Alternative

    1 song

    Adult Rock

    1 song

    Gay Anthems

    1 song

Albums by
Modern English

Top Songs by
Modern English

  1.   Song
  2.   I Melt With You
  3.   Hands Across the Sea
  4.   I Melt You
  5.   Carry Me Down
  6.   Breaking Away
  7.   Soundtrack
  8.   Here Comes the Failure
  9.   Deep Sea Diver
  10.   Blister
  11.   Antique Future
  12.   Rainbows End
  13.   Tranquillity
  14.   16 Days
  15.   Machines
  16.   Reflection
  17.   Ringing in the Change
  18.   Chapter 12
  19.   Pillow Lips
  20.   Beautiful People
  21.   Beauty
  22.   Life's Rich Tapestry
  23.   After the Snow
  24.   Life in the Gladhouse
  25.   The Killing Screens
  26.   Film One
  27.   Elastic
  28.   I Don't Know Anything
  29.   Here We Go Again
  30.   I Can't Breathe
  31.   Heaven
  32.   Waves (When I Cum)
  33.   That's Right
  34.   The Planet
  35.   Up Here in the Brain
  36.   The Border
  37.   Inside of Me
  38.   Bomb
  39.   The Prize
  40.   Black Houses
  41.   Smiles and Laughter
  42.   Blue Waves
  43.   Coming up For Air
  44.   Care About You
  45.   Stop Start
  46.   The Greatest Show
  47.   Love Breaks Down
  48.   I Don't Know the Answer
  49.   It's Okay
  50.   Ink and Paper
  51.   Game of Love
  52.   Inside the Light
  53.   Hold On
  54.   24 Part Personality
  55.   The Lowdown
  56.   Call Me
  57.   The Choicest View
  58.   Mesh and Lace
  59.   Dance of Devotion
  60.   A Viable Commercial
  61.   Move in Light
  62.   Gathering Dust
  63.   Incident
  64.   Swans on Glass
  65.   Heart
  66.   Ricochet Days
  67.   Let's All Dream
  68.   Face of Wood
  69.   Night Train
  70.   Love Forever
  71.   Rainbow End
  72.   Up In the Brain
  73.   Just a Thought
  74.   Home
  75.   You're Too Much
  76.   It's OK
  77.   Grief
  78.   Dawn Chorus
  79.   The Token Man
  80.   Spinning Me Round
  81.   Tables Turning
  82.   Take Me Away
  83.   Fin
  84.   Someone's Calling

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