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

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