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

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