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

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