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

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