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

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