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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

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

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