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

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