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

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