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

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