Martha and the Muffins--"Echo Beach" (mp3)
I'm weird about the '80's. First of all, because in spite of the cheese and the synthesized drum beats and all of that, I believe that some great, lasting music was produced during that decade. Secondly, because most of the best music was rarely, if ever, played on the radio. I'm thinking bands like Guadalcanal Diary, the Db's, Let's Active, and several one-hit wonders.
Case in point: Martha and the Muffin's "Echo Beach." Thematically, it parallels the Brian Wilson-penned Beach Boys hit, "In My Room," which also argues for isolation as the most desirable state of affairs. Musically, it out-riffs the Police with an otherworldly guitar signature. Rarely, in pop music, has a guitar signature set up a tone so well. You know that it is taking you to a place you've never been before. Lyrically, the song is straightfoward:
I know it's out of fashion
And a trifle uncool,
But I can't help it,
I'm a romantic fool.
When I first heard "Echo Beach" on the radio, briefly, in Chicago, I hadn't yet entered the world of full-time work, and so its full impact wasn't clear to me. But now, oh yes, I clearly get it:
From 9 to 5 I have to spend my time at work,
My job is very boring I'm an office clerk,
The only thing that helps me pass the time away,
Is knowing I'll be back at Echo Beach someday.
Where is your Echo Beach?
As you can tell from the snap, crackle, and pops, this version comes from an old 45. However, the song is available at Itunes on a Martha and the Muffins greatest hits compilation. Even though this was the only thing close to a hit, and a regional one at that.