Blog Battle: Spandau Ballet's True
Time to answer another burning question from the 80s: Spandau Ballet's 1983 song "True" ... truly classic or truly painful?
It's time to decide the issue in an old fashioned blog battle with Times pop critic Sean Daly. Normally, he and I draw straws to decide who takes what side on the issue. (He drew the better band but lost anyway in pathetic fashion during our Go-Go's vs. Bangles throwdown). But I was shocked to hear these words spring from his lips yesterday: "I think it's the worst song of all-time."
After the shock wore off, I did what any 80s addict would do. I decked him, lit his body on fire, danced around the smoldering corpse and then sprinkled his ashes in the River Styx (the official river of all 80s fans, naturally).
Click here to read his final words on why he hates True. But more importantly, here is my argument:
5 REASONS WHY SPANDAU BALLET'S TRUE IS A CLASSIC:
5. Is it new wave? Hmmm. Pop? Not so much. Rock? Ummm. No. True shares jazz, soul, R&B and other influences. It's a blend, like my favorite Canadian whiskey, and that gives it a uniqueness among 80s ballads.
4. Speaking of crossing genres, 90s hip-hop act PM Dawn loved the song so much, they sampled it extensively on their hit "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss." The single and accompanying album brought glowing reviews. Even a young Sean Daly, writing for his high school newspaper, the Camp Hill (Pa.) Highlight, called it "sublime and dreamy ... like my feeling after eating a twin lobster dinner."
3. It's featured as the closing song in Adam Sandler's "Wedding Singer" and if there's one person on the planet who loves the 80s more than me, it's Sandler. (Steve Buscemi sings it at Robbie and Julia's wedding.)
2. As a band itself, Spandau Ballet was hailed as "brave" and "hugely innovative" (while Daly's taste is music is usually described by words like "toasty" and "spongey." The bandmembers wore matching suits; Sean wears a muu-muu.
1. It was the song that played during my first significant slow dance: Tarpon Spring's Cavern Club, Nov. 23, 1983, 11:37 p.m., the lovely Robin. It only took me six months to get over her and that dance (only to have her reappear four years later when she dated my best friend. That took another 18 months to get over.) To this day, whenever I hear it, I think of her. Warmly, I swear.
Come to think of it, maybe Sean was right all along. ... Nah, I'll always love Spandau Ballet's True. Robin, on the other hand, I've finally learned to live without.
Speaking of 1983...
Our latest podcast -- the one-hit wonders of 1983 -- is now online. Click here to listen or click here to download the series for free on iTunes. I don't want to ruin the surprise of which songs you'll hear. You'll just have to tune and let the memories wind right through you.