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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Pete Shelley - "Homosapien" Vinyl, LP, Album, 1981 (Arista)


One cannot ever underestimate the greatness of The Buzzcocks.  For one, Pete Shelley is one of the great songwriters of the Punk/New Wave era.  What gives Shelley that extra edge is his interest in not only rock n' roll, but also contemporary classical music and electronics.  When The Buzzcocks went to sleep for whatever reason, Shelley reinvented himself as a solo act that's focused on his songwriting, but also electronic pop.  It was nice that Shelley could express himself with the two guitars, bass, drums of The Buzzcocks, but also into the world of computer technology (at the time of 1981) and the so-called "modern pop.  

"Homosapien" is a great album, but the title song is a classic.  A piece of music that flirts with the idea of homosexuality in a song format, and under Shelley's brilliant skill as a lyricist.  I have the album version, but I also have the numerous remixes of this song, and it never fails in its dynamic getting out of the closet approach.  

The technique of Shelley both in The Buzzcocks and his solo material is that he often builds tension by just repeating the phrase or chorus till the breaking point.  There is also a circular motif in his work where it starts off but meets again in the end.  The listener feels like that they are surrounded by the song, and basically, you are trapped or motivated to go to the circle.   Besides Philip Glass, I can't think of another composer or songwriter who has this approach to their songwriting.  Songs like "Qu'est-Ce Que C'est Que Ca," "Guess I Must Have Been In Love With Myself," and " Don't Know What It Is" makes one feel that they are being pulled by a giant magnet to the song, and the lyrics are often mantras served as a lyric.  The songs are of heartbreak and love, but there is also a strong eastern philosophy or religious aspect as well. 

Pete Shelley is a very unique writer, and it bugs me that at least in the media, he is sort of this classic punk rock guy, but the fact is, he's much more than that.   He has a genius sense of having the perfect melody touch, as well as an emotional punch.   The Buzzcocks/Shelley rocks yes, but they also give the listener a feeling of bliss that for me, borders on meditation.  The Punk Era, both in the United States and in England, has produced a lot of great songwriters, but Shelley I feel should be on the top of the pile.  "Homosapien" is the essential listening experience.