ARTIST: Culture Club
TITLE: Kissing to Be Clever
YEAR RELEASED: 1982
CHART ACTION: #14 US, #5 UK
SINGLES: White Boy (#114 UK), I’m Afraid of Me (#100 UK), Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (#2 US, #1 UK), Time (Clock of the Heart) (#2 US, #3 UK), I’ll Tumble 4 Ya (#9 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt you do
LINEUP: Boy George, Michael Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss with Keith Miller, Terry Bailey, Nicky Payne, Helen Terry, Colin Campsie, Phil Pickett and Denise Spooner
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album from a group that took the world by storm really shows more of their weaknesses than their strengths.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first two singles from Culture Club tried to establish them as a dance-floor friendly band, with “White Boy” kind of successful, and “I’m Afraid of Me” let down by faux Caribbean instruments and rhythm. Then, they decided their big album-ending ballad should be the next release.
When it got to the US, and entered our collective consciousness, they changed the order around, added another ballad onto the album, and all of the faux disco and 80’s dance floor sounds seemed out of place from what the public knew. And the song with “Captain Crucial” was embarrassing.
Many of the songs talk about boys (especially white boys) and the dance styles take away from Boy George’s vocal strengths (and they dilute the guitars of Roy Hay as well, who is the band’s secret weapon). The production is early 80’s, with tinny drums and synclavier horns. But then, the ballads appear and you know why this was big.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had three Top 10 hits from this album, the first time a debut had that many Top 10 hits since the Beatles.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes.The US version added “Time” (finally, it wasn’t there at first) and deleted another track (about boys)
GRADE: C: The hits really can’t overcome the rest.