Who was that?!

I think we’ve all probably had the experience of hearing a song, or snippet of a song, on the radio and thinking, “Wow, who was that?”  In 2013, there are plenty of ways to find out, from simply glancing at the SiriusXM™ Radio display, to Googling a snatch of lyrics, to the Shazam app on an iPhone.  Such things weren’t available back in 1987, when I was in medical school, so when I was in the car one day and heard a tune that immediately engaged me, and the DJ didn’t announce either the name of the song or the artist, I was miffed.  The song had a Beatles-y sound; clean vocals with some gorgeous harmonies, great acoustic guitar work and–what really made it for me–a string accompaniment.  “Who was that?”

My only option was to hope it would be played again the next time I was driving with the radio on.  In time, I learned that the band was a quintet by the name of Bourgeois Tagg and the song was “I Don’t Mind At All”, from their second–and last–album, Yoyo.  I promptly went out and bought the cassette (it was the 80s, remember).

Yoyo
Yoyo, originally released by Island Records in 1987, was produced by the great Todd Rundgren.

See what you think of this little, melancholy pop gem; it was the band’s biggest hit, though it never rose above #38 on the Billboard charts.  It still grabs me every time I hear it.

The time for talking’s over now,
I guess it’s time to let you go.
But I don’t, no,
I don’t mind at all.

It’s getting so you never know
when things are better left alone.
But I don’t, no,
I don’t mind at all.

It’s important to me
that I don’t see you laughing at me.
But I’m smart enough to know
that I have to let you go.
But I don’t mind at all.

Sentimental tears will get you
far as you might think they will.
But I don’t, no,
I don’t mind at all.

Misery loves company
but she will never foot the bill.
But I don’t, no,
I don’t mind at all.

It’s important to me
that I don’t see you laughing at me,
but I’m smart enough to know
that I have to let you go.
But I don’t mind at all.

Several years ago
I said goodbye to my own sanity.
But I don’t, no,
I don’t, no,
I don’t mind at all.


Trivia tidbit: The video for “I Don’t Mind At All” was directed by David Fincher, who went on to much bigger things at the helm of films like Fight Club, Zodiac, and The Social Network, among others.

8 comments

  • Thanks for introducing me to a pop group of which I’d known nothing. They’re wonderful, and I do like that song, esp. the last verse! (I, too, am okay with having bid my sanity adieu!)

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  • In those olden days, I would often call the radio station to ask about that playlist. I was often surprised by how small the operation was and that the DJ answered the phone!

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  • Wow…a blast from the past!!! Great song- I don’t think I’ve heard it since the 80s!

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  • It sure is a gem. The nod to the Beatles is apposite as, quite aside from the telling string arrangement, the melody’s ear-catching properties derive from its tart time signature swaps. Another Beatles hallmark is to keep it brief, pithy, don’t labour the material (to some extent, I suppose, leave ’em wanting more). I can’t help wondering whether the rest of the album is as good as this. Does it have any more gems? Either way, thank you for sharing this.

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    • GHB, it’s always great to get your comments and feedback. For me, “I Don’t Mind At All” is the single, true gem of the album, Yoyo, although there are a couple of other catchy numbers. This link should take you to a site, allmusic, where you can listen to a 30-second snippet from each song on the album: http://www.allmusic.com/album/yoyo-mw0000651296. The other songs have a bit too much of an ’80s sound–read, synthesizers, for me; sometimes that holds up well, sometimes it doesn’t. I’d be interested in hearing what you think. Brent Bourgeois released a couple of solo albums in the early 90s, both of which have some good cuts; he is certainly a talented songwriter. In the mid-90s, he released a third solo album on which the music took a turn toward ‘Christian pop’, not a favorite genre of mine. Thank you again for your comments!

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      • Well I always enjoy reading your posts, so I’m touched by your kind thoughts in response to my occasional oar-application. I liked “I don’t mind at all” so much that I feel I ought to explore a bit further, though a cursory bit of research only bears up your take on the matter (that it’s good stuff but doesn’t live up to the initial promise). The Fincher video is on youtube and is, oddly, I suppose, given that it’s Fincher, merely tasteful. Anyhow, one thing is for sure: the stuff that Bourgeois Tagg were putting out in the 80s was a cut above most of the pop mainstream.

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