Sad Songs no 13. My Former Self – Marc and the Mambas

denham04I’m struggling to find any male artists to put in the upper half of this list (although there’s a couple of great ones coming) – most of the sad songs I really love are sung by women. Marc Almond is an artist who revels in misery – ‘If you’re going to wallow’, read the sleeve notes on one of his albums, ‘wallow deep’. I think he’s at his best and most affecting when he keeps things simple, as he did here on my favourite track from his greatest album, Torment and Toreros. The singer reflects on his lost innocence and rapid descent into depravity – ‘Now I’m so wrecked that my eyes bleed’. It would be self-pitying but for the utter conviction that Almond puts into every note. I was absolutely bloody obsessed by Marc Almond from Soft Cell onwards, and I think everything he did up to and including the Mother Fist album was superb. I saw him perform dozens of times, and he never disappointed. This song takes me back to a very specific time (1983 to 1985) and place (a bedsit in Swiss Cottage) and a couple of very intense and unresolved love affairs that took place there. I rather fancied at the time that I too had lost my innocence and slid into depravity. Little did I know.

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