Friday, April 25, 2008

Ian Lloyd -- "Slipaway" (1979)

Off the top of my head, this seems like the only song Ric Ocasek gave away that became something of a cult New Wave hit.

Luckily it landed in the hands of Ian Lloyd, better know as the lead singer of another one hit wonder band, Stories (interracial love tale "Brother Louie," which was also a cover tune).

Lloyd had been singing background on various song and albums. When he cut this solo album Goose Bumps for Scotti Brothers Records, this was the one tune written and produced by Ocasek, featuring all his fellow members of The Cars. The song's original demo can be found on the double-album Just What I Needed: Cars Anthology, but this version beats it by miles.

"Slipaway" is best described as a 60's party song as remade by Ocasek. It's faster than most Cars songs, probably as fast as "Don't Cha Stop" from the debut album. It's got an absolute pumping beat, with a matching bass going up and down with it and a killer analog synth hook that sounds suspiciously like a really old Virginia Slims cigarette commercial (now I know I'm really dating myself!). Lots of hand claps, heavily shouted background vocals of "That's right" and some cool bottle rocket effects that make the whole production seem like it's going to explode.

Trademark Ocasek lyrics: obtuse, name-dropping, and a bit of biting sarcasm...

I can tell that you're wild
and you love their aching smile
and I know I'm on the list to be kissed.

When you're givin' out the name
of the one you want to blame
you'll be on the brink of tears, that's right

Could I talk you out of stayin' here tonight?

Well I see that you're cute
in your Fiorucci suit
and your eyes have seen the shadows that you hide.

I could be a little sweet
that would come off very neat
you'd be on the brink of tears, that's right

Could I talk you out of stayin' here tonight?

And of course, you can clearly hear Ocasek singing back to Lloyd "something's gotta change now" during the chorus.

This is one tough little record to get. The album is long out of print and I don't know of any collections it can be found on. Truly one of the great rare singles of the New Wave era.

But somebody has done us all a favor and put together a neat little video for the song, so kudos to them!

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