Culture Club, Not just a bad 80’s bar
“Time (Clock of the Heart)” by Culture Club from the album Kissing To Be Clever
Third Week of February 1983
What to make of Boy George? I don’t know if there’s another music figure in the last 50 years that made more of an effort to self-mythologize himself with such ultimately horrible results (Maybe the lead singer of ? and the Mysterians that actually renamed himself “?,” long before Prince took a symbol as his name). I mean, it’s one thing to wear make-up and feathers in your hair (like he did in the 1980s). It’s quite another to shave your head and paint your entire face, including long black lines all around your head, presumably to represent your hair (like he did when his short-lived musical “Taboo” opened on Broadway).
The music of Culture Club was never anything more than OK. The songs are catchy and reasonably ecclectic (if only within their own pop definition). This one’s got some funky stuff going on in the background, synthesizers and noise making machines. The music and lyrics are ballad-y, if not an actual ballad. But there’s something funny. Boy George’s singing is actually good when its untouched and unaffected. He’s got a good voice. The problem is I’ve always felts as though something was missing with “Time (Clock of My Heat).” In doing some background research for this song, I came across someone that said that this song’s production stopped just short of “cheesy,” unlike Spandau Ballet’s “True.” That’s fine to say, but if it’s actually the case, why do I find myself asking why I enjoy “True” more than this song? The fact is that I do like “True” more than this song, whether it’s overproduced or not.
“Time (Clock of My Heart)” is not underproduced, that’s for certain, but I think a song like this almost begs to be overproduced. And maybe it’s just missing that element of over-the-top attitude that really accompanies everything Boy George does. I think his voice needs to be manipulated in the Culture Club context, because the music just isn’t good enough to support his voice. And even though Boy George may have dropped all of his moronic pretense long enough to record “Time (Clock of the Heart),” should I really be rewarding him for that? Or rather, should I lament that fact that if he had decided to just be gay instead of “FABULOUS,” maybe he would have made more music worth listening to 20 years after it was released.