Whether you call them spoken interludes or talky bits (as I prefer to do), bouts of vox interruptus have been a part of pop music since the early days of rock and roll.
My dad, a total musichead like myself, has never much cared for talky bits in songs. I followed his lead for years, but several eventually did find favor with me. I don’t mind a bit of drama now and again, and such breaks can intensify a song’s emotion as singer briefly becomes actor. Of course, sometimes the result is unintentional campy fun (all the better, really).
Narrowing my focus to the past 30 years (helpfully excluding The Shangri-Las, the ’60s girl group who loved themselves a spoken interlude), here are my fave five tunes featuring moments when the singing stops and talking takes over.
“There was so much you gave
To my heart
To my soul
There was so much of your dreams
That were never told
You had so much hope
For a brighter day
Why were you, my flower, plucked away?”
“Waiting is the hardest thing
[It's strange, I feel like I've known you before]
I tell myself that if I believe in you
[And I want to understand you]
In the dream of you
[More and more]
With all my heart and all my soul
[When I'm with you]
That by sheer force of will
[I feel like a magical child]
I will raise you from the ground
And without a sound you’ll appear
And surrender to me
“I saw you at the station
You had your arm around what’s-her-name
She had on that scarf I gave you
And you got down to tie her laces
You looked happy
And that’s great
I just miss you
2. Charlene – “I’ve Never Been To Me” (1982, #3 peak, three weeks)
“Hey, you know what paradise is?
It’s a lie
A fantasy we create about people and places as we’d like them to be
But you know what truth is?
It’s that little baby you’re holding
And it’s that man you fought with this morning
The same one you’re going to make love with tonight
1. The Human League – “Human” (1986, #1 peak, one week)
“The tears I cry aren’t tears of pain
They’re only to hide my guilt and shame
I forgive you
And I ask the same of you
While we were apart
I was human too”
Purchase The Human League – “Human” and the other four faves featured here via iTunes.
Wanna fight over my five? Let me know which tunes with talky bits you think are better, and how you’d rank your faves.