Listen is exactly what I haven’t done, with regard to this album, in a very long time. This came out just a year after their first record, in April 1983 . . . the very end of my chaotic college career, right in the midst of a huge period of epic uncertainty in our lives. There are other records to tell that story around, but this isn’t the one, because it really didn’t mean that much to me. There were a few songs from it that I loved — “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You),” which came out as a 12” before the album was released, and “Transfer Affection” in particular — and the front side is quite good. whereas the second side is negligible until the final track, “(It’s Not Me) Talking.” Those three songs made it onto some mix tapes of the day, and the album was pretty much put aside after that. If I wanted to remember 1982/1983, I’d play their first album; this one rarely made it onto the turntable.
Outside of Marc Almond/Soft Cell, I have more 12″ singles by A Flock of Seagulls than any other group. In the case of “Wishing,” I believe it was available months before this album, which is why I would have grabbed it. The others? I must have just been swept along in the Flock of Seagulls tide.
I even have a 12” single of “Nightmares,” with a creepy doll cover and a B side titled “The Last Flight of Yuri Gargarin” that I always enjoyed.
And the remix of “Talking.” That is absolutely the highest number of singles that I own in addition to the album the singles came from, other than The Beatles. And Soft Cell.
But then, I was done. They put out another record a year later, but I was past that, onto other things. And I wasn’t looking back with fondness on that desperate period. There is some music that saw me through that time — Marc and the Mambas, in particular — that I will always love. But there are other songs that remind me of that time without providing solace, and I think this is one of those albums.