Friday, June 26, 2015

Stiff Records: It's You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)

Stiff Records have always catered to a different type of artist and Lene Lovich certainly fits that mold – if there can be a mold for being unique. While Lovich never had a large following in the US, her songs generally got club play and placed her on the dance charts. She had greater success in her adopted home of the UK than in the land of her birth – the US.

Our feature today is the unusual but captivating 1982 recording “It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz).” Mein Schmerz can be translated as “my pain” – can you beat that for a pet name – probably. I remember this release probably from the equally unique video on MTV.

Speaking of the video, the uniform of the soldier has me baffled. It appears to be in the style of the West German Army to some extent. The badge at the top of the soldier’s breast with the crown is definitely British, but it is too difficult to discern which unit or service to which it belongs. The first medal is the Russian Cross of St. George. The second medal appears also to be in the Soviet style, but I could not find a corresponding medal to the one he is wearing. There is also a decidingly Spanish theme in the dress of Lovich’s two characters. Sorry to go off on a tangent, but I typically look for such things in movies and videos. It’s a blessing and curse to be obsessed with the minutia.

OK, back to the minutia of this tune. While Lovich did better in the UK than in the US, “It’s You, Only You (Mein Schmerz)” appeared on two US charts – her only tune to do so. It placed at #25 on the dance chart and unusually so on the rock (AOR) chart at #51. This is not a song you would typically find being played on album radio, but apparently the MTV play influenced a handful of influential stations to add this song. It charted at #68 in the UK on the pop charts.

One thing I like about this tune is the campy synthesizer hook that sounds strangely like the ocarina part from the “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly” – only faster. Mein Schmerz.

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