Released today in 1985: That Certain Smile

Chrysalis URE2

Chrysalis URE2

“I’ve always been fascinated by the paradox of Midge Ure,” the Record Mirror review of That Certain Smile began. “He makes grandiose, swirling high pop will allusions to quality and distinction, but its success is rooted more in hard graft perspiration than cool inspiration. He’s a workman who tosses out neo-symphonic ditties with the industry and efficiency of a factory. The product is always functional, adequately pleasing in design and has built-in obsolescence. While most bands unconsciously aspire to this plateau, despite mouthings to the contrary, Midge had turned this reliability into an art form.” I think there are a few back-handed compliments in there somewhere (the single was listed with that week’s ‘Squibs’ rather than the ‘Firecrackers’); regardless, it’s a reasonably fair assessment.

Functional was probably the word. Ure is a jobbing musician, and is very capable of doing what is necessary to get the job done – Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas being a case in point. But while there was no chance of that single missing the top spot in the chart, pretty much whatever the song itself was like, even Ure must have been surprised when his single If I Was made #1 within a month of its release. Its triumph caused parent album The Gift to debut at #2 on the album chart, bettering the chart peak of any Ultravox studio album. But then, The Gift wasn’t intended to sound like Ultravox. “I didn’t get over-complex,” said Ure in the week before That Certain Smile was released. “A lot of Ultravox things tend to get a bit deep musically, very intricate.” He said that the album didn’t comprise old songs he had written that Ultravox as a group had passed on; The Gift was very much the type of pop music he wanted to make. He likened himself to another sturdy, dependable musical workhorse who was running a productive (and lucrative) solo career alongside his band member duties. “There’s Phil Collins doing solo stuff which is a lot simpler than the stuff Genesis do and he’s done it very well. Other artists go and do self-indulgent things and they disappear.”

NEW SINGLES on sale from Nov. 4
1983
DEATH CULT (Ian Astbury) God’s Zoo (Situation Two SIT29)
Ian DURY Really Glad You Came (Polydor POSP646)
1985
FIVE STAR R.S.V.P. (Tent PB40445)
SIMPLY RED Holding Back The Years (Elektra EKR29)
Midge URE That Certain Smile (Chrysalis URE2)

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