Released today in 1985: This Is What She’s Like

Mercury DEXYS13

Mercury DEXYS13

“Oh dear oh dear oh dear! Look at the state of this,” exclaimed Smash Hits when Dexys’s Midnight Runners began a ‘comeback’ of sorts in the late summer of 1985, illustrating their piece with photos of the band through the ages. “First it was the young ‘soul rebel’ look around 1980. Urgh! Just look at those woolly hats! Then it was the ‘down the dumper’ look featuring boxer boots, pony tails and tight tracksuits. And finally the dirty hillbilly look complete with rolled up dungarees and paisley neckerchiefs. But now (cue fanfare) they’re back after their regular two year absence with the ‘preppy’ look and an album Don’t Stand Me Down, released September 13. There are no plans for a single so we can’t have a snigger at them on ‘Top Of The Pops’. Spoilsports.”

They did look smart on the cover of Don’t Stand Me Down; Kevin Rowland said that an album release was a special occasion, so it was worth making the effort. It didn’t help sales though, and it was in and out of the charts within weeks. As the Smash Hits article had noted, there was no single prior to the album’s release and as a result, there was little opportunity for potential purchasers to hear any of it. As a result, Rowland relented and a taster was issued on 45rpm a couple of months later. “Prefixed ‘an extract from’, this is the single Kevin vowed would never be,” said Record Mirror said of This Is What She’s Like. “But since the massed ranks of lost soul rebels and intense emotion circle devotees have been conspicuous in their absence in supporting the Don’t Stand Me Down LP – here it is. It’s deftly edited from the full track and consists of a barrage of barbed poison arrows aimed at easy targets, while attempting to describe the love of his life. It’s a curious and stodgy updating of Van Morrison’s Caledonian soul vision of over a decade ago, but it has charm. It’s the sort of thing you’ll adore for five minutes and hate equally soon after.”

New Musical Express picked up on the ‘extract from’ business, saying that this “means more messing around with a song that had already been pushed around more than enough.” Nevertheless, they said it was “generally regarded as one of the relative highlights of that LP,” being “part Dexys of old (that is, pre- the Celtic gypsy stage), part insular enigmatic love song.” Their conclusion was that “This Is What She’s Like finds Rowland in fine voice but becomes grounded, like much of the album, on its ambitions-cum-pretentions.” As indicated, the album had met with mixed reviews. Over at Melody Maker, listeners were advised to be patient. The single was “more of that swing-rap dialogue that terminates with a classic string/acoustic croon at the very end. Indeed a mighty package. The album was a bit hard to tackle at first but it’s definitely worth the effort. Very impressive.” It seems the reviewer at Sounds couldn’t find the time, writing off This Is What She’s Like with: “Replace Kevin with Rod [Stewart] and you’d have a fair cover of Maggie May”.

NEW SINGLES on sale from Nov. 8
1982
YAZOO The Other Side Of Life (Mute YAZ002)
1984
The JESUS AND MARY CHAIN Upside Down (Creation CRE012)
1985
DEXYS MIDNIGHT RUNNERS (Kevin Rowland) This Is What She’s Like (Mercury DEXYS13)

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