Wednesday, 1 April 2009

1983 Phil Collins: You Can't Hurry Love

With 'You Can't Hurry Love', writers Holland-Dozier-Holland urge us to remember back to what 'mama said'. But instead of what she said, imagine if you will, a full roast dinner like mama used to make. Now imagine that same dinner cooked without any salt, gravy or seasoning of any kind. Go further, and now also imagine it with all the vitamins and minerals chemically removed until all that's left behind are blocks of matter the shape and colour of meat and vegetables. It still looks like a roast dinner, but it tastes of nothing and contains no intrinsic nutritional value whatsoever, making eating it a joyless and ultimately fruitless exercise. Such is the fate of 'You Can't Hurry Love' once it's been through the Collins mangle.

In the hands of The Supremes, the song skipped along on waves of Motown melody and harmony, with Diana Ross's breathless vocal juxtaposing the yearning theme of the title with a wink and a sly 'come on'. Collins, on the other hand, brings nothing to the party and instead manages to suck every last drop of excitement and joy from the track from his tin bucket wail that effectively nullifies it's gospel and R&B roots, to the white bread recording that's so sterile and cold it should have been sold vacuumed packed. Though arguably enough plastic had already been wasted on the single itself, an artifact that stands as the epitome of pointlessness.

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