Tuesday, 2 June 2009

1985 Phyllis Nelson: Move Closer

There are times when getting to number one in the UK charts seems akin to playing the National Lottery. All objective notions of fairness and what's just are thrown out the window. We all know of needy and deserving parties who pay their money week after week who should win the jackpot but never do while other....less deserving.... individuals find themselves knee deep in millions that we all know will be spent to no good ends.

'Move Closer' is a slow and slinky smooth ballad that's not quite lovers rock, not quite R&B and not quite jazz. In fact, it's not quite a song at all, being a sequence of almost spoken verse over a slow and spaced out backing groove that only breaks into any kind of purpose on the chorus:

"Move closer.

Move your body real close until we,
Feel like we're really making love".

Whilst Nelson's voice is sensuous enough to appeal to the groin, there's precious little substance or body to the piece to appeal to the head. Granted, this makes it inoffensive, difficult to dislike and ideal fodder for the typical eighties winebar or the last dance at the club, it also makes it unmemorable to the average listener and just a little boring.

'Move Closer' is the sort of thing that Sade used to do and do so much better, but Ms Adu never had a sniff of a number one hit. Why the British public took this to their hearts in sufficient quantities to make it the best selling single of the week is a mystery, but then the National Lottery moves in mysterious ways too; there will always be more losers than winners and fate's lightning only struck once for Nelson. 'Move Closer' has ultimately recruited her to the ranks of the 'one hit wonder' brigade.

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