Thursday, 3 September 2009

1988 Bros: I Owe You Nothing

And on the eighth day, the lord said 'Let there be Bros'. Because to my memory, that's how they came about; one minute they weren't while the next there they were, an overnight teen sensation at number one. Nice work if you can get it. Whether this is what actually happened or not I can't say (or be bothered to find out to be honest - why spoil a good memory?), but it seemed that way at the time, and I'll happily bet the farm that they didn't pay too many dues slogging around the pub circuit.

Hindsight has shown that Bros were forerunners of the boy band epidemic of the nineties. Sure, there had been teen boy bands designed to appeal to the pre pubescents in the past, but where acts like The Monkees or Jackson 5 (to take two extremes) had the talent and the songs to back them up, Bros were sold entirely on hype, the image on the cover of their records rather than what was in the grooves. Talent was in short supply within the set up and 'I Owe You Nothing' does precious little to convince otherwise.

Rather than go to the trouble of writing an actual song, the folk behind
this seemed happy enough to let Matt Goss improvise a tune of his own around the "I owe you nothing, nothing, nothing at all" refrain which he repeats until the cows are home, milked, calved and slaughtered. Goss gives it his best shot, but despite his enthusiasm any group of words with the same number of syllables would fit and work just as well in this setting (try it......see what I mean)? Like some Butlins Redcoat on a drizzly Saturday night, 'I Owe You Nothing' does it's darndest to get everyone in a party mood with blaring keyboards, a busy busy bassline and copious 'Wooooo, Oooh yeahhh!'s, but the sound is an anaemic thin slice of Lo Cost funk that tries to cover up it's failings with a typically thin, bright and brash eighties production.

It's a production that does not gel with the generally poisonous tone of the whole affair; "I'll watch you suffer with no feelings, no feelings at all" - is this something that pre-teens can relate to in any way I wonder? Probably not, but they probably didn't listen that closely
anyway, not when they had Matt's mug to swoon over and they'd be the last to recognise this for the abject failure that it is.

And that it fails, and fails badly, is down to the fact that it's lazy, it
simply does not try hard enough to do anything other than to provide some sounds for Messer's Goss and the other one to prance about and cut shapes to. At least SAW put in a modicum of effort on their stuff, 'I Owe You Nothing' sounds more like a rough demo than the finished article.

So lazy then, but I think that no matter what anyone else may or may not have been able to bring to the table to improve it, nothing would dispel the empty, sinking feeling a few seconds in when Goss does his best Poundstretcher Michael Jackson on the opening "I'll watch you crumble like a very old wall". Oh dear. Bros had their time in the sun, but it didn't last long because on the ninth day the lord grew displeased with his creation and said 'Let there be no more Bros'. And lo, Bros were no more. It's just a shame the door wasn't locked and barred behind them. There would be far worse to come through it in the future.

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