This Corrosion – The Sisters of Mercy (1987, Floodland)
The first forty one seconds may have you wondering if you’ve accidentally slipped in an Enigma record, but make no mistake this anthem of Goth culture is just getting warmed up with a 40-person choir before shifting gears brilliantly into an electronic drum beat and bass combo that are so on top-of-each-other and tight it’s like their making out. A lilting, unobtrusive guitar joins in soon thereafter. Then the soon-to-be-familiar refrain “Hey now, hey, hey, now, now, now” makes its first appearance and the song washes over you in glorious, near-ghoulish fashion.
The vocals start around a minute in a half with oblique lyrics that are about members of the band leaving Andrew Eldritch and his disillusion with the parting. Produced to pitch-perfect effect by Jim Steinman (of Meatloaf fame), this song is off of 1987’s oft-overlooked “Floodland” record and is the highlight of a tremendous LP.
Is it repetitive? You’re damn right. But it’s so propulsive and engaging that I have listened to this song for a good half hour (approximately three listens for those keeping score at home) and not tired of it due to the multiple dramatic dynamics that would feed angst any self-respecting occasionally gloomy person.
My personal highlight is at the 7:45 mark until about the 8:15 point. The bombed-out Bowie-esque crooning picks up into another gear and the chorus takes on an urgency that does it for me. The choir element also takes what would be proto-industrial and makes it deeper and more timeless.
The single edit is about a third of the length of the album version, and good in its own right, but this is one track worth getting lost in for its full-length. Listen to this song once or twice and it’ll be tough not to get “hey now, hey now, now, now, sing this corrosion to me” out of your head. But in a good way, of course.