Today on Ecléctico you're listening to "The Lodgers" by The Style Council, a British soul and new wave band led by musician, singer, and songwriter Paul Weller. The band started as a duo, Weller and keyboardist Mick Talbot, in 1982. It soon expanded to include drummer Steve White and singer Dee C. Lee.
It's Lee and Weller who sing and shine on today's song, released on the album Our Favorite Shop in 1985. Lee opens the song, charming the listener with her voice, singing up and down in double-tracked harmony. But what begins as a bouncy pop of soul exposes itself as an indictment of Margaret Thatcher's England. "No peace for the wicked, only war on the poor / They're batting on pickets, trying to even the score" are the first words, referring to the record-high unemployment in England in 1984 and a months-long miners's strike that nearly paralyzed the nation. Lee and Weller trade stanzas of lyrics revealing the loser's game of being middle class or poor at the time.
In New York magazine, Carl Rosen wrote: "Writing liner notes [for the box set The Complete Adventures Of] in 1998 as 'the Cappuccino Kid,' his Style Council alter ego, Weller clarified the act’s anti-Thatcherite intent: 'The band’s real war was waged against the lady whose eyes shone with madness and who will soon stand in true judgement of her deeds. The Council hoisted the flag for equality and justice and pointed out … that Europe was ours and little island minds had no place in the vast world that ticks over and still fascinates us so.'"
As mentioned above, today's song is from the band's 1985 album Our Favorite Shop. However, in the U.S. the album was repackaged as Internationalists and that's the version I bought as a teenager in Miami back then. It's the version I still own, so it gets the nod in the image up top. Viva Style Council!
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