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From time to time, when I’m walking down the street or shopping in a store, I hear “You Spin Me Round” being played on the radio. This makes me chuckle to myself. I wonder whether people think it’s a Culture Club song – after all, it is sung by a drag queen. I suspect its enduring appeal has as much to do with the tongue-twister chorus – and the satisfaction people get from mastering it – as with its musical qualities.

As is often the case, the greatest hit of a marginally successful group only tells part of their story. On the same album that gave us “You Spin Me Round” one can also find “My Heart Goes Bang,” representing the flip side of Dead or Alive’s disco goth persona. “Spin” is the beginning of an affair; the operatic cry of “I want your loooooooooooove!” sounds like Tarzan calling Jane (or Cheetah) from the other side of the jungle. In “Bang,” the seducer has become the seduced: “Doctor, doctor, give me the cuuuuuuuuuuuure!”

The comparison of lust to an illness is hardly original, but what Dead or Alive lack in creativity, they make up in sheer intensity. If their lead singer has ever smiled in public, I have never seen it. Even when singing a song as inherently silly as “Brand New Lover,” his pancaked visage remains impassive. This may be a sign that he is the stupidest human alive…or just the most bored. But he’s got the solution…he’s leaving tomorrow. (With his eyeliner.)

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