Song of the Week: Stand or Fall, by The Fixx

Song of the Week: Stand or Fall, by The Fixx
Shuttered Room

Shuttered Room

Gateway drugs. Not the best thing in the literal sense but when it comes to music it’s been the gateway drugs that have left the most indelible imprints.  I remember “Stand or Fall” from the early days of MTV. Early for me, anyway.  My family was a bit late on the cable trend, but it was time enough.  I would never have heard this song on Boston rock radio and as I was still deeply in my metal phase, I probably wouldn’t have even let it play past the first verse had it come on my radio anyway. But with the novelty of video, I was more prone to let stuff play even if I didn’t think I’d like it. I can’t think of how many times Toto Coelo’s “I Eat Cannibals” blighted my TV screen as I waited patiently on the off chance that MTV’s once-daily-maybe playing of “So This Is Love” or “Back In Black” would be next.

“Stand or Fall” was in heavy rotation on the M (worth noting that the single only reached #76 on the US charts) and made an impact with its rainy window scenes, war scenes, the “dying” horse, that very memorable zoom-in on the farmhouse (looks kinda like the cover of Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” LP, don’t it?), shit, I could go on – there’s more symbolism in this video than in William Faulkner’s collected works! But, of course, what we remember most is Cy Curnin’s preppie sweater.

But the point is that the song eventually sunk in.  Its unusual guitar hook, the simple, pleading melody of the chorus, and the nearly dissonant synth textures on the post-chorus.  It’s a great piece of work; one that even little metal-head me couldn’t resist.  There were one or two anomalous songs every year, and as I grew up, my tastes expanded and became (I like to think) unclassifiable.  Music is pretty effin’ cool that way.

Nonetheless, it took me until this week at Amoeba to actually buy Shuttered Room. The whole record is pretty fantastic. Dig in to this great single now:

The Fixx - One Thing Leads to Another: Greatest Hits - Stand or Fall