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Synthesized Putrefaction

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Just in time for Halloween – the sound of synthesized putrefaction, metaphorically speaking anyway.

What is the most successful technopop song of all time? Soft Cell’s “Tainted Love” from their ’81 Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret album. Originally an obscure soul single from the ’60s by Gloria Jones, Soft Cell’s version finds a perfect blend of electronic chill from synthman David Ball, and vocal heat from singer Marc Almond.

Ball’s haunted house synth melody line, and plinking synth “anh-anh” on the 1 beat of each measure, provide a spooky, watery pool in which the flamboyant Almond emotively splashes about, decrying the “tainted love” of the title.

“Taint” conjures a particularly livid brand of putrefaction, implying the uncomfortable truth that love doesn’t just evaporate, but lingers in an increasingly fetid, yet still alluring state. It is ironic that the song hit just before the world became aware of a byproduct of literally tainted love, AIDS.

Even better than the album and single version is the 12″ medley with “Where Did Our Love Go?,” a poignant coda that finds Almond pleading for release in an ever-diminishing voice from the exquisite torture of his predicament.

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About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted, Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.
  • One of the all-time great creepy singles.

  • Eric Olsen

    yes, you can almost smell it