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We Are Scientists - 'Rules Don't Stop'

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Fraser McAlpine | 10:47 UK time, Tuesday, 30 March 2010

We Are Scientists

I saw an interview with the very great Vince Clarke recently, and he defined a good pop song as being one which contains a certain amount of tension in the verses, which then has to be released in an exciting chorus: a chorus which feels like a wave of relief and joy.

In this way, songs are like mini-plays, or short films, where characters start off in a position of calm, something upsetting happens, they react, they overcome adversity, do a little dance, and sit down again.

This song claims to be about having a total disregard for the accepted way of doing things. However the verses are kind of tense and the chorus feels like a release from that tension. Clearly Vince's rule is one that everyone has to obey, no matter how rebellious, or risk an extensive course of retraining at pop boot camp, located somewhere in the vicinity of Usetabefamous, Idaho.

(Here's the video. G'wan, gramps, play them drums!)

The verses are musically pernickity: clanging guitars, then ticky-chattery guitars, rumbly-tumbly bass and drums, and Keith and Chris wailing in sad empathy with you, the listener, about a problem which may on first glance appear to be insurmountable, because you're foolish enough to do things the way everyone else does.

But guess what? Here comes the chorus! And by golly, it's as if the sun has come out! A lightbulb has appeared over Keith's nice hair, and he's remembered that he doesn't stick to the accepted way of doing things. No way man, he's far too unorthodox for that! That's what squares do! And even though We Are Scientists like to flirt with the geek-chic, and wear glasses and read books and know things about stuff and everything, they are NOT squares, gottit?

And there's no reason why you can't try and follow in Keith's gangling footsteps, is there? What could possibly go wrong if you decided to cross on a red man, or turn your school-desk to face the back of the class?

Granted, there are some rules you can't disobey. Gravity's kind of unbeatable without specialised equipment, you probably won't get very far trying to mate a pig with a butterfly, even if you're trying to create self-basting pork, and even the most hardened lawbreaker would think twice about trying to fit two hippos into an toaster. But for the majority of other situations, there are workarounds at the very least. So why not go nuts?

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: April 5th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)


  • Comment number 1.

    straight after the first listen i wasn't that impressed, i thought you had bigged the chorus up too much.. but i realized it was deep in my head.. been listening to it since, its great.. loved 'with love and squalor' but wasn't too keen on 'brain thrust theory'.. hope the album 'Barbara' (out june) can be a return to form

  • Comment number 2.

    I bumped into Keith in Oxford about 5 years ago , when they supported Editors .
    We chatted about music , and I let him know that their video for "The Great Escape " , was one of my favourite videos of the year , and was a masterpiece etc and was an absolute comic gem that really brought the song to life .
    Anyway , he kindly let me go on for ages about the greatness of this video , and how it must have taken ages to get it right . He then shot me down in flames when he said in a deadpan manner :

    "Actually , it was filmed in a hurry , in my flat one afternoon. "

    Thanks Keith . Ihad to think quickly to save face .

    And as I then told him , Jagger and Richards wrote I can't get no Satisfaction in 10 minutes.....

    *Sound of frantic digging *

    He is also very handsome , and has a beautiful smile , has our Keith .

    That's my Ricky Martin moment over .


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