Song of the Day: Orange Juice “Rip It Up”
“Rip It Up” is the title track from Orange Juice‘s second LP (released in 1982) and proved to be one of the most iconic and proved to be one of the most iconic tracks of the post-punk movement. Indeed, the track is so iconic, it was the title given to music journalist Simon Reynolds‘ history of the post-punk movement. The track is a delightfully angular and bouncy dance single from the Glasgow-based Orange Juice. Singer and guitarist Edwyn Collins delivers the lyrics with a pointedly Scottish irony, occasionally lapsing into a comedy-vampire impression.
“Rip It Up” was a big departure from the sound of the band’s earlier singles, which were more of the traditional aggressive punk variety. The song, which was released as a single, saw the group develop a new infatuation with disco and dance music generally. Gone were the fuzz-tones and distortion, replaced with some clearly Chic-influenced rhythm guitars and a bright, Italo-disco embracing synthesizer bass. Indeed, “Rip It Up” is one of the very first songs to ever use the now-classic Roland TB-303 “squelch” synthesizer bass.
The lyrics also proved fitting, with the band ripping up their earlier template and starting anew with a whole different set of influences. This new approach seemed to be quite freeing for the band, who reveled in the dance grooves they had embraced. The song proved to be Orange Juice‘s only Top 40 hit, reaching number 8 in the UK charts.
A lot of what was great about post-punk as a musical movement was that it did away with the occasional narrow-mindedness and machismo of punk, fully embracing disco and dance grooves. The tensions that ran within punk, and the desire to rebuild from scratch were still there, but post-punk afforded much greater tolerance for a wider variety of influences. This was dynamic and interesting music that still sounds oddly cutting edge and even contemporary today. Orange Juice were clearly at the vanguard of this during a run that ran from 1979 until 1985.