Song of the Day: Suicide “Dream Baby Dream”
The band Suicide are as unlikely pop artists as they come. Mostly known for their dark, often dangerous sounding avant-punk electronic work, “Dream Baby Dream” is pure pop perfection. It is a sumptuous marshmallow of a yearning love song so good that it would make Roy Orbinson cry.
Suicide are one of the weirdest bands to ever exist. Composed of the duo of Martin Rev on various keyboards/ drum machines and Alan Vega crooning as if he were a demonically-possessed Elvis, the duo has been said to have invented punk, post punk and a lot of early electronic music with their often unapologetically difficult music. The band came into existence in 1968 and continued until Alan Vega’s death last summer at the age of 78. Throughout the duo’s almost 50 year collaboration, they turned out a number of records as Suicide and also produced a number of memorable and inventive solo albums.
Suicide took its name from the title of a Ghost Rider comic book titled Satan Suicide, a favorite of Alan Vega. Rev’s simple keyboard riffs (initially played on a battered Farfisa organ combined with effects units, before changing to a synthesizer) were accompanied by primitive drum machines, providing a pulsing, minimalistic, electronic backdrop for Vega’s murmuring and nervy vocals. It was the first band to use the term punk to describe itself, which the band had adopted from an article by Lester Bangs. Some of the band’s earliest posters use the terms punk music and punk music mass.
“Dream Baby Dream” is quite different from a lot of Suicide’s output. As I mentioned earlier, it is a pop song of the utmost perfection: a beautiful, aching and yearning thing. The song sounds like a modernized version of a 50s or early 60s girl group or rock and roll throwback that is so good, Bruce Springsteen began covering it regularly in concert as an organ ballad. Enjoy and keep that dream burning!