Culture Club – Church Of The Poison Mind
Spring of 1983 was well on course, and the month of April began with the release of a song that definitely had an impact. This English band had found some fame the previous year with songs from their debut album Kissing to Be Clever, especially with the beautiful Do You Really Want to Hurt Me. They had made themselves known for their music, but also for the colorful extravagance of the singer, a charismatic young man who by day worked as a salesman in an alternative clothing store, called YaYa. But in the evening and at night Alan George O’Dowd transformed and became Boy George, the leader of Culture Club.
On April 1, they released the first song which would later be included on their second album. And these are always important moments, these are steps where you can’t go wrong, because recovering could be very hard, and if you are at your first albums there is a strong risk of interrupting your career. Culture Club chose a certainly pleasant song, with an absolutely captivating title, Church Of The Poison Mind. The song is about a couple who part after being hit by Cupid’s arrow. Probably not an original plot, but Culture Club certainly focused more on rhythm and singing skills, and of course on their look, rather than on solid stories in their lyrics.
The rhythm is captivating, we are in 1983, in full transition from new wave to pop, and this can be heard in the music. But this is definitely a cheerful and lively song. As for singing skills, in the chorus Boy George is joined by the powerful and almost soulful voice of Helen Terry, who will collaborate on many of their songs and videos, and also on many dates of their tours.
As for the look, I’d say we’re on masterpiece levels. Boy George in this video is absolutely incredible: very young but already with an irresistible look. All in all simple, but brilliant in combining the white of gloves and coat (if we can use this word) with the blue of his hat and stripes on the shirt. A really nice video that in the final part shows Culture Club flying a plane, and photographed in the classic style of the James Bond movies.
The song was a resounding success and soon came at second place on the UK charts, stopped only by David Bowie’s China Girl. This song certainly paved the way for the following songs and for the album Colour by Numbers, which would be released about six months later.
One last funny detail: during an interview the following year, the great Bob Dylan was asked if he belonged to some religion, to some church. And without hesitation he replied: “Sure, the church of the poison mind”!
Culture Club on Wikipedia