Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good
The cold is biting
Through each and every nerve and fiber
My broken spirit is frozen to the core
I don't wanna be here no more
Wouldn't it be good to be in your shoes
1984 was really the highest period of the 80s, along with the first half of 1985. The level of artists and songs at that time was excellent, and in my humble opinion this level was on average higher than the generation that followed and closed the 80s, obviously with the necessary exceptions.
Among the names that were absolute protagonists at that time, Nik Kershaw was probably one of the most underrated, but absolutely one of the most original and peculiar. After the usual teenage years among groups of friends in college, and bands playing in parties and cellars, Nik released his first single in late 1983, paving the way for the first album. “I won’t let the sun go down on me” didn’t go unnoticed, but it got less success than the record company had hoped. They will publish the song again the following year with better luck.
The turning point came in early 1984, on January 6 (not a public holiday in the UK), when Nik released his second single, a song that will remain in the history of the 1980s. The video was not ready yet, it would be released between January and February (the video shows the date of January 24, and in fact in many European countries the song will also be released at the end of the month), but “Wouldn’t it be good” began to achieve a resounding success in radio programming, and climb the charts.
With the release of the video, Nik Kershaw’s success became absolutely unstoppable, and pushed the entire album “Human Racing” into the top ten in many countries. At this time the careers of Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones were sort of matching, and in fact there was also the rumor of a certain rivalry between the two. Personally, I believe that both of them are not only great artists, but also very correct people, and this is witnessed by the acoustic performance of this song that the two did together in one of Howard Jones’s concerts that I invite you to see on Nik Kershaw‘s page within the section dedicated to artists yesterday and today.
The song is great. Nik Kershaw always considered himself a guitarist and always worked to become a great guitarist, and in fact in this song he proves to be, but perhaps he did not realize the overall level of the song, starting with the original and outstanding melody, even far from the rhythms of pop and dance of those years, but absolutely irresistible.
Lyrics are also a work of art. Nik Kershaw uses uncommon words and images to describe sensations, which in the second half of the 80s will become increasingly rare, under the pressure of dance-pop homologation (with the necessary exceptions especially for large groups such as U2, Depeche Mode, and others). Verses like “the cold is biting through each and every nerve and fiber” are by no means for everyone.
The theme of the song is also deep, the apparent simplicity in other people’s lives, which often hides sacrifices, waivers or compromises that we do not want to see. Or at least, I think that’s the point of the song, since Nik sometimes wrote the songs tentatively with the intention of improving and refining them later, but that didn’t always happen.
Video is also a work of art. Nik is an alien who is on earth, and his suit is a bit like smartphone batteries: at first he is absolutely brilliant with his own light, but over time he obfuscates and becomes a kind of screen for the sensations of other people (and the lyrics of the song). Fantastic is the scene in which the woman in the other building prepares a cocktail between bottles of Campari and Cinzano, and the details appear on Nik’s dress.
In the house there is a machine that evidently serves to communicate, and reminds of the futuristic tubes of Buggles in “Video killed the radio star“. Nik is finally attracted to a large antenna (which was actually in an observatory near Cambridge). Reaching the antenna is a complicated, Nik is exhausted and falls on the street several times, as it happens in certain nightmares where we know we are very late, but we can not walk. Finally, upon reaching the antenna where the signals of his planet are received and sent, Nik vanishes, probably transported home.
“Wouldn’t it be good” marked a turning point and an incredible acceleration for the career of Nik Kershaw, who lived two years at the highest level and at top speed, with concert nights around Europe when he was also working on his second album. “Human Racing” was released in late February 1984, and the next album, “The Riddle”, was released in November of the same year.
This tour de force, however, gave Nik Kershaw the deserved success and also some glory, if it is true that he was among the protagonists of “Live Aid” at Wembley, probably the highest point of the 80s, even if he had not taken part in the Band Aid project and in “Do they know it’s Christmas“.
As it happened with almost his entire generation, after Live Aid his star faded, and subsequent albums failed to achieve the same success. But Nik had not changed: a different phase of the 80s had begun, certainly more related to image and superficiality, where songs were written at the table in an hour and played with electronic instruments on often identical bases.
But dinosaurs don’t forget, and when Nik Kershaw attends evenings and concerts with other artists of the 80s, he is still one of the most beloved and appreciated performers.
Nik Kershaw on Wikipedia