Being a satin-clad, snake-hipped boogie droog I needed something special to kickstart my sorry blog into 2019*. Forget all those shouty chaps I tend to espouse on these here pages, I wanted a bit of a swaggering filthy fun to cheer me up. There was only one choice, my fave cut from Scissor Sisters debut from (can it really be that long?) 2004.
I remember meeting my mate Matt in the pub and he gave me my birthday present** and a taped copy of Scissor Sisters**, telling me I would absolutely flip my wig over their ‘big gay disco’ cover of ‘Comfortably Numb’. He was right of course, my wig = flipped.
Leaping into action I immediately bought the 12″ picture disc of Comfortably Numb just over 13 years later. Because there was a nipple on the cover. Because I love singles. Because I love picture discs. Because I love the song. Because I love myself.
I love The Wall, it appeared at a crucial juncture in my musical understanding at the point when I was uniquely susceptible to its’ portentous and pretentious brilliance. At one point it pretty much had narcotic qualities for me; I used to listen to it in the dark on my Sony Walkman because of the dreams it gave me afterwards. So obsessed was I at age 13-ish that I remember slipping it into the stereo at a party my parents were having and being gently told off by a friend of my folks for ‘harshing the vibe’^. True story. ‘Comfortably Numb’ was never my favourite track on The Wall^^, although I loved it and Gilmour’s monumental, continent-sized guitar solo in particular. Little did I know then that what the song really needed was a great big rainbow makeover!
How can anyone not rejoice at the sheer fun involved in, ahem, pricking Pink Floyd’s large gravitarse? it is just priceless and the Scissor Sisters turn in such a great piece of music in their own right too. There are times when this is my favourite cover version ever. Jake Shears going full Bee Gee on his vocals and that beat that simply will not quit, it is a perfect tune to dance to – I have all manner of slightly jerky shoulder and arm movements reserved solely for dancing to this tune; although sadly that’s exclusively in my own kitchen these days. It just hits all the criteria of greatness for me, has anyone ever deseriousinated a song this well before?
The Comfortably Numb 12″ carries two rather good remixes too, neither beats the usual version but hey, they don’t let the side down either. ‘Comfortably Numb (Hughes & Spier Remix)’ is a faster more dance than disco version, I prefer disco to be honest; but then I am from the 70’s. ‘Comfortably Numb (Tommie Sunshine Remix)’ is better still and adds some interesting Gary Numan style synth colours into the palette. All worth a good listen. Sadly the B-side track I really wanted, mostly because it sounded really mucky, ‘Rock My Spot (Crevice Canyon)’ is not here. Darn it!
Plus special mention needs to be made for the cover art, Scissor Sisters released all the singles from their first LP on picture discs and they are all worth having, I rather like the 40s/50s Hollywood neon and deco fonts and stylings. Oh and then there’s the whole nipple-and-head-thrown-back-in-ecstatic-orgasm-symbolized-by-a-wave-breaking-on-shore thing going on. Groovy.
I, umm, came to love Scissor Sisters and their brand of cheery, clever danceable filth a lot and I was genuinely saddened when they split. They cut a lot of great tracks along the way but it is ‘Comfortably Numb’ I reach for more often than most.
*I have spent a couple of weeks wrestling with all manner of WP and Google issues in a desultory fashion.
**Butthole Surfers Locust Abortion Technician on vinyl, which I have been too scared to play more than three times, even though it is quite brilliant. I spend quite a lot of my time deliberately avoiding thinking about it.
^that was, quite genuinely, the phrase used.
^^’The Thin Ice’, since you ask – I love a good sneer and who could ever do it better than Waters?