Single Review: Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”

Our Lips Are Sealed
Album: Beauty and the Beat
Year: 1981

Gossip is such petty manipulation. In high school, there was a popular girl who was a grade ahead of me in one of my classes who would always ask about rumors she heard about me. At least once a week, there was something new. “I heard you wear earmuffs?” was one of the silly questions. I didn’t talk much in high school, but apparently my ear muffs were a hot topic.

In the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed,” Belinda Carlisle and company deal with the issue of gossip. Mature and honest, the single aptly describes those who enjoy spreading rumors. Likely taking place in high school, Carlisle comments that the evil girl clique is again “telling lies/well, that’s no surprise” and that they are transparent to everyone. In the third and most articulate verse, she sings, “when you look at them/look right through them/that’s when they’ll disappear/that’s when you’ll be feared.” In four short sentences, an important thing is touched upon: if someone doesn’t listen to them, the evil girl clique no longer has the power and control they so desperately need over other people. It’s an excellent point, subtly made.

The single is a mix of early New Wave with some bright, shiny pop added for commercial appeal. Carlisle is casual and easygoing with her delivery. During the bridge, though, the vocals crumble. While her voice is crisp, her lower range is child-like. It seems as though, for that period, she was still learning how to use her voice.

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