Single Review: T’Pau “Heart and Soul”

Heart and Soul
Album: Heart and Soul
Year: 1987

Carol Decker, lead singer of the 80s band, T’Pau told Mirror magazine in 1987 thought Americans took music far too seriously. This stereotype was based on one fan letter she had received.

Regarding the letter: “This gives you a brief idea of how the average American fan thinks: ‘To the brilliant creative force with and/or among T’Pau that gave life to ‘Heart And Soul’. The commercial success of this song is and will be a mere characteristic of the inner scheme of things… The beauty and perfection of this song are tributes to it that cannot be matched by money, ratings or even congratulatory statements. In the language of time, you have offered to a world of people who seem to be increasingly locked into negative perceptions a clear message in support of themselves and one another..'” Decker, it was one hardcore teenaged fan who decided to pay for your album. It wasn’t signed from the “all the people in America.” In 1987, we Americans didn’t really care that much about one-hit wonders from Britian. We were too busy being obsessed with Madonna and Michael Jackson.

In the fetching “Heart and Soul,” Decker wishes her boyfriend hadn’t left her and she tries to get him back. She imagines her ex-boyfriend is with her and hopes for another chance. However, he’s not even speaking to her. She’s realized her mistake but knows she’s lost his trust. (“Something in the moonlight catches my eye/The shadow of a lover goes dancing by…You never let me cross to the other side now/I’m tied to the hope that you will somehow/Hard on the heels of something more/But I lost your love, heart and soul”).

She sees him and chokes up. He’s avoiding her, which makes her think they belong together. She then begs for his love. (“The tear in my heart as you walk on by (more than an ocean)/I feel so low and your head is high/Everything you do convinces me more (keeps us apart)/Please, give me love, give me heart and soul”). Apparently, she wasn’t his type when they first met but she admired his charisma. (“Looking to the day when I saw your face (I feel a tearing in half of my heart)/I wasn’t in the running, I wasn’t in the race/You move in a way that I’ve known before/Now I want your love, heart and soul”). If she wasn’t his type to begin with, it’s doubtful it’s going to be again. Here, the spoken lyrics dominate with the sung lyrics added after every other verse. It’s a wonderful effect which doesn’t drown out either of the parts.

Now, the sung lyrics are heard over the spoken ones in order to segue to the chorus. Decker can’t let him go and thinks of their intimate times together. She tells herself to stop remembering the memories and that he made a good argument for their end of their relationship. But she still wants him to try to love her again. (“Tired eyes, tears that dried (leaving you ain’t easy now)/On the bed, on the pillow, where the love has died (loving you’s the harder part)…Don’t look back, to hurt me more (now I’ve needed you right from the very start)/Everything you said was to the point/Can’t you try to (oh won’t you even try to)”).

In the chorus, she demands that he give her is all, despite not owing her anything. She’s in denial over the fact that he could care less about her now. (“Give a little bit of heart and soul (give a little bit of heart and soul)/Give a little bit of love to grow…And don’t you make me beg for more (must I beg you)/Give a sign, I need to know/a little bit of heart and soul”).

Their love was perfect and unconditional. (“Walking on the water, walking on the air (a walk on the water)/That was the heart of the love we shared”). He’s with another woman now which has left her distraught and bitter. (“Can’t give love, heart or soul/I used to have a lover with a Midas touch (but miracles are not happening)/I turned to gold but he turned to dust/Left me for another, I turned to stone/Now give me love, heart and soul”).

In the bridge, she admits she’s only deluding herself and now views his love for her as a lie. She wishes, though, he would open her door with his key and tell her he wants her back. (“living in a fantasy…On the bed, on the pillow, where you told your lies (there’s never any room to breathe)/A turn of the key, my blood runs cold (hoping every waking hour)/Don’t look back to hurt me more (you’ll turn around and say that we can start)”). She realizes she spent too much time analyzing his actions and finding out what he felt. Love shouldn’t have to be that way but sometimes, it’s how people learn about life. (“Somehow, I lost my way/Looking to see something in your eyes/But love will never compromise/Now this is the politics of life, yeah!”). The chorus continues until the end.

Decker’s low, sensual rap combined with the sung, harmonious lyrics gives the single its originality. The style has been copied at certain times in modern pop (Britney’s “One Kiss For You,” Faith Hill, “Beautiful”) but ends up being monotonous. “Heart and Soul” holds up really well after 10+ years and several imitations later.


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