Single Review: Pseudo Echo “Funkytown”

Funkytown
Album: Love An Adventure
Year: 1986 (U.K./Australia)/1987 (U.S.)

According to Psuedo Echo Files website, “Funkytown” was a popular encore at their Australian shows. It was finally released as a single in 1986 to tide fans over until the next release. It became their most well-known song.

A thundering guitar riff opens Psuedo Echo’s cover of Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown.” Whereas, Cynthia Johnson of Lipps Inc. wished to be a part of the nightclub scene, lead singer Brian Canham is already involved in it in his local town. However, he’s bored by the non-exclusive clubs and wants to experience the glitz and celebrity of the elite nightclub scene. (“Gotta make a move to a town that’s right for me….keep me groovin’ with some energy”). He’s been discussing moving to the city with his friends (“Well I talk about it talk about it talk about it talk about it/Talk about talk about talk about movin'”).

He’s determined and anxious to get out the suburbs (“gotta move on”) Then, the drums and guitars get rambunctious. Canham tells his friends with urgency “won’t you take me to a funkytown.”

The string arrangement and saxophone have been replaced with the keyboard and drums and a guitar, respectively. With different instruments used during the instrumental changes the tone considerably. Canham wants to experience the seedier side of the city’s nightlife.

The music becomes sparse for a few moments as Canham sings, “talk about talk about talk about talk about movin'” This section isn’t in the original at all. However, it’s a great improvement and keeps the single from becoming repetitive. The single ends with the chorus being sung.

Pseudo Echo’s brassy, synth-pop cover is better than the original. It’s driven and self-assured, not desperate. Canham, with his sensual and charismatic voice defines cool. Canham is a believable as a guy leaving tthe suburbs to become a star at the city’s posh clubs.

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