Single Review: Romeo Void “Never Say Never”

Never Say Never
Album: It’s A Condition
Year: 1981

Debora Iyall, lead singer of Romeo Void, told Blender in March 2005 that “we were told by the record company ‘C’mon, come up with a hit. Don’t you have any sex lyrics'” after the success of “Never Say Never.” However, Iyall adds that “marketing was a dirty word” in the 80s. Continued popularity was expected, not bought like today.

The cryptic single begins with galloping bass. Then, the guitars and bass are next, creating a snappy and metropolitan atmosphere. Iyall talks about a man she sees walking by. He’s a gloomy and vile person. She likens his attitude to time, saying it would always be midnight and people wouldn’t see the sun. Young girls dressed in a “brief top and shorts,” according to dictionary.reference.com, should be wary of him. After a short instrumental, the lyric is repeated again.But this time it references incest between a father and daughter. The daughter must hide her fear and anguish. (“If time itself was his demeanor/There’d be no sunlight or a glimmer/Of sunlight landin’ on the street/Sunsuit girls must be discreet/Sunsuit girls must be discreet/Nursing their fathers locked inside/They masqueraded as his bride’).

The then-shocking catchphrase takes a predatory meaning in the chorus. (“I might like you better/If we slept together/But there’s somethin’/In your eyes that says/Maybe that’s never/Never say never”). The hyper, jittery sax gets a solo before the next verse.

She describes a homeless man with a red, splotchy face sleeping on old newspapers by the courthouse. The homeless man could care less if he sees another person smiling as they walk by. He notices the person is brimming with fresh sexuality. The man is attracted to the attitude of the person, but not the actual person. (“The slump by the courthouse/With windburn skin/That man could give a fuck/About the grin on your face/As you walk by, randy as a goat/He’s sleepin’ on papers/When he’d be warm in your coat”).

The sax has another solo.

People can get distracted easily by their own carnal instincts as the pass others in the city, in their office buildings, or brushing past them on their flight. Sexuality is ageless as Iyall talks about a couple of senior citizens who have long lost their beauty. (“There’s no easy way to lose your sight/On the street, on the stairs/Who’s on your flight/Old couple walks by, as ugly as sin/But he’s got her and she’s got him”).

The sax gets hysterical and wild for its third solo. The chorus is sung again and the sax has another brief solo. Iyall begins with the “sunsuit girls must be discreet…masquerade as his bride.” The only difference is Iyall says “never say never” beneath intense drumming.

Iyall than sings it’s people who are the heat and bothered by our burgeoning sexuality. “the sun seems to move across the sky so slow/it’s us who’s turning with nowhere to go”). it’s repeated again. The intense drumming returns again as “never say never” is said all over again. But it’s shortened “nev” for a few seconds. The chorus ends the single.

Provocative and frank, “Never Say Never” address healthy and unhealthy forms of sexuality. Ultimately, people are ruled by their desires and will stop at nothing to fulfill them. Even if it is something that is morally reprehensible. It is certainly a subservise 80s song that fools people with the chorus as its about something else entirely.

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