A Nostalgic Win: The Psychedelic Furs, Forever Now

Forever Now by the Psychedelic Furs was one of my favorite albums back when I was in high school.  Okay, it was a few years old by the time I made it to high school–it came out in 1982 and I did not start high school until 1986–but I liked it just the same.  And if you give it a listen you will see that it certainly beats the crap out of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.

The edition that I now have is a remastered version that came out in 2002.  The original artwork from the UK version of this album has been restored, and six new bonus tracks have been added, including the B-sides “Aeroplane” and “I Don’t Want to Be Your Shadow”, and live versions of “President Gas” and “No Easy Street”.

This album was the breakthrough album for The Psychedelic Furs.  They had already won something of a cult following with their previous two albums The Psychedelic Furs and Talk Talk Talk, but it was this album that put them on the map.  “Love My Way” peaked just outside the Top 40 on the UK singles chart and at No. 44 on the US singles chart, and the album spent seven months on the Billboard albums chart.

The album features the work of Todd Rundgren as producer.  Steve Lillywhite produced the first two Psychedelic Furs albums and didn’t want to do any more with them.  Also, the Psychedelic Furs were looking to incorporate the synthesizer sound which back then was just starting to become popular and which would go on to become one of the defining characteristics of 80’s music, and they chose Todd Rundgren to help them go in that direction.

High points of the album include “Forever Now”, which leads off the album establishing the new, streamlined synthesizer sound to follow.  “President Gas” is a strong rock anthem with a cello break inspired by Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring midway through the song.  (By the way, the title “President Gas” is a not-so-flattering reference to Reagan.)  “Love My Way”, the hit single, is a cross between a ballad and a dance track and is defined by a marimba line that runs throughout the song.

Mainstream success followed on the heels of Forever Now, and it changed the sound of the Psychedelic Furs in many ways.  Midnight to Midnight (1987) was the Psychedelic Furs’ most widely successful album here in the US, yet many critics question the artistic quality of it.  The Psychedelic Furs themselves regret the changes to their sound which resulted from increased commercial success.  (Personally, I have no problem with Midnight to Midnight.  But even if it is just a bunch of commercialized schlock, this schlock still beats the hell out of Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.)  Forever Now captures the Psychedelic Furs in that ideal state as they were in transition from an artistic band with a small cult following to a mainstream success, and able to enjoy the best of both worlds.

So to all you high school kids out there:  Put away your Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers.  They’re just not worth the time or trouble.  It’s time to give some props to the Psychedelic Furs.

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