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Our song

It was the 1980s, and we were in an expensive night club with a DJ and dizzying lights and too many people. "No Smoking" wasn't yet a thing, and tobacco stink was stinging my eyes. Me being me, I should've been grumpy and looking for the door, but instead I was having a wonderful time, dancing with my first serious girlfriend. She was more serious to me, though, than I was to her.

After dancing, we returned sweaty and ecstatic to our table and drinks, and she shouted to me, "I wish the DJ would play Melt with You." The place was so loud that I'm the only one who could've heard her, but coincidentally, that song started playing just moments later. We laughed and abandoned our drinks and darted onto the dance floor again.

We both liked that song, and so did everyone else in America. At the beach, at a party, on the car radio or on your Walkman, you couldn't go an hour without hearing it again, and I always wanted to crank up the volume. It's an irresistible toe-tapper, ain't it?

My dance partner eventually dropped me, of course, but she did it gently. No surprise; I was Lyle Lovett and she was Julia Roberts. Even years later, though, it was "our song" to me.

Then a second-rate chocolate company reduced that song to an annoying jingle for candy bars. After that, I couldn't hear even a snippet of "I Melt with You" without thinking about chocolate. That's how advertising works, and that's why advertising is a dingleberry on humanity's butt.

Those irritating commercials stopped airing long ago, so is it time to forgive and (try to) forget the candy bars? The band was a one-hit wonder, and once it was clear that there wouldn't be a second hit, what would you choose — artistic integrity and a lousy job to augment your shrinking royalties, or would you cash that chocolate check to have no financial worries for the rest of your life? Maybe that's what I'd do, too.

During the pandemic, the band got back together to re-record the song, via some elaborate socially-distanced video collaboration. I had to hear it, and it was the first time I'd really listened to that song in years. Suddenly I was young and only slightly pudgy, and now the song is on an endless loop.

All of yesterday morning I melted into it, and then for another six hours late in the afternoon. Maybe I'll grow weary of hearing it over and over again, but ... not yet. First thing this morning, I hit 'play' and 'repeat', and again it's making me smile.

Even without my misty memories of that woman, nobody could be in a bad mood while listening to this song. If a better piece of bubble-gum pop-music has ever been made, name that tune. I'm nominating "I Melt with You" by Modern English as the most purely perfect pop tune ever recorded. Fight me!

Pay attention to the lyrics, though — it's a bubbly, buoyant song about making love as World War III explodes all around. When nuclear weapons obliterate all humanity, I'll melt with you...

I remember the restaurant where we ate dinner that night, and the club where we danced afterwards, and the dress and perfume she wore, and her sweet smile as she swayed to this song. Now she's a great-grandmother three times over, as wrinkled and gray and flabby as I am, but to me she'll always be young and beautiful.

I'll stop the world and melt with you
I've seen some changes
But it's getting better all the time

There's nothing you and I won't do
I'll stop the world and melt with you

The future's open wide ...



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  1. Captain HampocketsMay 28, 2021 at 6:02 PM

    >If a better piece of bubble-gum pop-music has ever been made, name that tune

    Here's something I wrote about 8 years ago on this subject :


  2. It's a damn fine piece of rock'n'roll, no argument. I have a cover of it I wish I could share, but I can't figure out how to post audio — some unknown band singing the song very politely, with all the anger excised. Sacrilege, of course.

    And you're a terrific writer, man.


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