Wednesday 28 February 2024


Disclaimer: this post was written in December 2023, and scheduled for future posting. Its contents may no longer be accurate or appropriate.

I've written many times before about the fine margins that often separate a song, or a band, from being great or being also-rans. But what elevates a song, and makes it special? Can it just be one thing?

Ian McCulloch and, by extension Echo and the Bunnymen, grew out of a fertile late-70s Liverpool scene that gave us plenty that made it (Julian Cope and Pete Wylie being two further examples) and plenty that didn't (... er, the fact that I don't have examples illustrates how they have been forgotten). So how thin is the dividing line between being good and being great? Between being transient and lingering in the memory?

Example, you say?

Well, there was a fair amount of guitar-led indie jangle in 1984, much of it confined to the Recycle Bin of the mental hard drive. But Seven Seas doesn't just linger on, it still sounds fantastic. Why? What elevates it? Well, there are some lovely guitar motifs running through it, it has a catchy melody and the artfully odd lyrics help (we've all kissed a tortoise shell, right?) But what really elevates this song, for me, not just above most of the guitar-led indie jangle of the day but also above other Bunnymen output is Ian's understated vocal ululation at the end of each verse (for example, at about 39 seconds in, below).

Tip the author1984 was a good year for music, and this is right up there with the best of it all. Probably my favourite Bunnymen track too. What's yours?


  1. Almost everything they did up to 84 could be considered as a favourite Bunnymen song. Particular love for this one, Angels and Devils, Never Stop, The Back Of Love, the opening trio of Heaven Up Here, My Kingdom (possible number 1)

  2. The Man Of Cheese28 February 2024 at 19:22

    For me its Lips Like Sugar, albeit a few years later.....

  3. Oh yes, Lips Like Sugar. The Game too and a nod to Bedbugs

  4. I suppose it would be too obvious to go with The Killing Moon, but anything from Ocean Rain would be in with a shot. I also have a real fondness for the title track of a much later Bunnymen album, What Are You Going to Do with Your Life? I thought it had been released as a single, but not according to iffypedia. It hit me at just the right time anyway. (Not that I feel I've answered the question sufficiently in the intervening years.)

    1. Ah, the great unanswerable question...

  5. It's an impossible task.