I Will Die a Happy Person If I Find This Song
April 19, 2011 5:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm on a search for a song from the eighties.

It is sung by a female artist. I am almost positive I first heard it in the early to mid eighties, and then again in an Anthropologie store in 2007. I am positive it is an eighties song but I am not sure on the exact year. I would say 1980-1987, most likely 1982-1986. It is not a top 40 or popular hit, and I never heard it on the radio. It is not a mainstream song. It is something that would be played on college radio. I would classify it as alternative or New Wave but it does not sound overly pop-y or synth-y. It was a angsty love song about being used by a lover or getting over a lover. The artist is definitely female but I don't know if the lover she was singing about was a man or woman. I believe there was whispering in the chorus, though I could be wrong.

Unfortunately I do not know any of the lyrics. I am almost positive it mentions wearing each other's clothes. A lover wears clothes that belonged to the other lover. Or sleeping in each other's sheets. It is not "When U Were Mine" by Cyndi Lauper, though it kind of reminds me of this song, only edgier.

It could have been an American artist or an artist from the UK. I live in the US.

It is not by any of the following female artists or groups:

4 Non Blondes
The Motels
The Sundays
Book of Love
Kate Bush
Sophie B. Hawkins
Cyndi Lauper
SugarCubes or Bjork
Josie Cotton
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Cocteau Twins
Til' Tuesday
The Bangles
Let's Active
Annie Lennox or the Eurythmics
Jane Wiedlin
Nina Hagen
Katrina and the Waves
The Go-Gos
The Waitresses
Missing Persons
The Breeders
Cowboy Junkies

I know this is not much to go on. Thanks for any help. If the song doesn't ring a bell, more female alternative artists to look into would be helpful, too.

Thank you.
posted by Fairchild to Media & Arts (42 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
What does the singer's voice sound like?
posted by Lemmy Caution at 5:37 PM on April 19, 2011

A few more questions about the song: you said it's not heavily synth-y, but are there any keyboards in it? How about the guitar -- jangly and melodic, or more rhythmic? Is the singer's voice really strong or sort of wispy/girly? Particularly high or low?

I keep thinking it might be something by X, but the songs that immediately come to mind (e.g., "See How We Are," "Motel Room in My Bed") also feature John Doe's vocals in addition to Exene's.
posted by scody at 5:53 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The voice sounds somewhat smooth and mid-tone, if that makes any sense. It is not a loud, angry song and it is not overly New Wavy or staccato.

She doesn't sound like Lene Lovich . She sounds more like the lead of Book of Love. This is a very rough example.
posted by Fairchild at 5:56 PM on April 19, 2011

Oh, and presumably it's not Sinead O'Connor, right?
posted by scody at 5:58 PM on April 19, 2011

Probably a long shot since it was released in 1992, but could it be Silent All These Years by Tori Amos?

She wears "these jeans of his/yours with her name still on it". And her voice gets a bit whispery in the chorus.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 5:59 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, scody. The voice is feminine but not squeaky or pop-y. It is mid to low in tone. The music if more rhythmic. Thanks for any suggestions. I have been searching for this song for years.
posted by Fairchild at 5:59 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: Not Sinead, but the voice is nice like Sinead's.
posted by Fairchild at 6:00 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: I love Tori Amos but it's not Tori.
posted by Fairchild at 6:01 PM on April 19, 2011

Early Ani DiFranco?
posted by flex at 6:03 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Everything But the Girl?
posted by scody at 6:04 PM on April 19, 2011

Anything by Shakespear's Sister? They had one song that eluded me for years. Siobhan Fahey was in Bananarama earlier, so if the sound is similar....
posted by cobaltnine at 6:10 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: Everything But the Girl is a great band. Their sound is lovely and sophisticated. The song I'm thinking of does not sound this pretty or smooth. I'm not a musical person do it's difficult for me to express. It is definitely "alternative".
posted by Fairchild at 6:13 PM on April 19, 2011

Left field: "When U Were Mine" is actually a Prince song, and his is edgier than the Lauper version (lyrics like "You didn't have the decency to change the sheets" and "I used to let you wear all my clothes," check). (He also has "If I Was Your Girlfriend" with lyrics about clothes/dressing up.) He often sings in a high-for-a-man register.
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:14 PM on April 19, 2011

The Glove, The Passions, Allison Moyet, Concrete Blonde?
posted by Lemmy Caution at 6:18 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks Iris Gambol. I know Prince wrote it. I might be projecting When U Were Mine onto "my" song because it has the same tone as When U Were Mine. The tone of -- we were once lovers but then my heart is broken, or we broke up. It's not If I Was Your Girlfriend.

Thanks to all for your suggestions. I appreciate it. I gave very little to go on so it's tough.
posted by Fairchild at 6:20 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, Lemmy Caution. I'll check those out, though I'm sure it is not Moyet or Concrete Blonde.

Not Shakespear's Sister.

Maybe I'll dream about the actual lyrics. I'll stop replying so much and mark best answer if it comes up. Thanks again for all of the suggestions.
posted by Fairchild at 6:27 PM on April 19, 2011

Tiffany, Should've Been Me? That is possibly a little too non-mainstream though, since I can't even find a youtube link for you.
posted by coffeepot at 6:29 PM on April 19, 2011

Martha and the Muffins? Paint by Number Heart
posted by flex at 6:35 PM on April 19, 2011

Is it anything by The Pretenders? That Cyndi Lauper song reminds me of Back on the Chain Gang, and Chrissie Hynde's voice fits your description. (The words don't match up, and that's a pretty mainstream song, but maybe something else of theirs?)

On preview: Tiffany came to my mind, too. Maybe Promises Made?
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:40 PM on April 19, 2011

The theme calls to mind Toyah Willcox. She was recording at about the right time, too, but this is very very thin....
posted by jet_silver at 6:41 PM on April 19, 2011

Fairchild, do you know this site? You can click on each name and get a sample of their voice and music. Might help rule a bunch more out - and hopefully in. :)
posted by likeso at 6:43 PM on April 19, 2011

Tanita Tikaram
posted by Iris Gambol at 6:43 PM on April 19, 2011

How about Throwing Muses? Or The Cardigans?
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:50 PM on April 19, 2011

More mainstream, but Scandal - Goodbye To You?
The Veronicas did a cover of it in 2007.
posted by flex at 6:56 PM on April 19, 2011

Have you done this google?
posted by cyndigo at 7:00 PM on April 19, 2011

Response by poster: likeso, thank you for this site. I will definitely spend some time here.

cyndigo, I have Googled about this song for years and cannot find anything.

Not DiFranco.

Not Tiffany, Toyah Willcox, Tikaram, or Martha and the Muffins.

I'm 99% sure the song was earlier than Tanita Tikaram.

Paint by Number Heart and Willcox is good stuff. The song I'm thinking of is not uptempo like Paint by Number or pop-like like Toyah.

The Cardigans are too late, I think. Not the Throwing Muses, though thanks for reminding me of them. They are great.

I love Goodbye to You but not this uptempo.

I said I wouldn't comment but I did. You all are awesome. Thanks for taking the time. Maybe I'll dream about some of the actual lyrics tonight.
posted by Fairchild at 7:04 PM on April 19, 2011

I can't find the lyrics or more than a 30 second clip online, but for some reason Romeo Void's "White Sweater" came to mind.

I remember liking the song a lot, but I don't have it and don't remember the lyrics. Probably not what you are thinking about, but maybe worth a shot.
posted by kongg at 7:19 PM on April 19, 2011

Um, never mind. Heard the whole version of "White Sweater". Cool song, but more about a dream and nothing about ex-lovers or the like.

This never happened.
posted by kongg at 7:36 PM on April 19, 2011

Before you said "not uptempo" I came up with Kim Wilde - View from a Bridge?
Maybe too late but definitely lower-key and alternative - Mazzy Star? Halah
Juliana Hatfield? Blake Babies were late '80s.
posted by flex at 8:19 PM on April 19, 2011

Could it be Edie Brickell?
posted by pink candy floss at 8:47 PM on April 19, 2011

Meryn Caudell's The Sweater?
posted by brujita at 10:46 PM on April 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Could be Joni Mitchell-A Case of You from 1971 album Blue.
posted by bjgeiger at 11:30 PM on April 19, 2011

I don't think this is right but Propaganda? Saint Etienne? Danielle Dax? Vicious Pink?
posted by dog food sugar at 5:32 AM on April 20, 2011

Michelle Shocked?
posted by plinth at 5:50 AM on April 20, 2011

Love in Return by House of Schock?
posted by FreezBoy at 6:03 AM on April 20, 2011

Something by The Indigo Girls?
posted by Addlepated at 11:23 AM on April 20, 2011

Jane Siberry, Toni Childs, Maria McKee, Romeo Void?
posted by maloon at 11:32 AM on April 20, 2011

Response by poster: Not Joni Mitchell, Michelle Shocked, or Edie Brickell. I'm a fan of all three and they're not it. I don't think Hatfield is it, either. I could be wrong. Mazzy Star is too late.

I'm at work. As soon as I get home I am going to check the rest out. Thanks so much for all of the replies.
posted by Fairchild at 11:51 AM on April 20, 2011

Maybe Kay Hanley/Letters to Cleo? Probably not early enough though....
posted by blaneyphoto at 12:35 PM on April 20, 2011

The Primitives?
posted by ilona at 12:36 PM on April 20, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you for all of the answers. I still haven't found it but one day I will. Thanks for all of the help.
posted by Fairchild at 6:38 AM on April 21, 2011

My two top guesses...
Hazel O'Connor is sort of like an edgier Cyndi Lauper. Possibly We're All Grown Up. It mentions clothes.

Kirsty MacColl A New England or You Caught Me Out, which sounds a lot like When U Were Mine.

Less likely but worth mentioning...
Altered Images
Tracy Ullman
Laura Branigan -- Self Control (whispered lyrics)
T'Pau (China in Your Hand & T'Pau's Heart and Soul sort of has a whispered refrain)
Voice of the Beehive
Kim Wilde
Beautiful South
Hazell Dean

Good luck!!
posted by MaddyRex at 11:19 PM on April 21, 2011

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