Phil Collins – Sussudio

First Hit #1: July 6, 1985

Phil Collins doesn’t look much like a pop star. A slightly doughy man with a quickly receding hairline, he looks like the dad of a pop star. But he definitely sounds like a pop star, for better or worse in the case of Sussudio. This isn’t a song that was meant to endure, it’s a flash of dance music with silly lyrics but a great beat. It’s whole hog into the current trends – vaguely tribal rhythms, lots of horns, synthesizers everywhere – and it owes a bit of a debt to Prince. More than anything, it sounds like an attempt to write a hit, to capture what the kids were buying and dancing to. It’s transparent in its aims, but it also works anyway. It’s a hit written by people who know what makes a hit, and even if we’re looking at something a bit mercenary it does succeed.

Plus, given that Collins could never pull off a big flashy visual presence like a Prince or even a Cyndi Lauper, it makes it sort of easier to accept this naked attempt at scoring some sales. It doesn’t seem so blatant if he just looks like someone’s dad.

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One Response to Phil Collins – Sussudio

  1. RBerman says:

    The Bryan Adams “Heaven” video is currently linked to this post.

    To be honest, I never understood the appeal of “Sussudio.” I guess it has pretty cool percussion and horns. The melody is OK. The lyrics are quite a jumble. I’d place “Sussudio” in the lower half of the songs on the “No Jacket Required” album, which granted was one of the best pop pieces of the 80s. I would rather that “Why Doesn’t Anybody Stay Together Anymore” had been the big drummy single from that album, given that it makes a whole lot more sense.

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