Too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye

It’s that crazy title that is to blame.

When I sat down to start this post my idea was to write something about the concept of shyness, and for once, I immediately hit on the title.

As per my usual method of titling posts, I start by casting around in the cobwebby recesses of my mind to come up with a song title or lyric that fits the theme. In this particular case, it’s a little bit embarrassing to acknowledge how quickly this lyric came bubbling up to the surface as soon as the word “shy” was dangled temptingly above it.

In this case, however, I couldn’t really just leave a bizarre title like that just hanging there like the elephant in the room, and progress on to writing a post about shyness. I really had to stop and dwell for a moment on that title and what a reader would make of it.

If anyone under 25 was not yet convinced that the 80s was an era of disastrous haircuts and pop music, the title of this post should finally convince them. Of course, that is only if they could actually believe that “Too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye” is a line from a song that reached the top of the UK Singles Chart in 1983, and number 5 on the Billboard Top 100 in the US.  People, what were you thinking???

Shut up and get a haircut!

Kajagoogoo – no, not a keyboard malfunction, it’s the name of the band.

Pic: Cosmic American Blog

(Note that although I was about 13 in 1983, I choose to distance myself from the single-buying public in the UK and the US on this matter. Firstly, I was in Australia, where it only reached number 6 (!) and, secondly as we’ve covered previously, I had a musically-deprived childhood, and by 1983 had only just saved up enough of my pitiful allowance to go halves with my sister in purchasing our very first album (a compilation – on cassette – that did NOT include this song). So I did not contribute to the chart success of this ridiculous song, although just between you and me, I was probably as guilty as anyone else at singing along with gusto when it was a hit.)

While we are dwelling on titles, regular readers (hi mum!)* will know, or have surmised, that a lot of my posts titles are song titles, or song lyrics, but it’s not a golden rule I follow. If I can’t think of something relevant pretty quickly, I don’t search for a title, I just make up my own post title. But I think any reader with even the vaguest knowledge of popular culture (sorry mum!) could reasonably surmise that if someone titles their post, “Too Shy, Shy, Hush, Hush, Eye To Eye,” either they have just eaten a particularly powerful batch of magic mushrooms, or they are quoting a lyric from an 80’s synth-pop hit.

Now we all know that the 80’s was a time for atrocious haircuts, so in some ways it’s not fair to make fun of those yet again, but somehow, just like fart jokes, an 80’s haircut is always worth a laugh. (I was going to write, “a bad 80’s haircut is always worth a laugh” but after spending 0.82 of a second running through a range of 80’s haircuts in my mind, I took out the word “bad” because it was superfluous.)

An Australian version of synth-pop hair - Pseudo Echo

An Australian version of synth-pop hair – Pseudo Echo

Pic: Powerhouse Museum

In the 80’s, advances in technology caused “new” electronic equipment to became more refined and affordable, reaching the mainstream, where it was embraced as the sound of the times. The synthesiser had been around in various forms for decades, and was already being used in popular music by the late 60s. In the 70s it featured in experimental electronic music and new-wave, but in the 80’s it reached the realm of the bad-haircut-wearing mainstream of pop music, and was over-used with enthusiasm, leaving us with collateral damage.

A Moog Modular synthesiser 1960s-1970s

A Moog Modular synthesiser 1960s-1970s

Pic: Wikipedia

It is difficult for anyone who was a teenager in the 80s to separate the synthesiser from bad 80s music, because of the plethora of over-produced, mediocre hits that relied heavily on the synthesiser and do not stand the test of time very well.  One forgets about the cool use of synthesiser in the music of Kratwerk or Gary Numan, and recalls instead songs like “Take On Me” by A-ha, or “Flashdance” by Giorgio Moroder.

But the line above is of course taken from one of the worst examples of 80s synth-pop, Too Shy, by a band of bad haircuts known as Kajagoogoo. The effort they put into naming their band must have been about equivalent to the effort they put into devising the lyrics to this song. According to the lyrics discovered on MetroLyrics.com, they only bothered to think up 2 other lines, then, by stringing everything together with “ooh, try a little harder,” the disparate, meaningless parts became a disjointed, meaningless whole:

Hush, hush, shy, shy, eye to eye
Hush, hush, shy, shy, hush, hush

Modern medicine fall short of your complaints
Ooh, try a little harder
You’re moving in circles, won’t you dilate
Ooh, baby try

Hey girl, move a little closer

‘Cause, you’re too
Shy, shy, hush, hush
Shy, shy, hush, hush
Shy, shy, hush, hush

Shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye
Too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye
Too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye
Too shy, shy, hush, hush

Too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye
Too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye
Too shy, shy, hush, hush, eye to eye
Too shy, shy, hush, hush

 

There you go. Modern day poetry. It is tempting to wonder how the writing process went down. Did they write the music first, then have a game of scrabble, and use the last few tiles that were left when everyone gave up, to make some one-syllable words they could fit to the music? Even with a whole team of monkeys and a typewriter, I doubt that I could come up with anything to beat those lyrics.

So on this occasion, starting with the title was a blessing or a curse, depending how you see it. It has caused my post to be waylaid and sidetracked. I was going to write a post about shyness, but that topic will have to wait for another day. Instead I’ve written a post about the ridiculous lyric that I chose for the title, 80s synth-pop, the synthesiser, and bad haircuts – basically the legacy left to us by bands like Kajagoogoo. Boohoo.

 *

*the link, above, to Cosmic American Blog is a funny post about the same song. I’d written my post before I came across this while looking for pictures and had a bit of a giggle.

* the line “won’t you dilate?” sounds like something one might hear in the labour ward, which leads me to surmise that the writer of this song was inhaling a bit too much gas at the time of the birth.

*As always, I should mention that my mum is one of my loyal band of imaginary readers, as she does not even have a computer and wouldn’t have the foggiest idea what to do with one if she did.

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6 Comments

  1. Ha, the moment I read the title the word “Kajagoogoo” came into my head, along with some images of dodgy haircuts.
    Weirdly, during the 80s I thought the haircuts were completely normal. Even cool 🙂

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    • I find it hard to remember what I thought of those particular haircuts but certainly less OTT versions were considered acceptable – for example Michael Hutchence (lead singer of INXS) had the same long-at-the-front-and -back, short-at-the-sides (aka mullet) at that time, & on him I thought it was just ultra cool. But his was a little more subdued, with possibly less than the usual kilogram of hair gel/hairspray involved!

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    • I’m still not quite sure if we should refer to Kajagoogoo as a “word”, but you can try keeping it in mind next time you are stuck with a “K” and a “J” in scrabble, and see what your opponents make of it!

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  2. Well the good news is that if you ever want to quit your day job, no doubt you would totally rock as a song writer. With or without the gas or mushrooms. Honestly, how can you get to the top of the charts with lyrics like that? They must have had better than average hairdos.

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    • They had a synthesiser. In 1983 I could probably have had a hit in the charts with the 7 times tables for my lyrics, if I’d had a synthesiser.

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  3. Oh my, I must have erased these guys from my mind as I don’t remember this on Countdown! Thankfully, otherwise I might have nightmares of those lyrics.

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