This song is about an enticing girl who floats like a swan and has kisses that are sweet like sugar. But she's an elusive bird:
Just when you think you've caught her She glides across the water
In America, this is most enduring Echo & the Bunnymen song, making its way onto many classic alternative playlists. It marked the apex of their American popularity; the year the song was released, they co-headlined a successful arena tour with New Order.
"It just started started building," guitarist Will Sergeant told Songfacts. "It was building naturally, and then we ended up doing the Greek Theater in Hollywood and the sheds and places like that. All of the sudden the crowd started changing - they'd become, like really young kids. You're thinking, Why? It was just weird. I'd be walking around with Les [Pattinson, bass] and Pete [de Freitas, drums] in the crowd and no one knew who were were. It all changed. It was just odd. Right around 'Lips Like Sugar,' it really changed."
"Lips Like Sugar" is one of many UK hits for the band, and one lead singer Ian McCulloch would rather skip. "It was an OK song, I suppose, but it didn't sound like us," he told Q magazine in 1992. "We just got sucked into a new mentality on that last album, the sound of Radio America."
He was more generous in 2005 when he spoke with Record Collector: "It may have a few synthetic twinkles on it, but the song itself was strong enough to shine through."