Party Fears Two

Album: Sulk (1982)
Charted: 9
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Songfacts®:

  • This song deals with alcoholism as well as the frustration of the unique few against the masses. The Associates singer, Billy Mackenzie, claimed it was inspired by two girls trying to crash a party his younger brother was attending by smashing in the windows with their stilettos.

    Keyboardist/guitarist Alan Rankine, the song's co-writer, defines a deeper meaning. "I think it's more nebulous than a specific event," he told Uncut magazine. "It might have been based on that, but Bill and I were always just outsiders. We never fitted. We felt like impostors. We felt like we'd got in with forged papers. Even when we did get into parties, we were bored s--tless, but we had to prove to ourselves that we could get inside. For me it's about feeling alienated, like you don't belong and feeling also that other people seem to be doing it with ease."
  • The bulk of the song was written in 1977, but The Associates didn't think the world was ready to hear the art pop tune in an era where punk and new wave ruled. Alan Rankine recalled to Uncut in 2016: "We knew we couldn't use it in '77. Nor '78. Not '79. It would have been a waste. We had to wait until the time was right. Even when it came out it didn't sound like anything! All of it is just slightly askew. It's slightly unsettling, but somehow it draws you in."
  • I'll have a shower
    And then phone my brother up
    Within the hour
    I'll smash another cup


    The song ends with the sound of Mackenzie, frustrated at his incompatibility with the world, smashing three cups and spitting out his chewing gum. "The cup smashing reference was a recording experiment in which, for reasons now forgotten, we all broke tea mugs while recording in an attempt to capture and treat the sound of impact on the studio floor," bassist Michael Dempsey told Uncut."
  • Heaven 17 covered the song on their 2008 album Naked as Advertised.
  • The satirical BBC Radio 4 current affairs sketch show Weekending had several theme tunes. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was a loop of the instrumental section of "Party Fears Two."

Comments: 3

  • Rod from Gainesville, FlTHis song seems realy familiar Was it used as a theme song in some show?
  • Kenny from Clydebank, ScotlandDefinitely one of the best scottish pop songs of all time, Lulu's To Sir With Love, Gallagher and Lyle's, Breakaway, being other strong contenders.
    What a great performance on TOTP's. Pity Billy didn't live longer to give us a few classics.
    Did Scotland proud so he did.
  • Jeff from Liverpool, Englandthis song was voted #1 song by a scottish group in a radio poll in early 2007 also billy mackenzie was the alledged subject of the smiths song william it was really nothing in 1984 also billy mackenzie died on 22 jan 1997 two months shy of his 40th birthday
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