The King and Queen of America


1989: RCA DACD23

  1. The King and Queen of America
  2. There Must Be an Angel (Playing with My Heart) Live
  3. I Love You like a Ball and Chain Live
  4. See No Evil

“See No Evil” is one of my favorite Eurythmics B-sides, possibly even more cherished than “Baby’s Gone Blue” or “Grown Up Girls” and maybe even surpassing the acoustic versions of &147;Don&146;t Ask Me Why” and “When the Day Goes Down” on the DACD 20 release of this same vintage, because of the purity and clarity of its cold attitude interwoven with brooding doubt (or maybe just dangerously unresolved ambiguity still toying with a yet-unused weapon). The surging/receding tonal keyboard chords and their emotional connotations, the semi-distinct overlapping rhythmic keyboard bursts, the detachedly arpeggiated odd piano chords—all that complicates an otherwise machine-like structure…in some ways it’s a reprise of “Paint a Rumour,” from Touch, I suppose, but with a mood that’s a touch darker and a sense of calm threat as opposed to “Paint a Rumour’s” risky fun. It has a certain Tarantino ominousness, unhurried and impeccably armed, that reminds me somewhat of the film “To Live and Die in L.A.” In that sense, it’s redolent with a hybrid Paris/LA vibe, obviously on the cool side of the equation. Plus which both Stewart and Lennox are delivering overlapping multitracked vocals that seem almost monotone at face value but vary with slippery nuance in a looser way than, say, the similarly deceptive tricky notes of their not-so-simple “Sweet Dreams” riff does.

If you wanna get up…you better cool down.
If you wanna get up…you better cool down.
If you wanna get up…you better cool down.
If you wanna get up…you better cool down.

As for the other tracks on this single (oh yeah, it’s actually a “King & Queen” single…I tend to forget that), they’re O.K. but fade by comparison to “See No Evil’s” solid dark presence. I would probably be more charitable about “Ball and Chain” here but for some insane reason the track fades out just at the climax of the song.

And of course I must mention the single’s great montage of the twelve couples Dave & Annie portrayed in the “King & Queen” video. The full glory of this can only be appreciated by having the 12" single, and I have both of the versions released (DAT 23 and DAT 24) as well as the poster that was included with the latter. I understand by the way that the “Ultimate Collection” compliation scheduled for release in November 2004 will include almost every B-side from the singles, but if the pre-release reports are correct this might not include the hilarious “dub” mix of “King & Queen” which, being mostly a mix of an odd snippet of the main “King & Queen” mix, contains almost no part of the original song but still bops along like a silly hip-hop/techno production. And that’s a pity, because I’ve loved that goofy track ever since the first time I heard it (Paris, 1989).

The same CD single was also released as DACD 24, in a latched & numbered wooden box (shown below—mine’s #008050, by the way), but the CD inside was just DACD 23 with the tracklist above; this was a disappointment for me, as I truly was hoping it would have DAT 24’s tracklist (including that silly remix). Anyway, it’s a cute packaging gimmick.