Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four)


1984: Virgin CDF 22

  1. Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty-Four) Extended Mix
  2. Julia Extended Mix
  3. I Did It Just The Same

The remix of “Sexcrime” is about 8 minutes long and is fairly fun, although a little repetitious…handy for theatre work calls and such. The “extended mix” of “Julia” is actually just the album version, referred to as “extended” here because its single version (on vinyl only) was a shortened radio edit that faded out starting with the warping wash of sound. As for “I Did It Just The Same,” I’ve never understood what happened with that track as released on this single in all its forms: it’s missing one measure from just before the end of the song. Why? That’s a question for Dave Stewart, I guess. Weird.

“Sexcrime” is an oddity in some ways: it’s a radio-geared track that got more or less banned from radio play because its title and quasi-chorus/bridge of the same was taken at face value without recognition of its Orwellian basis, but before that circumstance there’s the fact that it’s a radio-geared track based on a non-radio-friendly soundtrack score’s motifs, with George Orwell’s book 1984 at the root. Its flashy bits of technologically pumped rock distract the listener from noticing that it is lyrically and even musically disjointed. Consider the lyrics, for example:

Can I take this for granted
With your eyes over me
In this place, this wintry home
I know there’s always someone in

And so I face the wall
Turn my back against it all
How I wish I’d been unborn
Wish I were unliving in

Oh, I’ll pull the bricks down
One by one

Leave a big hole in the wall
Just where you are looking in

At best that’s clunky and patchy, with enigmatic overtones—but you really don’t care or even notice that when you’re enjoying its machine-like hammering pace and harmonies, it’s just fun and that’s enough. Plus which the climactic build to the GIMMEGIMMEGIMMEGIMME vocal bit pretty much erases your memory of fussy detail-tracking of the song up to that point (and I can only surmise that Lennox’s scat there is actually a deconstruction of the phrase “get back,” upon consideration of the song’s lyrical content and background).

But this is, again, only a by-product of another work. As ever I can only wonder about what the actual Eurythmics score for the film 1984 is like, and how the Sexcrime themes manifest themselves (although as I noted in my brief overview of the 1984—For the Love of Big Brother album that, structurally, “Room 101” is just “Sexcrime” in a minor key, with no lyrics and a different rhythm track, and the Room 101 themes did appear in the mixed-composer cut of the film, but sadly not in the Dominic-Muldowney-only version that’s come out on DVD). Which brings up the question of the chorus’s lyrics, if indeed they can be referred to as such: I saw (and probably still have somewhere) a UK-song-hits magazine’s contemporary page on “Sexcrime” in which the chorus is written out as something like “doop be doop be diddle oodle doop boop” (repeated as necessary), which may really be what’s sung as reported to them by DNA’s people, I can only guess. Certainly it’s not meant to be actual words, which has to make this track even more of an oddity—a rock radio single with a nonsense chorus. Even The Police’s “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” had real words in its chorus.