Soft Cell's larger FM radio hit notwithstanding, "Memorabilia" is in my estimation the high-water point for 80's synthpop.
Or at least, it's the point where the genre's aims best mesh with my own tastes, which admittedly run towards the somewhat dark.
And "Memorabilia" is no doubt that. Beyond its proto-electronica digital clicks, and beeps, and whirrs, the song gives us an evocative and disturbing first-person view of a collector-by-disposition who veers wildly into dysfunction when the physical relationship he'd longed for fails to materialize.
Interesting, how our narrator (and Soft Cell themselves) manage to imbue the most trivial of objects with an air of gravity that they don't in fact possess, how keychains and ashtrays and other trinkets of mass production transform through tenuous association into emotional markers, the real enough hoarded residue of a fantasy liaison.
His delusion yearns for reinforcement, whether it be through furtively snapped photographs, through cheap melmac souvenirs, or through malleable memory that must be altered on its demanding behalf.
If you polish your delusion strongly enough, I have never had you will gradually become molded into . . . I've been there
Places are collected in this way too, towns that he's passed through and their pretty postcards for sale, the snowstorms trudged through in winter recursively mimicked in Taiwanese plastic, resorts visited clandestinely on the Costa del Sol, and the girl with him there in her mantilla, or, really, markers for the monothematically deluded tourist placed anywhere else the fetishistic meets the obsessive-compulsive.
Soft Cell - Non Stop Erotic Cabaret - Memorabilia.mp3
160 kbps mp3, up for six weeks (Right click and save as target)
File under: Synthpop