100 Greatest Songs of the 1980’s #88 The Beat – Mirror In The Bathroom

Released : 1980

From Handsworth in Birmingham, The Beat seemed to embody the Two-tone movement’s spirit of racial harmony and inclusiveness; fifty-plus year old Saxa had been discovered playing in a local pub, whilst in singer Dave Wakeling and Mcee/Toaster Ranking Roger they were fronted by a duo who contrasted as well as they gelled.

The band’s debut album Just Can’t Stop This revealed a darker edge to Wakeling’s lyrics, a roundhouse of ideas contrasting with the hedonistic image of a sound seen as an amphetamine-soaked cousin of punk. This introspection led to Click Click – in which the subject toys with suicide – and Hands Off She’s Mine, a sobering tale about posessiveness in relationships gone wrong.

Mirror In The Bathroom took all these repressed feelings and rolled them up into a personality who both loved and hated themselves, doppelangers trapped in the same body. Where the mod revival’s early horizons had offered just good times and youthful companionship, this was cold, self flagellating, the all-pervasive sax rank with tension and paranoia. Set against a backdrop of rising national tensons, it was the sound of a decade about to shatter.