I've Had "Addicted to Love" Stuck In My Head For Three Straight Weeks

It usually begins a few minutes after I wake up. I'll be on the computer, checking to see if there was any late-night NBA news I may have missed. And all of a sudden it starts. "Your lights are on ... but you're not home."

And once it starts, it doesn't go away. Sure, if I'm actively listening to something else it won't be in my brain. But once the music stops, the internal Robert Palmer starts. First it was funny. Then it was annoying. Then it was torturous. Then it was funny again. Then it was just depressing. But in the past week I've given in. Not only have I given in, but I've become convinced that "Addicted to Love" is a pop masterpiece, one of the greatest songs of the '80s. Some variation of Stockholm Syndrome? Perhaps. But I think not.

This blog is to blame - or thank, I suppose - for this whole ordeal. My social experiment of listening to the Globe isn't limited to just the mornings, and a few weeks ago I heard "Addicted to Love" while doing some errands. My initial reaction was to laugh, mainly because I was reminded of the song's ridiculous video. It was the first Palmer video to feature those identical, mini-skirted women with pale skin and bright red lipstick. When you think of '80s excess, that whole "American Psycho" thing, those women and this song might be the first things to come to mind.

But if you can get past that you'll find a really fantastic song. No, really, I swear. I'm a sucker for a simply constructed song - find something that works and repeat it a whole bunch of times - and that's basically what we have here. The verse and chorus are pretty much the same, with that three-note synth line showing up on occasion to spice things up. I generally hate that big synth sound and this sort of slick production, but that's because it was so often applied to bands for which it was a terrible fit. (Hello, the Replacements!) With Robert Palmer, I'm not going to complain. And he deserves plenty of credit for an inspired vocal take, although a little Wikipeding told me that Chaka Khan actually came up with the vocal arrangement but wasn't able to collaborate with Palmer due to record label disagreements.

After a while I realized "Addicted to Love" reminded me of two of my favorite one-hit-wonder songs from nearly 25 years ago: Gary Numan's "Cars," which I've already professed my love for, and Translator's "Everywhere That I'm Not." It's more of a structure thing than an aesthetic thing, but if you listen to all three of those back-to-back-to-back (Best. Mini-Playlist. Ever.) you'll see what I'm getting at. Just know that if you listen to "Addicted to Love," it might be a part of your life for a long while. The lyrics right before the chorus really hit home:

"You like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah / I'ts closer to the truth to say you can't get enough"

By David Malitz |  January 9, 2008; 3:15 PM ET Fanaticism
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I prefer Weird Al's take, Addicted to Spuds. I usually insert those lyrics in my head when I hear the original.

Posted by: EricS | January 9, 2008 3:44 PM

Ah, Translator. There is a lot to like about that song, and honestly, how can you not love a song that includes the classic line "You're in Nova Scotia, but I'm not"?

Perfect mini-playlist FTW.

Posted by: Larry | January 9, 2008 3:49 PM

It also kinda reminds me of "State of Shock" by Mick Jagger & the Jacksons.

Posted by: Ronnie | January 9, 2008 4:02 PM

Hate Tina Turner's cover of it. Sounds like her vocal cords are fraying, and at least on the live version that she has on her greatest hits CD, she repeatedly duffs a lyric heading into the chorus.

But the song is a perfectly tuned '80s pop fixture.

Posted by: 23112 | January 9, 2008 5:11 PM

Try Ciccone Youth's version of Addicted to Love off of the Whitey Album. You'll forget Robert Palmer existed

Posted by: Yes, I Am Better than You | January 11, 2008 11:53 AM

Eh, Kim's moaning doesn't quite do it for me. I prefer Thurston's moaning on "Into the Groove(y)."

Posted by: David | January 11, 2008 12:18 PM

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