- ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK Secret (Virgin)
- Week Ending 27th July 1985
- 2 Weeks At #1
Live Aid may have happened, rocking the Global Jukebox upon its axis and hurrying a generation of Smash Hits pop stars to their dumper-bound fate, but I was having none of it. The second single from my album of the moment, Crush by OMD, was out and I’d been waiting to install it as a #1 ever since its release was announced.
Secret was billed as a Souvenir Part 2, somewhat unimaginatively, due to Paul Humphreys taking on winsome vocal duties as he did on the aforementioned classic in 1981. That’s pretty much where the similarities end, though, as Secret is a much chirpier beast. Some might call it drippy, I prefer to call it breezy.
There are slight throwbacks to earlier OMD in the song’s structure, and use of a melodic and rhythmic motif as the hook, rather than a traditional kind of chorus which the duo had seemingly moved on to with the Junk Culture singles and Crush‘s introductory 45, So In Love. Humphreys’ then-wife Maureen also adds some pleasing backing vocals, creating what looked to be certain chart gold.
Radio was onto it almost as soon as the album itself was launched, yet for some reason Secret spent almost two months hovering in and around the low-30s and mid-40s of the UK Top 75. In that time, it rebounded at least once, so it gained some small level of traction with the public, but a #34 peak for their finest single in years was a surprise.
Having failed with the most obvious potential hit from Crush, they next opted for probably the least obvious, La Femme Accident‘s minimalist noodlings. Despite lyrical references to Joan Of Arc, and heavy promotion by the record label, it couldn’t even crack the Top 40 (the hideous extended mix, as unsuitable and unnecessary a re-working as you could imagine, was tacked onto the end of the CD edition of their 1988 Best Of compilation, as if to spite the listener).
La Femme Accident would also end up as the US flip-side to their next project, a song for John Hughes’ new Brat Pack movie Pretty In Pink. America was well and truly calling them….