Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret: #525 of best 1,000 albums ever!

Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

So why is Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

During the research process for the best 1,000 albums project, I jotted down the following about Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret:

“Tainted Love” is all time classic, but I had no idea how aggressively and weirdly synth-y this album is. It’s surprisingly effective, fun, and all kinds of oddball/synth/funky.

And you know what? I think that description holds rather well.

But let’s get back to that love which is so very, very tainted. There’s a reason why people to this day scream with delight when “Tainted Love” pops on. Its synthesizer, drum machines, and sound effects mapped against a simply but endlessly catchy hook and wonderful and deeply British vocals from Dave Bell and Marc Almond would help to define what would become known broadly as 1980s pop music.

If you’re a purist, the version in the above music video (which… talk about Super Sounds of the ‘80s style, eh?) is a remastered version, so here’s a sample of the original, which you can hear in full over on Spotify.

I have many memories of being over at friends’ houses as a kid in the 1980s and fiddling around with whatever electronic keyboard setup that they happened to have (it seemed like everyone had one in those days?). And what I’d inevitably get up to was messing around with the keyboard’s “arpeggio” mode, which allowed you to automatically play arpeggios based on your inputs.

I mention all of this because of the fun, bouncy, wild, and heavily dependent on arpeggio mode “Chips On My Shoulder.” Dig it.

“Sex Dwarf” must be mentioned if only because it’s the greatest song title of all time that was not included in the Spinal Tap movie. But seriously, this one amps up the dark and mysterious vibes a little bit while still throwing the hammer down on the synth on synth vibes.

Pop culture stuff that has something to do with Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

Caveat up front that the following video is slightly R rated, slightly NSFW (not safe for work), but really only if you’re squeamish about the word d—khead (which I’m obfuscating in text form here only out of abject fear of offending the Lords of SEO, so color me squeamish in that sense).

Anyway, what I mean to say is that this is as good a time as any to share one of my favorite original comedy songs of all time, which my man Dave shared with me back in the day. It’s catchy as all get out while savagely satirizing a very particular and specific brand of new school hipster.

But, above all, honestly it’s just really fun to sing along with lines such as, “WE ALL PLAY SYNTH!

I do hope you enjoy.

Some stats & info about Soft Cell – Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? British Bands, Dance Music, New Wave, Synth Pop, Pop Music
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret released? 1981
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #525 out of 1,000

Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Sometimes I feel I’ve got to run away. I’ve got to get away from the pain you drive into the heart of me.

What’s the most interesting thing about Soft Cell’s Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret that most people don’t know?

“Tainted Love,” which is a cover of the Gloria Jones original, was almost left off of Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. It was only included at the last minute after Soft Cell’s label convinced the band that it had potential as a single.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.