In the 80s, Culture Club was one of the biggest bands in the world. And Boy George was one of the most talented and divisive artists of the day.
His soulful voice both clashed and blended with his androgynous appearance. Girls loved him, most boys were confused by him, but couldn’t deny the power of George’s and Culture Club’s music. For the queer kids, George was a light in the darkness. In a post-punk world of Reaganomic sterility and action hero machismo, few freak flags were flying. But hits like Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? (the first reggae song many kids ever heard), Karma Chameleon, I’ll Tumble 4 Ya and Time were omnipresent from 1983 to 1986. The band had numerous issues, from the breakup of George and drummer, Jon Moss, to Boy George’s subsequent heroin addiction. Their end was sad, but Boy George persevered to restart his music career. The band as a whole stopped and started attempts to reunite, including a very short-lived Georgeless version. With a reformation in 2014 and a handful of shows, Culture Club recorded but shelved their album, Tribes in 2016. A reworked version was released last October and retitled Life.
This week, the video for the first single from the new album dropped. It’s lovely and stark, with just Boy George singing to the camera. Of this song, George says this:
“John Lennon said ‘LIFE’ is what happens while you are busy doing other things, but sometimes you have to stop and look with sadness and pride at what you have done and created in your own life and value the rich complexity of it! As the lyricist of ‘Life’ I wanted to express something truthful, honest and bare while carrying an uplifting message of hope. It’s my story but it’s a story so many people will resonate with. A story of recovery, transformation and the start of a brand new journey which has already brought Culture Club well deserved accolades. It’s a song about second chances and new beginnings, enlightenment, spiritual growth and personal redemption.”