Music / Soft Cell

"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."
— "Tainted Love"

Consisting of Marc Almond (vocals) and Dave Ball (keyboards), Soft Cell were an English synthpop duo who rose to prominence in 1981 with their cover of Gloria Jones' song "Tainted Love". While their first album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret was a success (ranked at #5 on the UK charts), the duo only lasted three more years, releasing three more albums in that time. However, the breakup was amiable, and the duo reformed in 2001, went on tour together and released one more album in 2002. Since then, they have released several compilation albums (mostly consisting of previously-unreleased songs) and a remix album.

  • Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret (1981)
  • The Art Of Falling Apart (1983)
  • This Last Night In Sodom (1984)
  • Cruelty Without Beauty (2002)

Non-Stop Erotic Tropes:

  • Abusive Parents: "Where The Heart Is".
  • Berserk Button: If you ever meet Marc Almond, do NOT imitate the opening synth riff from "Tainted Love".
  • Blackmail: "Secret Life".
  • Club Kid: "Bedsitter".
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: "Tainted Love" swaps the gender from Gloria Jones' original: "I gave you all a boy could give you..."
  • Cover Version: "Tainted Love", of course, but they also covered "Where Did Our Love Go" by The Supremes, "The Night" by The Four Seasons and "What?" by Judy Street.
  • Intercourse with You: "Sex Dwarf" in spades, along with a whole bunch of other very NSFW activities.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: And how. "Secret Life", "Where The Heart Is", "Numbers", "Down In The Subway" "What?" "Say Hello, Wave Goodbye", the list goes on.
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Oooh boy. They loved their "substances" - if it was out there, they'd try it. The stomach-pumping story may be an urban myth, but it's not particularly outlandish considering what they did get up to. For a blow-by-blow account, check out Almond's autobiography Tainted Life, which at times reads like a catalogue of which songs were produced under the influence of which drugs.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Gender-flipped in "Say Hello Wave Goodbye": After the end of a stormy affair, Almond expresses his desire for
    A nice little house wife
    Who'll give me a steady life
    And won't keep going off the rails
  • Synthpop