Quintessential Album Series :: Into the Gap :: Thompson Twins
A Little History:
Into the Gap is the fourth album by the British pop group Thompson Twins. It was released on February 17, 1984 and reached # 1 on the UK Albums Chart, and # 10 on the U.S. Billboard 200.
After the commercial success of Quick Step and Side Kick, the band worked once again with producer Alex Sadkin at Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas on Into the Gap.
The first single to be released was Hold Me Now, which charted at # 4 in the UK in November 1983. The song features a few instruments not normally heard in a Top 40 hit – namely, a xylophone, a piano and Latin percussion.
Four other tracks were released from the album in various countries around the world: Doctor! Doctor! (UK # 3, US # 11), You Take Me Up (UK # 2, US # 44), Sister of Mercy (UK # 11), and The Gap (US # 69).
The first four of these singles all had music videos that were shot to promote them, and the Thompson Twins were a prominent fixture on MTV and other music video outlets of the era. Doctor! Doctor!, You Take Me Up and Sister of Mercy were directed by Dieter ‘Dee’ Trattmann.
Into the Gap is the band’s biggest-selling album, being certified double platinum in the UK and platinum in the US.
In the Thompson Twins, there is no band member with the name Thompson (surname, or otherwise) and there are no twins either. The band was named after detectives Thomson and Thompson in Hergé’s comic strip The Adventures of Tintin.
Band mates Tom Bailey and Alannah Currie fell in love during the tour for the record, got married, and ended up having two kids. Bailey and Currie divorced after the band split.
In 2010, Tom Bailey and astronomer and visual artist José Francisco Salgado formed an audiovisual ensemble called Bailey-Salgado Project (BSP). BSP combines music with photography, video, and motion graphics to create multimedia works that have as subject the physical world. Their first work together, a short film entitled Sidereal Motion, was previewed in Bath, England in October 2010.
After the band’s break-up, Alannah Currie returned to New Zealand to work primarily as a glass artist and environmental activist. She was founder of the women’s anti-genetic engineering movement Mothers Against Genetic Engineering in Food and the Environment (MAdGE). In 2004 she designed a series of protest billboards that caused controversy in New Zealand but won several international art / science awards. She currently lives and works in London with her daughter Indigo and current husband Jimmy Cauty, who co-founded The Orb and KLF. Currie continues to make sculptural art-furniture.
As of 2006, Leeway resides in Los Angeles, California, and works in the field of hypnotherapy. He is on the staff at the Hypnosis Motivation Institute (HMI) in Tarzana, California, and is also a certified trainer in neuro-linguistic programming.
What Makes This “Quintessential” to me?
Thompson Twins were a very underrated band to me in the 80’s, a band whose albums I owned and whose songs I loved, but also a band who I never saw live, never talked much about, and honestly never appreciated.
The years went by and the music stuck around, not always played or remembered, but suddenly a song from this album would come on and I’d immediately turn it up and sing-a-long. I found myself missing the music from the album, and from the band, and seeking it out, first via digital downloads, and then in replacing my vinyl albums.
The music had/has pop-sensibilities, for certain, but they were more than just pop, they teetered the line of new wave, alternative (before that was a thing) and pop; catchy, dancable songs with unexpected blending of instruments, and intelligent lyrics that evoke feeling, and consideration.
Into the Gap, as well as the following album Here’s to Future Days, are now on my list of favorite eighties albums, and I think I finally appreciate them – better late than never. Into the Gap is definitely quintessential to me.
My Top 5 Favorite Songs:
1. Hold Me Now
“You ask if I love you,
well what can I say?
You know that I do and that this is just one of those games that we play.”
Sometimes I say I love you just to hear it back, I don’t know why I do it, or what compels me to, except that there is this emptiness inside of me that never seems to fill, and in that, a part of me that never believes in being loved. It isn’t a game, though in some ways it may feel like them, no, instead I think it is a broken part of who I am. I always look so much happier in photographs.
2. You Take Me Up
“Should I ask you to dance?
Dance boy, dance boy
If I promise romance would you come for the ride?”
It used to be within the circle and spin of dancing that I could completely let go. There was a boy who would dance with me, grabbing my hands and taking me up and up into the music. He would lose himself, too, both of us dizzy and smiling, falling harder when we were moving in silence, nothing but music to take us along.
3. Doctor! Doctor!
“I saw you there,
just standing there
and I thought I was only dreaming.”
The lights and noise were overwhelming, the chatter and clang of machines and music and people gambling their luck away. I had that anxious feeling coursing through me, tightening my chest, turning my stomach into a knot on fire, my instinct the only thing fighting the urge to run. I don’t know why I stayed, why I felt I should, until I saw you, your clear blue eyes full of wishes I hadn’t thought to make.
4. Who Can Stop the Rain?
“If it lasts forever,
forever wouldn’t be much fun.”
Forever is a trick we play with the child who still lives inside of us. It is the magic of fairy tales and make believe, the comfort of stability and predictability, the naive promise that our hearts will never break. If it lasted forever though, we would never have another forever to pretend to believe in.
5. The Gap
“Two different rhythms on the map.”
The ball twirled around and around, casting shadows and snowflake lights around, dancing with the neon shooting colors from each corner, the dance floor a calliope of twinkling movement. We danced without caring what day it was, what time, our veins full of pretty poisons, and our head’s dizzy with a dollar a bottle wine. The night was endless then, and we fell happily into its rhythms.