Mondeo Pop Month: Robert Palmer – She Makes My Day
Released: October 1988
UK chart position: #6
From the album: Heavy Nova
No idea what’s going on at the start of that video, it’s like something REM would have done in 1993. The black and white/aimless video is as well. “The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight” is the closest REM ever got to Mondeo Pop, but they were, during their career, either too college rock or too stadium rock to ever really classify as Mondeo. The Connells and Faith No More both managed to temper their impulses, REM not so much.
Robert Palmer. If you were going to write a list of people whose premature deaths didn’t really deprive the world of anything, you’d maybe have Robert Palmer listed at around #6, between Linda Smith and Les Sealey. I mean, I’m vaguely aware he had some sort of Mick Hucknall-esque roll in his latter years as “Blue-eyed soul bro who puts a lot of money into rereleasing old reggae joints”, but how is that gonna put food on my kid’s table?
Do you really know anything about Robert Palmer? As a person, as a man, as a cultural figure? Or do you just think of him as the guy who danced liked shit in front of faceless 80s model types pretending to play guitar? And aren’t we lucky that “Addicted to Love” wasn’t released in the era of 24-hour feminist blog opinions4u moments?
Look, we’ve kinda hinted that Mondeo Pop is the UK Yacht Rock before. That’s not true, really. They share similarities, and it may be about time Mondeo Pop spawned its own Balearic style modern day reappopriation genre (or even its own “Regulate”, tbh), but Mondeo Pop was never really that. It’s the UK blue-eyed soul. In Palmer you have a man who spent a career out of putting twinkle-eyed takes on reggae, soul, and blues music. And although there really isn’t time for colonialism in drive-time slots, you’re got to understand on some level that whereas most of the acts made indie and alternative… if not “safe” then at least “defanged”, Palmer did the same thing for post-Nile Edwards funk and soul. And now he’s dead.