Yes. “Bittersweet.” One of the greatest songs of the 1980s, full stop. Why in the holy hell isn’t it recognized around the world as such?
Right. Why do I keep asking that question when I lived through the answer?
But, gentle readers, it’s sometimes rough taking this journey through the past and digging into a song like “Bittersweet” and knowing that every single person ever hasn’t heard it and can’t celebrate it with me. I mean, talk about bittersweet.
From its slow opening build to its all-hands-on-deck fadeout, “Bittersweet” is everything I could want from a pop song: smart, catchy and ever-changing while hewing to a steady central riff.
A musical descendent from the always-fruitful “Sweet Jane” tree, “Bittersweet” establishes its basic riff early on as Dave Faulkner sings about a relationship gone sour and at exactly the right moment, his bandmates lend him support:
I couldn’t be that strong
That used to be my favorite song
Tears so bittersweet
Fill my eyes whenever we meet
It’s always bittersweet
With new drummer Mark Kingsmill lagging behind the beat while the rest of the band modulates every few bars, “Bittersweet” maintains a sense of continuous forward motion and ever-increasing excitement without ever breaking a sweat.
All the better for Brad Shepherd to lay on a melodic solo after the second chorus and later, zoom in with a stinging, chordal solo at the end of the song. By that time, “Bittersweet” has already stuck itself deep into both your heart and your head.
Simple, beautiful, and seemingly effortless.
I say “seemingly,” because we tried covering this once in Sedan Delivery, but I could never quite wrap my head around where the drums fit in with the guitars.
Official video for “Bittersweet”
“Bittersweet” performed live in 2012
Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.
Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)
Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page