My Top 1000 Songs #686: Ambitious

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.] 

Not many bands pull of a successful revival after disbanding. (But see, e.g., Dream Syndicate.) Yet Wire have seem multiple phoenix-like risings. Had they permanently disappeared after that initial 1977-1979 three-album run (four if you count singer Colin Newman's 1980 solo debut, which I think you should!), they'd still be one of the most important bands in music history. 

So 1987's The Ideal Copy was a welcome return for the band--and a surprisingly solid entry in their discography. Their first-wave punk roots were swapped out for electronica, a synth-driven sound that still harnessed their weird amalgam of pop, rock, and experimental industrial-tinged music. And while there were songs I liked more on the record (I love the frenetic, skewed pop of "Cheeking Tongues"), "Ambitious" (from which the LP title was derived) best captures the revived band's energy and creativity. There's a raw, funky, electronic groove, a little spooky and dark yet undeniably fun and magnetic. If their original run made them sound a little too cool for punk rock, this one made them feel a little too cool for dance music. Bonus points: The sly reference to "12XU" in the song's closing seconds was the ultimate fan-service Easter egg.

However great it was, I assumed they'd get a little more new music out of their system and disappear again... yet they've continued to release new records, on an off, ever since--some of it really, really great, though that sense of (re)discovery found on "Ambitious" (and The Ideal Copy) could be tough to replicate.

The alternative version is slowed down and musically enhanced, less reliant on the electronic beat and more on the band's quirky indie pop charm: