“I Melt with You” by Modern English
Caught amid the Cold War, lads of Modern English were afraid the chances of a nuclear war were increasing as events started getting hotter. This then became their inspiration for this dark love song. Actually Modern English’s Robbie Grey himself has categorically stated that “I Melt with You” is about lovers being sexually intimate during a nuclear war.
The Lyrics of “I Melt with You”
Imagine the world about to crash down on you with the blaring sounds of screams and cries. Chaos everywhere. Yet, instead of running for cover, you decide to be your lover’s side and make love. Would time feel like it’s stopped? Would the pleasure of their lips on yours be even sweeter than you could remember before? And lastly, would their touch be equivalent to that of an angel’s?
This is the moment the subjects of this song (a couple) are experiencing. Using their last breath to make love with their significant other and choosing to be as one till death and beyond.
In the chorus, it feels like it’s reached mere seconds just before the bomb hits ground. It is at this point that the narrator feels the world has completely stopped while being in the embrace of their significant other. In those last moments before they are melted together, we can assume goodbyes and promises were exchanged – in hopes to be together in the afterlife.
It should be noted that Robbie has stated that he was highly intoxicated when he wrote the lyrics of this song. This is apparently the reason why certain parts of the lyrics are hard to comprehend. But that being said, the long and short of “I Melt with You” is that it is a love song albeit a dark one. The lyrics portray how deep the narrator’s love is for his partner.
When he tells his lover that he would melt with her, he is not being figurative. Think of it this way. The couple are physically and intimately together as a nuclear bomb is being dropped on them. Despite being in the blast site with no place to escape to, the couple is unnerved.
They are not scared of their impending death since they know they are dying in each other’s arms. So they proceed to use their last moments on earth making love, apparently ignoring the bombs falling down from the skies above them. In doing so, their bodies are not only physically fused together but are also literally melted by the sheer destructive power of the bomb.
This deeply touching moment is what the song’s lyric “melt with you” means.
Nuclear War Threats in the 1980s
The Cold War, which started from the late 1940s and ended in the early 1990s. During this period there were multiple times where there were real threats of a nuclear conflict between the world’s two superpowers (the Soviet Union and the United States).
For example, the 1980s was one of those periods when a nuclear war between the aforementioned superpowers seemed very likely. This made a lot of Western governments, including the UK government circulate official guides to their citizens on what to do to survive a nuclear war.
The Cold War and its associated nuclear war threat inspired a lot of fictional works, including of course Modern English’s “I Melt with You”.
It should be noted that the United Kingdom was an active participant and ally of the United States during the Cold War. Owing to this, it stood a high risk of being targeted by the USSR in the event of a nuclear conflict. This meant that the average person living in England in the 1980s was occasionally worried about the possibility of a nuclear attack. And since Modern English is a band from England, it is clear that the members of the band also had to deal with these fears or rather worries from time to time.
When was “I Melt with You” released?
“I Melt with You” was released as a single from Modern English’s 1982 album titled “After the Snow”.
Who wrote “I Melt with You”?
Despite Robbie Grey apparently being the primary originator of this song, he shares writing credits with his fellow Modern English band members. At the time of the song’s creation and release, the band consisted of Grey and the following:
- Stephen Walker
- Richard Brown
- Michael Conroy
- Gary McDowell
“I Melt with You” remains one of Modern English’s most successful songs. It performed well in the United States. In 1983, it reached a peak position of #78 on the country’s official singles charts, the Billboard Hot 100. It moved up two slots later in 1990 after the band re-recorded the track for their fifth album “Pillow Lips”, landing them at #76.
Despite not having the most impressive chart success, “I Melt with You” is one of the biggest hits of the 1980s. As a testament to its insane popularity, VH1 even placed it at number 7 on their list of the of the “Top 100 One-Hit Wonders of the 1980s”. Number 1 on that list was “Come on Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners.
Notable Usage and Covers
Over the decades, “I Melt with You” has been featured in multiple movies and it was also on a very popular video game. In addition, it has been interpreted by various artists, some of which were used in movies. The following list are some examples:
- 1983 American rom-com movie, “Valley Girl”. The movie starred Nicolas Cage and Deborah Foreman among other names.
- 2001 American teen parody movie, “Not Another Teen Movie” that starred likes of Chyler Leigh, Chris Evans and Jaime Pressly.
- In 2002, the track was featured in action-adventure video game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”.
- Jason Mraz’s cover was featured in 2004 American rom-com movie, “50 First Dates”. It starred Adam Sandler who played the role of Henry, a womanizer, and Drew Barrymore as Lucy, who suffers from amnesia.
- In 2005, French cover band Nouvelle Vague had their version featured on American romantic action film, “Mr. & Mrs. Smith”. The movie revolved around a couple played by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
- American rock band Bowling for Soup’s cover was part of “Sky High”, a 2005 Disney superhero comedy film. It featured the likes of Michael Angarano, Danielle Panabaker and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.
- In Glee’s 100th episode in 2014 (Season 5, Episode 19), the cast performed their cover in the American musical TV series.
- Natalie Imbruglia covered in her fifth album, “Male” that was released on 31st July, 2015.
- “I Melt with You” was featured on Netflix series, “Stranger Things” in 2016.
- Season 2 Episode 13 of American musical TV series, “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” in 2021 featured a cover version sung by leading lady, Jane Levy.
- Season 2 Episode 4 of American period spy drama TV series, “The Americans” featured the original version of “I Melt with You”.
Quarantine/Lockdown Version of “I Melt with You”
During the COVID-19 lockdown, the band members teamed up via Zoom to perform a virtual concert to bring some joy to the hearts of their fans all over the world. One of the songs they performed during the said concert was “I Melt with You”. According to frontman Robbie Grey, they had decided to film a quarantine version while everyone was in their homes just to make people happy during “these crazy times”.
The “After the Snow” Album
Like was said earlier in this article, “I Melt with You” originally appeared on Modern English’s “After the Snow” studio album. This project’s issuance date was on May 3 of 1982.
Released via British record company 4AD, “After the Snow” was promoted by three singles. The album’s first single, “Life in the Gladhouse”, was officially released in June 1982.
“I Melt with You”, the project’s second single and one of the group’s signature tunes, came out in August of 1982. The group released this album’s final single, “Someone’s Calling”, in September that year.