post-punk gems, v. 71 — Malcolm McLaren

McLaren, by gawd, where would we be without him? He was a prick, and prickly, and a mclaren_gals composer in the best sense — i.e., “putting together.” He took Richard Hell’s aesthetic and commodified it into low couture, and imbued the Rotten&Jones&Matlock&Cook brand with a bit more danger and a whole lot of profit.
While most folks might be inclined toward McLaren’s “Buffalo Gals,” I was more mesmerized by “Madame Butterfly” — there was, of course, nothing else like it on the radio, popular or semi-popular. (Bless SF’s KQAK for finding room for such an anomaly.) I never bothered to decipher the libretto, but always understood the track as the logical extension of the lush sound of ABC, Spandau Ballet, and Scritti Pollitti (Cupid & Psyche era). I still have yet to unearth the LP itself, to see what else McLaren was up to on Fans (1984), but look forward to that archeo-pop dig on youtube before too long.


Fans_(Malcolm_McLaren_album)Here’s the album cover. What a beautiful weirdo, RIP.

Author: stealingalltransmissions

CA ex-pat loving life in Northeast Ohio. Like most of you, I write stuff.

4 thoughts on “post-punk gems, v. 71 — Malcolm McLaren”

  1. I love it that you acknowledge this song as one of his greats. Me too! Thank you. Trevor Horn’s production is gorgeous. I heard that when Malcolm recorded the opera singers he didn’t tell them what he was going to do with their versions, and so when the record came out some of them were horrified, the scoundrel that he was. The LP also has a kind of early hip-hop version of Carmen by Bizet which was also a single and is just as good. Thanks for posting this. I miss him still.

  2. Yes, WLIR and KQAK were pretty much sister stations in terms of taste, I gather. If only the KQAK’s owners had as much patience as the WLIR contingent … such a bummer when it left the airwaves. Thanks much for the comment!

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