Rip It Up

Rip It Up

The title song of Orange Juice’s 1982 album Rip It Up is the unquestionable focal point of the Scottish quartet’s short-lived career. Built around a bass line so full of nectar that it practically leaks onto the speakers, “Rip It Up” is as catchy and danceable as anything ever recorded by Chic. Yet it remains true to Orange Juice’s essence: gawky but suave, sweet but assured, Scottish but soulful. The addition of Zimbabwean drummer Zeke Manyika may have helped the group embrace club rhythms at a time when disco was considered outré, especially in punk circles. At 23 years old, Edwyn Collins was rapidly maturing as a lyricist. While his peers remained caged by themes of despair and alienation, he boldly addressed desire, fidelity, and sympathy. Into taut disco beats the band wove strands of folk rock, country music, and Southern American R&B. In its era, Orange Juice was utterly anomalous. But 20 years later, more young indie bands would be emulating the blend of styles on Rip It Up than the gloomy post-punk that overshadowed Orange Juice in its lifetime.

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