Everything But the Girl

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About Everything But the Girl

When Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn decided to make an Everything But the Girl album after 24 years spent working on other projects (including solo albums, multiple memoirs, and a family together), they proceeded with care. “We kept it secret, so we had an escape route. If it didn’t work, no one ever needed to know,” Thorn told Apple Music about 2023’s Fuse. “After the first tentative steps, we realized we still had so much in common. A common language. A love of economy, direct emotion, space. It started clicking very quickly.” It’s a sweet image: two people—mom and dad, no less—picking up a creative conversation after decades away without missing a beat. But it also captures the way Watt and Thorn have often changed the culture by quietly defying it, whether by embracing bossa nova during the height of English synth-pop (1984’s Eden) or bringing electronic and dance music into the naturalistic world of indie pop (1996’s Walking Wounded). Formed in Hull, England, in 1982, they spent the ’80s making a series of albums that mixed the thoughtfulness of art-pop with the slick subtleties of adult contemporary. Even after a Todd Terry remix of 1994’s “Missing” made them internationally famous, they retained an elusiveness that made them feel alluringly of their own world while also leaving an unmistakable impact on independent-minded artists playing at the quieter end of pop and soul, from The xx to James Blake. The beauty of Fuse isn’t that they came back, but the realization that they never quite left.

Hull, England

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