The Head On The Door has the feeling of a solo effort in that Smith holds all the music credits, something that wouldn’t recur. But unlike The Top’s near total isolation and inward drama, The Head On The Door looks outward and brims with confidence, not least in the respective choices of opening songs – no ‘Shake Dog Shake’ and wailing anger, instead, New Order. Well, not really, but ‘In Between Days’ may be as famous for a bit of Peter Hook-style bass as for its video of dancing socks, swinging camera and black-light makeup. Above all else, it’s just a good song, sprightly, immediate, contrasting with the lyrical sentiments about feeling old and a love triangle’s aftermath with rushed acoustic guitar, musical hooks for days and a simple but perfect keyboard part that was the cherry on the cake. It feels like summer, a ruinous summer perhaps of mixed weather and mixed emotions, but summer nonetheless. All that and it starts with a perfect drum fill by (Boris) Williams, who as the one truly new member was at once the wild card and the secret weapon for the next seven years; The Head On The Door is as much his introductory showcase as anything else.
Released thirty years ago this year, huh?
“In Between Days” is one of the great album openers of ’80s ‘alternative rock’. I never thought to compare it to New Order, though, but I guess you could when thinking of another fine album opener, “Age Of Consent“.