This cut should make two people happy! The ten of us who gave The Bangles full scores, not so much however! Manic Monday has been a mainstay of the top 10 this whole time, my lovelies – you were well and truly going to have it in the top 3 until a couple of late voters pushed it out of the top 5, awarding higher scores to what they probably felt were more iconic numbers. Although, I would have preferred Salt-N-Pepa to be our last 80s act left – there is no denying Manic Monday is pretty much a perfect piece of pop rock!
Manic Monday is one of those numbers on the list that grab you instantly, from the soft instrumental pull and Susanna’s gorgeous crisp vocal. The background harmonies are full and lively, with the lyric about having to go to work instead of relaxing on a Sunday (with a Valentino, no less!) being intensely relatable (I wish!) right now too at 9.36pm on a Sunday night writing this post (not posting til Manic Monday morning however!)! Another great aspect of the track is that each verse is slightly different from the last and the song is on the short side – all creating a dreamlike effect with a slow pleasant build that doesn’t ever become strenuous.
Manic Monday was originally a song to be performed by Prince (he also wrote the track under the pseudonym Christopher) as a duet with the band Apollonia 6 for their self-titled album. He eventually pulled the song and gave it to The Bangles two years later after becoming quite fond of their sound through their debut album All Over The Place. Manic Monday was actually the first release of the Bangles’ follow up album Different Light and was the girls’ breakthrough, going to #2 in the US and the UK. Australia took it to #3 so it was certainly a decent success all over. The critics also thought highly of it, with Los Angeles Times calling it a candidate for best single of the year.
The Bangles started out as The Bangs in 1981 with members Susanna Hoffs and sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson forming in Los Angeles as part of the Paisley Underground scene, groups that played a mixture of 1960s influenced rock. Due to a legal issue, the band changed their name to Bangles as they became a quartet, and released their EP. Their full length début on Columbia Records captured their power pop roots in single Hero Takes The Fall. Their audience grew when they supported Cyndi Lauper on her Fun Tour and attracted the attention of Prince, leading to the single we are discussing today.
The Bangles peak was during the 1984-1989 era with friction causing them to break up in 1989. The main reason behind it is thought to be that more prominence was given to Susanna by the record label, and her being singled as lead vocalist since most singles the label released featured her on main vocals despite all albums showing the girls were equal in taking lead vocal duties and writing songs. They have since had some mini reunions over the years, including Susanna and Debbi writing a song for Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. In 2000 the girls were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall Of Fame.
PopJustice – what do you have to say for yourself?
Zar-Unity (7) is back to his favourite score - I've always liked The Bangles, and this song is nice. Tech: 4 Taste: 3 = 7 points. Kermit_The_Frog (10) surprises no one by giving a Prince penned song a perfect score - As a Prince stan, I can hardly give this less than a 10. My favourite song by The Bangles (which, taking into account that I only know about 3, is vaguely successful). Reminds me that I had exceptional taste in bops even as a small child.
ComeOnGloria (10) is certainly getting into Unnameable’s good graces! - I remember getting the VHS of their greatest hits for Xmas when i was about 8 years old and being so happy! I had such a crush on Susanna Hoffs! This so almost got my 11 points. Saviodxl (8) is here to give you some fresh puns!! - Not my favorite day of the week tough. I prefer The Saturdays. Filippa (10) finds a lot to love and stand for - 4 gorgeous women on guitars and drums. Singing (with some exceptions) their own songs. I love that. Susannah Hoffs may not have the most powerful voice, but she has a timbre I love. I can easily recognise when she’s on the lead. Their harmonies are really wonderful, maybe that’s the best of the band. Manic Monday was written by Prince and it’s a great tune.
Trouble In Paradise (7) is no huge fan of this one - I feel bad cause I know some people love this song and it’s sold but this song really has never connected with me. Empty Shoebox (8) thinks this is a little standard fare, well then – the music he listens to must be great on average. - Basic, but decent. The bridge is the highlight. The "don't have to run day" attempt to rhyme is the low. DominoDancing (10) finds this to be perfection -Leave it to Prince to finally liven up these 80s debuts! Perfectly written, perfectly performed. Iheartpoptarts (4) finds it too relatable to properly love - Always kind of annoyed me, but waking up early for work is a daily struggle forever.
Ufint (9) doesn’t have all great memories with this one, which is a shame - I listened to this so much as a kid that it makes me a little bit uncomfortable listening to it, because it doesn’t bring up solely good memories. Nevertheless such a classic. DJHazey (9) pays the girls their dues - When me and anybody I know has been using the term "Manic Monday" to describe a terrible Monday for as long as I can remember, that tells you what kind impact it had on pop culture. A couple of their other hits might have gotten a 10, but this is still undeniable. Unnameable (11) doesn’t think his 11 had any competition from the songlist really – Prince songwriting, Susannah Hoffs’ voice and harmonies from the Bangles? How can any song compete with this?
The Bangles takes us home in the decade that under-performed the most, all things considered.
A high note to end on however, Manic Monday certainly shows the great qualities the Pop Rock sound would go on to explore and influence, even as late as the 00s.
80s recap coming