Song of the Day #4,948: ‘Dover Beach’ – The Bangles

Usually when I do a Decades series, I discover one album that was completely off my radar but immediately feels essential. I’m not even halfway through 1984 yet, but I think I might have found it in The Bangles’ All Over the Place.

When I saw this album listed on best-of lists for the year, I assumed it would feature the hits ‘Manic Monday,’ ‘Walk Like an Egyptian’ and ‘Hazy Shade of Winter,’ or at least some combination of those staples. But All Over the Place, The Bangles’ debut, didn’t have a single hit. It’s also, by all accounts, the best record they ever released.

This is a warm, infectious collection of melodic pop, equal parts Beatles and Beach Boys, with unfussy production and strong performances by every member of the quartet.

While Susanna Hoffs would later move to center stage (causing friction among the other band members), here the vocals are split between Hoffs and sisters Vicki and Debbi Petersen. Bassist Michael Steele (a woman, and founding member of The Runaways, not the former RNC chairman) contributes harmony vocals.

An 11-song set, with most tracks clocking in under three minutes, this is a breezy and satisfying album. Every song is a keeper. The one that struck me most immediately is today’s SOTD, ‘Dover Beach,’ a sweetly melancholic invitation to escape.

The Bangles released only two more albums (both huge sellers) before splitting, then reunited 15 years later to release two more. This one has me eager to seek out the rest.

[Verse 1]
If I had the time
I would run away with you
To a perfect world
We’d suspend all that is duty or required

[Verse 2]
Late last night, you cried
And I couldn’t come to you
But on the other side
You and I, inseparable and walking, yeah
Oh woah

[Verse 3]
We could steal away
Like jugglers and thieves
Or we could come and go, oh
And talk of Michaelangelo
Oh woah

[Bridge]
If we had the time (If we had the time)
We had the time

[Verse 4]
The day you looked at me
Pain was on your mind
The world is no one’s dream
We will never ever find the time
Oh woah

[Verse 5]
If we had the time
I would run away with you
To a perfect world
To a perfect world

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,948: ‘Dover Beach’ – The Bangles

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    I recall when The Bangles were at the height of their popularity, critics were calling them the female Beatles, which is certainly a lot to live up to. While I had assumed that praise was based on the hits you mentioned (and I guess it was in part), it likely was also based on this lesser known album.

    I’ll be curious to hear your opinion about the rest of their discography, especially the two albums released after they reunited.

  2. willedare says:

    Lovely to be reminded about the Bangles. (and their lovely vocal harmonies). Thank you!

  3. Amy says:

    Love the sound of today’s song, one I’ve never heard before. I only know their hits, and it’s a pity I never sought out any of their albums based on my appreciation of those few songs. As much as I miss the intentionality of going to buy an “album” (in whatever form you consume/d it), it’s hard to argue against the immediacy of digital music that allows you to do a deep dive into an artist with very little investment. I would likely have listened to far more of their music back in the day if that had then been the case.

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