Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Perfect Skin… 80’s Underground Mondays

Love the sound of this song. It sounds like it could have come out of any decade. The guitar fills are wonderful. It’s a shame they didn’t have success in America but they were played on college radio stations.

Lloyd Cole wrote the lyrics and music to this song. He would write all the lyrics on the album and on a few songs would get some help with the music.

Perfect Skin was off of the album Rattlesnakes which peaked at #13 in the UK and New Zealand in 1984. The song peaked at #26 in the UK. NME included the album in its Top 100 Albums of All Time list, and the title track was later covered by the American singer Tori Amos.

The Welsh band Manic Street Preachers included the album amongst their top ten list.

They were active from 1984 through 1989 and released three albums and all of them made the top twenty in the UK. They had formed in Glasgow, Scotland in 1982…they broke up in 1989. Cole embarked on a solo career but the band reformed briefly in 2004 to perform a 20th anniversary mini-tour of the UK.

Lloyd Cole: Perfect Skin’s Louise wasn’t real, though. I’d read about Bob Dylan seducing women by writing songs for them, so I was showing off with words: “She’s got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin and she’s sexually enlightened by Cosmopolitan.” When I sing that live now, I go: “Who isn’t?”

Between 1983 and 84, we went from being a wimpy band who sounded like the Style Council to more of a rock band. When I wrote Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken? it made us realise what we could do. I took a Portastudio to my room in Glasgow Golf Club, where my parents worked and lived, and wrote Perfect Skin and Forest Fire. Not one song on Rattlesnakes was more than a year old when it was recorded.

Perfect Skin

I choose my friends only far too well
I’m up on the pavement
They’re all down in the cellar
With their government grants and my IQ
They brought me down to size
Academia blues

Louise is a girl
I know her well
She’s up on the pavement
Yes, she’s a weather girl
And I’m staying up here so I may be undone
She’s inappropriate but then she’s much more fun and

When she smiles my way
My eyes go out in vain
She’s got perfect skin

Shame on you, got no sense of grace
Shame on me
Just in case I might
Come to a conclusion other than that which is absolutely necessary
And that’s perfect skin

Louise is the girl with the perfect skin
She says, “Turn on the light otherwise it can’t be seen”
She’s got cheekbones like geometry and eyes like sin
And she’s sexually enlightened by Cosmopolitan and

When she smiles my way
My eyes go out in vain
For her perfect skin
Yeah, that’s perfect skin

She takes me down to the basement
To look at her slides
Of her family life
Pretty weird at times
At the age of ten she looked like Greta Garbo and I loved her then
But how was she to know that

When she smiles my way
My eyes go out in vain
She’s got perfect skin

Up eight flights of stairs to her basement flat
Pretty confused, huh?
Being shipped around like that
Seems to climb so high
Now we’re down so low
Strikes me the moral of the song
Must be: there never has been one

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Lloyd Cole & The Commotions – Perfect Skin… 80’s Underground Mondays”

  1. excellent song. Happily it was a hit on at least one station in Toronto so I remember it quite well. I heard several tracks from ‘Rattlesnakes’ back then and all sounded good… probably would be a good album to own.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s another band that I don’t understand why it didn’t get American airplay. It’s commercial and catchy.


  2. Great record, and I still like Lloyd Cole stuff. Timeless and deserves to be better remembered. as with so many bands of the 80’s I got to see them live – they just never seemed to get that big breakthrough hit that could have made all the difference. My Bag was a good later effort but the music scene was changing fast in the late 80’s and it was so easy to become yesterday’s news despite no drop in quality….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’re right – kind of a timeless sound. Like the shimmering guitar sound. I recognize his name but can’t place how – this song and others I quickly looked up don’t ring any bells. You’re right a head scratcher why they didn’t do better in US

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great pick, Max. Lloyd Cole is a great songwriter and he has a bunch of good albums. Rattlesnakes is definitely the one that I would reach for first.

    Liked by 1 person

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