Review Revue: Fine Young Cannibals – The Raw and the Cooked

All right, enough with the obscure weirdness, am I right? It’s time for a record we all know and love (or all know, anyway), one that I absolutely adored upon its release in 1989. Yes, it’s true, The Raw and the Cooked, the second album by the Birmingham England pop-soul outfit known as Fine Young Cannibals, was a pure delight to my 12-year-old ears upon its release, as it was to many others at the time (seriously, could you go anywhere without hearing the sweet, husky voice of Roland Gift crooning “She Drives Me Crazy” or “Good Thing” to you?).

But they weren’t all mainstream, Top 40 bubblegum, let me tell you. I didn’t know it at the time (and neither did my parents), but listening to this tape was my first exposure to the UK punk geniuses known as The Buzzcocks, a cover of whose “Ever Fallen in Love” was the closing track on this slab of pop genius (do you think IRS would have let them cover “Orgasm Addict”?).

But as we know from experience here, whenever it comes to a college radio station and an album with two Billboard-chart-topping songs on it, there is going to be some conflict. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

“Well, it sure sounds like them. They do what they do well. You can’t fault them for slickness, ’cause a certain amount has always been there. P.S. 1.1 [“She Drives Me Crazy”] is a HUGE white dot. [i.e. too commercial for KCMU’s airwaves].”

“Some of this is really catchy — watch out.”

“I sell the shit outta this at my bullshit Top 40 record store job.”

“So fucking what? You sell the shit out of Tone-Loc, too (#2 Billboard last week), and you still play him. A fine, pop-soul record.”

“Blech! (Tone is now #1 & this is #3. I hate both.)”

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