515. ‘Too Shy’, by Kajagoogoo

I think it may have arrived, the moment I’ve been anticipating for a while now… The official start of the 1980s.

Too Shy, by Kajagoogoo (their 1st and only #1)

2 weeks, 13th – 27th February 1983

This is the most eighties chart-topper yet. Everything here has been filtered through some kind of ‘80s-ifier: the synths, the electronic drums, the bass, the icy piano… And that’s before you get to the band’s hair-dos… Just look at those mullets! I really like the intro, though: the slow build up and funky bass riff. There’s also a killer, if slightly nonsensical, chorus: You’re too shy shy, Hush hush, Eye to eye…

Singer Limahl’s delivery is also very of its time. It’s very arch, very airy and knowing. I don’t want to plant the ‘New Romantic’ flag, as I don’t think Kajagoogoo were quite that, but that’s where we’re heading. The rest of this song, though…? It’s OK. The nice touches aren’t enough to cover up the fact that it’s a bit lightweight, and a bit dull in places. I’ve heard of ‘landfill indie’… Can this be ‘landfill eighties’?

While the song is fine, we have to take a moment to examine the band name. Potentially one of the worst band names in history? It’s based on the sounds babies make, apparently. Before Kajagoogoo they were known as ‘Art Nouveau’, which is the sort of name you’d give a fictional parody of a new-wave band. They weren’t around for very long. Limahl left after just two years as lead-singer, citing personality differences, and the band officially spilt up in 1985.

I do think this is a moment where any remnants of what went before have been ditched. There’s no disco here, no post-punk or soft rock. Just pure and unadulterated eighties. Even the big, decade-specific acts we’ve met so far – Adam Ant, Culture Club, Human League – didn’t have the mid-eighties glossiness that ‘Too Shy’ has. But I think we’re set now, and about to foray into the deepest depths of it.

And I have to admit that I’m making that statement not based solely on this one record – though it is very now. I’m also making it with one eye on the chart-toppers that will immediately follow. The next five number ones will feature either some of the decade’s biggest stars, or its biggest songs. Kajagoogoo’s ‘Too Shy’ is the appetiser to a giant ‘80s feast that is on its way…

20 thoughts on “515. ‘Too Shy’, by Kajagoogoo

  1. Pleasantly bland and over rated, Too Shy is the only half decent thing they did. Duran Duran were huge by this time, and they gave this track a leg up where their own singles had fallen short. The hair dos alone were a crime. For me the 80s was new romantic and synths, the creative buzz starts to end with this one as it became all about suits with sleeves up, permed hair, glossy videos and glossy drum machine mor production. Theres worse to come shortly…..!

    • Are they overrated? Maybe at the time, but I wouldn’t say they’re that well remembered nowadays…? And Nick Rhodes produced this, right? Beating his own band to #1 by a few weeks.

      • Kajagoogoo were never rated they were largely a laughing stock at the time 🙂 too shy, though, seems to have a lot of residual affection still. Me, id take limahls Never Ending Story sny day!

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  3. Absolutely F**king NO. You said you were going to make a list to see how many 80s I like…this one is a big fat NO. Did I mention that I hate it? To me it’s propped up by eighties trickery.

    • LOL…that sounded aggressive….I meant that toward the song. This one belongs with The Safety Dance…well not quite as bad..but bad.

      • Haha… Well, I did earmark this as the most ‘eighties’ moment yet, so it figures that you won’t like it… This is peak eighties. Just the hair alone!

        Ps…. I don’t mind ‘The Safety Dance’…

      • No…no no no…you can’t like the Safety Dance! The video alone should have them in the Hall of Shame.
        It’s so cringe worthy

      • I don’t mind it… ‘Like’s a strong word! I am interested to see how you feel about the records I have coming up… Well, you’ve seen ‘Billie Jean’ already, but the next few are also eighties classics that MOST people love…

      • Yea…I know I know…when these were being played I was listening to The Replacements, Beatles, Stones, and The Who.
        Billie Jean wasn’t bad but I don’t get the love.

        Now on the other hand…Prince, Springsteen, Petty, and Mellencamp…I loved. Those 80s I loved.

      • Oh OK, I wouldn’t have had you down as a big Prince fan… The others, yes, lol.

        Sadly Prince has only one #1 single in the UK… and it is far from his best. (‘Most Beautiful Girl in the World…)

      • I do like Prince…he was an amazing artist. The only song I didn’t like was When Doves Cry.
        I liked “Most Beautiful..”…my favorite was Raspberry Beret.
        I always thought Jackson was a great performer but Prince was a great artist.

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