I’ve been a long-time fan of Julian Cope, stretching right back to when The Teardrop Explodes Reward blasted out of the Top of the Pops studio (no, I wasn’t cool enough to be a pre-fame fan). The Teardrops imploded an album later in a haze of drug-fuelled paranoia, an event that set in train a wild and varied career that I’ve written about a number of times on this blog.
But somewhere in the late 1980s, Julian Cope the leather-clad rock star emerged blinking into the light, and for a fleeting moment it looked like mainstream success was beckoning, something that the resolutely lof-fi, whimiscal and surreal nature of the previous two albums had made look all but impossible. But this was Julian Cope we are talking about here, and those ambitions were resolutely dashed as Cope’s future headed off into even more arcane and defiantly un-commercial avenues, a direction from which he has never returned. But for those who like there pop stars unpredictable but errudite, wayward but smart, Julian has carved out a niche for himself that would have made his very own cult heroes proud.
World Shut Your Mouth comes not from the album of the same name (how boring and predictable would that be!) but from the messiah-like St Julian, the point at which his commercial star briefly shined. It’s one of those songs whose presence seems to have grown since its day (it only peaked at 19 in the UK singles chart), and is – if anything – the song that the vaguely interested general public know Mr Cope by.
World Shut Your Mouth is a top-class shouty anthem. It’s not subtle, and so is great for thrashing and singing at the top of your lungs. Its simple and straightforward (I’ve transposed it down from the original B to A to make it easier to play), and clearly needs to be played loud. Enjoy!