”Something Better Change” was released in July of 1977 as the first single from The Stranglers upcoming second album No More Heroes which would appear in mid September. Along with the albums title track, ”Something Better Change” would signal a move in a more overtly pop direction that was only hinted at on the group’s first album and would manage to peak at #9 on the U.K. singles chart. This is not to say that The Stranglers abandon their reputation as caustic agitators as No More Heroes was littered with politically contentious tracks such as ”I Feel Like A Wog”, ”Bring On The Nubiles” and ”Bitching”, but the song’s infectious guitar riff and winning melody suggests a tenuous party rock atmosphere. It’s left to singer J.J. Burnel’s particularly gruff vocal performance to keep thing in the punk zone as he alternates between a gnarly throated delivery and a melodic toned timbre. Pumping organ and a buoyant mid-tempo rhythmic romp keep the energy high as he confronts the status quo with a tirade against stifling apathy, flaunting the punk new order with the taunting second verse, “Don’t you like the way I dance? / Does it bug you? / Don’t you like the cut of my clothes? / Don’t you like the way I seem to enjoy it? / Stick my finger right up your nose!” The bridge becomes a jubilant anthem where Burnel voices a punk battle cry to a flurry of organ runs and a growling bass line, “Something’s happening and it’s happening right now / You’re too blind to see it / Something’s happening and it’s happening right now / Ain’t got time to wait”. The chorus is a simple statement, Burnel demanding “Something better change!” with support from the boys in the band who join in for a group shout. Ironically, the arrangement also shows signs of classic rock moves, including a stinging guitar solo and an old school build up of the chorus late in the track.
from No More Heroes (A&M 4659), available on CD (EMI)
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