Soft Cell

Bedsitter

Composed by Dave Ball / Marc Almond

Song Review by

Another in the series of sharply observed, perfectly poppy singles with which Soft Cell made its mark in British pop culture, "Bedsitter" ranks as one of the best, most realistic portrayals of urban life recorded, capturing both the glitter and the grime that in particular has long fascinated Marc Almond. Taking on the persona (one easily drawn from his own student life) of a bored, poor habitué of the nightlife wondering how best to kill time in a squalid apartment waiting for the next club scene to open ("Read a book, maybe write a letter/Mother things are getting better!"). Dave Ball's music once again does the business as well, a combination of keyboard lines ranging from winsome semi-horns to brutal, bass-led stabs all constructed around an instantly hummable core. His turns on the choruses, adding just enough extra orchestration and a simple but effective xylophone-style percussion part, further add to the song's quietly devastating impact, though ending as simply and straightforwardly as it began.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret 1981 Mercury / Universal Music
Non-Stop Exotic Video Show 1982 Sanctuary
The Singles 1986 Mercury / Def Jam / Island / PolyGram 3:39
Memorabilia: Singles 1991 Def Jam / Island / Universal / Universal Distribution 3:41
Pop & Wave, Vol. 3 1993
Various Artists
Alex 3:36
25 Years of Radio 1993
Various Artists
Dutch East 3:35
Pop & Wave, Vol. 3: Lots More Hits of the 80's 1993
Various Artists
Columbia 3:37
Say Hello to Soft Cell 1998 Mercury / Spectrum Music / Universal / Universal Music 3:38
Eighties Mix [Crimson] 1999
Various Artists
Crimson Productions
Relax!: The Ultimate 80's Mix, Vol. 2 1999
Various Artists
Polygram 3:25
The Twelve Inch Singles 2002 Polygram / Polygram 7:52
The Very Best of Soft Cell 2002 Mercury Records 3:37
Live 2003 Cooking Vinyl 3:43
At the BBC 2003 Strange Fruit
Say Hello Wave Goodbye: Live 2005 Music Club International Records 3:43
12"/'80s/2 2005
Various Artists
Family Recordings 7:49
20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Soft Cell 2006 Universal International 3:39
Heat: The Remixes 2007 Mercury / Universal / Universal Music 7:58
Greatest Ever! Electric Eighties 2013
Various Artists
Greatest Ever 3:37
101 80s Hits [Spectrum]
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
Classic Dad
Various Artists
Spectrum Music
Fade to Grey: 1980-1984
Various Artists
Universal Music TV 3:36
No Image Universal
blue highlight denotes editor's pick