Did Flaunt It really happen? Clearly, it did. I was holding the vinyl album just yesterday. However, it’s hard to imagine a more insane album ever infiltrating popular culture. Sounding at times like Elvis Presley fronting Suicide, Sigue Sigue Sputnik was a nuclear bomb of color, noise, Cold War anxiety and pop culture references. Hell, the band even managed to sell advertisements between the songs (for a reported $1500/each). With a zeal for marketing that would make Malcomn McLaren blush, the band created a media whirlwind before the album even arrived and when it did, Flaunt It was like nothing that had come before it or since.
When people write about the genius that is Giorgio Moroder, Sigue Sigue Sputnik rarely get mentioned but his production on this album is perfect in its relentlessness. Imagine every cable channel available being hardwired into your brain and all playing at the same time. It is a total sensory overload that pummels you with it’s capitalist intentions. This is a celebration of excess in all of its forms. Frankie Goes To Hollywood said Welcome To the Pleasuredome but Sigue Sigue Sputnik actually handcuffed you to the wall and spanked you. If there was a dance club for replicants, hidden from the blade runners, Sigue Sigue Sputnik would certainly be the house band.
As much fun as this album is, the commercial success was marginal at best. It seemed massive to me at the time but it barely cracked the top 100 albums in the US and the UK press were less than enthused about the project. I get it. The songs are certainly redundant and there is always an undertow after a wave of hype reaches shore and begins to recede. However, one look at the cover of Flaunt It still gives me tingles and the advertisement for Studio Line from L’Oreal (“stu stu stu studio line”) begins to play in my head. Even if you find the multi-media explosion that was Sigue Sigue Sputnik a bit too much, there is no denying that “Atari Baby” is one of the best damn synth-ballads of all time.