On 26 January, 1980, “We Don’t Talk Anymore” by Cliff Richard peaked at #7.
I don’t know what genre to put “We Don’t Talk Anymore” into. Cliff was 39 when it was released and had really already had a pretty rich career as a rock n’ roll pioneer that had peaked and waned, and then came rocketing back with this song, making him the first act to chart in the Billboard US Hot 100 in every decade from the 50s on (thank you, Wikipedia). And his comeback song is… well, it’s far too pop to be disco, but it’s far too quirky to be just pop, and it’s not electronic or quirky enough to be new wave. It’s in a very small category of smarter-than-average adventurous pop songs that do more than they set out to do.
The lyrics aren’t even all that standard. Later in the 80s, a Canadian band called The Pursuit of Happiness would sing about how adults can sing boy-meets-girl-boy-loses-girl songs, but have to sing man-wonders-what-the-hell-went-wrong songs, and that’s what this is, an adult pop song, albeit one with a very idiosyncratic keyboard approach. He doesn’t sound too beaten up about the fact that what’s-her-name is leaving. Sure, there’s the standard bitter admonishment that she shouldn’t come back crying for sympathy, but he jauntily sings about how he’s not counting sheep at night (sheeeep!) lying awake pining for a lost love. And it sounds like he really means it. It’s not like there’s a hint of remorse or nostalgia in Cliff’s voice as he tells her to have a good life; nope, he’s marching off to that weird synthesizer music into his life, key-changing his way to something better. Many whiny break-up songs make me think the person walking away made the right choice, but not here. Nope, Cliff was a keeper, and someone messed up in letting him. Sorry, hon.