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Culture Club: Colour By Numbers

I was introduced to Colour By Numbers in 1983 by my mother. It was of course her record; however, all that we do affects our children. Boy George and Culture Club created a world for me that was boundless.

Culture Club had already experienced success by the time Colour By Numbers came out with songs such as Time “(Clock of the Heart)” and “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?”. The song they are best known for, Karma Chameleon was the lead single from Colour By Numbers. This album enjoyed International success at its release and continues to show up on Top 100 lists.

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Tracklist:

  1. Karma Chameleon
  2. It’s a Miracle
  3. Black Money
  4. Changing Every Day
  5. That’s the Way (I’m Only Trying to Help You)
  6. Church of the Poison Mind
  7. Miss Me Blind
  8. Mister Man
  9. Stormkeeper
  10. Victims

The interesting piece of Culture Club’s music, is that it is not as politically charged as Boy George’s look was. His androgynous look challenged many cultural norms; however the music they produced mirrored the universal human experience that they existed in. Songs like “Karma Chameleon”, “Miss Me Blind”, and “Victims” describe just how vulnerable the people behind the look could be.

Colour By Numbers fuses many different styles into one composition. Like many fads of the 1980’s, the music of Culture Club appropriated styles from different genres into their music. Blue grass, soul, new wave and rock all combine to create a sound that while contemporary for its time, was also timeless in its spirit.

I have crossed paths with this album several times in my life. First as a child, later when I had a vinyl renaissance and always when I’m revisiting the ’80s. The songs of Colour By Numbers take you on a ride through optimism, judgement and support. It is life lessons that I wish I had understood before I learned of them first hand. I am not sure whether Boy George understood that he was bringing drag to the world. Mr. RuPaul Charles, he paved your way.

@kylerichtig

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