Australia might not be known for its iconic ‘80s synth tracks, but that’s just more proof that we all need a taste of Real Life. Founded in 1980, this incredible New Wave band has been a part of the EDM scene for over four decades, and in that time, you’d better believe they’ve put out some pretty incredible tracks.
In particular, their debut album Heartland set the stage for the band in an incredible way, and to this day, it features some of their most famous tracks. Songs like “Catch Me I’m Falling” and “Openhearted” helped put Real Life on the map, but both were dwarfed by the song we’re talking about today.
This week, for our Nexus Radio Flashback track, we’re taking a closer look at “Send Me An Angel” and how this ‘80s hit holds up today.
Soft Punk Fashion With An EDM Sound
If you turn the sound off and look at this track’s music video, you could easily be forgiven for expecting some punk influences. While the fashion certainly isn’t the classic grit and grime of the ‘80s punk scene, there are nonetheless subtle touches of inspiration all over the place. From the understated ear piercings to the sculpted chaos of David Sterry’s hairstyle, it’s easy to see how they drew on the movement to create their own style. That being said, the waist jackets and blazers pull from a completely different end of the ‘80s aesthetic, creating an almost rebel-school boy look.
Before you even listen to the song, you can see exactly when this music video was made. Visually, it’s a blend of everything we love about ‘80s fashion, and, in that sense, it’s a perfect way to represent the song.
“Send Me An Angel” is an ‘80s synth through and through, but it’s a sound that feels representative of ‘80s music. On the surface, it’s a classic, catchy, keyboard-driven beat, but the versatile mixing techniques on display make it quite clear that this song is proudly stepping out into the digital age. Between the angelic backing vocals over the chorus and the looping “give up” following the line “don’t give up”, there’s an almost kitsch sincerity to this song that you rarely find outside of the ‘80s classics.
Although the music video was recorded in ‘89 for the song’s rerelease, the track was originally put out in 1983 on the album Heartland. Internationally, the song did very well, reaching the top spot on the German and the New Zealand charts while also doing well in several other European and English-speaking countries.
The original release was successful in the US, reaching No.29 on the Billboard Hot 100, but I felt that song had more potential. Sure enough, the 1989 reissue of the song reached No.26.
To this day, “Send Me an Angel” is Real Life’s most famous track. Though tame by modern EDM standards, its original release helped push the boat out for what a digitally driven pop song could sound like. While it might not have the reputation of some of the more genre-defining hits of the ‘90s, it nonetheless helped to set the stage for much of the music we listen to today.
To this day, David Sterry still works under the band name Real Life. His latest album Sirens was released in 2020 and is available on most streaming platforms. It’s great to see that the classic sound is still going strong!