Monday, September 26, 2005


Bobby Orlando - aka Bobby O - was an upstate New York boxer and disco enthusiast particularly taken by ABBA. Just as Chic and ABBA had several hits in the '80s, thus belying disco's reputation as a '70s thing, Bobby O. also had his biggest successes in the decade of greed writing and producing for a host of nobodies, as well as Divine. His trademark was simple bass arpeggios, a cheesy yet somehow cool gimmick borrowed wholesale from Giorgio Morodor but (obviously) still very effective. Eventually O.'s work got tagged Hi-NRG and caught the ears of the Pet Shop Boys, who contacted O. to produce demos for their first album. To this day there's some controversy as to how much of "West End Girls" is his, though "Opportunities" is more his style.

The Flirts were one of the many anonymous acts O. manufactured to release his music. He famously dismissed even his best work as disposable, and perhaps he's right on both counts about this 12" version of "Helpless." It's disposable, in a generic Eurotrash sense, but also easily one of his best. I love the chaotic percussion, and the bit were the disco chicken-scratch guitar comes in. Plus, the perfectly timed added synths in the coda as the song plays out give it that extra epic quality.


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