Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy, one of the most popular British synth pop songs of the early 198os, and a popular gay anthem, showed up on the new episode of Euphoria this week — Euphoria, Season 1, Episode 6, “The Next Episode“.
The track was played at the party as we see Jules staggering around, Kat in the bathroom making out, Lexi going after Rue as she leaves the party and Cassie going home to drink.
And, as a former radio DJ who used to play Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy several times a week for months, when I heard the track show up on Euphoria, it struck me I had not heard it in decades.
Interesting, as so many synth pop songs from the 80s resurrect themselves now and again, but Smalltown Boy really hasn’t done.
In other words, nice to see it appear on Euphoria, as it is still a helluva strong song.
Smalltown Boy is from the openly gay indie band’s debut album The Age of Consent, which was released in late 1984, and was the lead single from the release. An album that, while it was criticized by several critics for being ‘too dance-focused’ or ‘with too many falsettos’, was a big hit for the three-member band.
The Age of Consent was so named as it was about the different ages men had to be in various countries in order to be able to legally engage in gay sex.
Smalltown Boy‘s success
Smalltown Boy itself hit the number 1 spot in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy, and became a number 1 dance hit in the U.S.
The official music video for the song had lead singer Jimmy Sommerville approaching a man that he is attracted to at a pool on a dare from his friends. Later, after visiting a pub, the three men are chased by the man from the pool and his friends, and Somerville is beaten up because he is gay.
After he is taken home by the police, his unsympathetic father blames him for the incident, while his mother cries. We then see him leaving his home and taking the train back to London, where he meets his friends.
The video was made to show just some of the things gay men go through in a society where being gay is considered ‘wrong’.
Watch that video and listen to Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy below.
You can also hear The Age of Consent in its massively expanded and 2018 remastered version in the Spotify widget below that.
It is a superb album, has definitely held up over the 35 years since its release and, if you like synth pop, is something you should make yourself very very familiar with.
Related reading: You’ll find more songs from Euphoria here
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