Bronski Beat’s Smalltown Boy is one of Breaking More Waves all-time favourite songs. One of the bands defining moments, it tells the tale of a young man leaving the parental nest because the “Answers you seek will never be found at home.” This song and this band were incredibly important in opening up gay and politicised pop culture to the mainstream. Bronski Beat was probably one of the first bands to make us think that pop music could be and could do so much more than just be escapist entertainment to dance to (whilst still being able to dance to it), in much the same way as band like The Clash did for many of their fans in the 1970’s. (Read more of our thoughts and the full context of this song on a previous blog post here)
So today when we discovered that Little Boots (who we recently posted about here with regard to her rather haphazard and confusing campaign of releases and promotion) had covered the song and thrown it onto the internet we pressed play with nervous trepidation. Was one of our favourite synth pop ladies about to destroy one of our favourite synth pop songs?
The answer is a resounding no. Little Boots take on the song is absolutely perfect. Her voice is sublime, the euphoric disco-house pump of the music is electrifying and frankly this pretty much equals the original in every respect. The landscape for homosexual men may be very different from when Bronski Beat first released this but Smalltown Boy still resonates deeply.
Smalltown Boy is taken from a covers compilation album, Ministry Of Sound Uncovered Vol 4, but really it's too damn good to just be an album track. Come on Victoria – put this out as a proper big single and grab yourself a proper chart hit.
Little Boots - Smalltown Boy