Tainted Love – dai Soft Cell a Marilyn Manson

L’iconico intro lascia pensare che Tainted Love non possa essere altro che un prodotto originale dell’era synthpop, frutto del genio avanguardista di un duo britannico degli anni ’80, ma nella realtà si tratta della cover di una b-side datata 1965.

La genesi soul

L’afro americana Gloria Jones è senza dubbio un prodigio. Trasferitasi a Los Angeles da Cincinnati, a sette anni impara a suonare il pianoforte e a quattordici fonda un coro gospel chiamato The Cogics. Un giorno viene notata da Hal Davis che la introduce nel mondo Motown come corista, anche se in un secondo momento si scoprirà un’ottima compositrice. Nel 1964 arriva la grande occasione: conosce Ed Cobb e con lui firma il contratto per il suo primo ep, nel lato A il singolo ‘My Bad Boy’s Coming Home‘ e nel lato B ‘Tainted Love‘. Ma lei, figlia di un pastore evangelico, trova la parola “tainted” volgare e lontana dal suo stile di “torch singer”, dedita a romanticizzare l’amore non corrisposto con il bel canto.

All’insaputa di Gloria, la canzone acquisisce popolarità nella scena underground. All’inizio degli anni ’70 viene suonata continuamente sia nei club americani che in quelli inglesi, dove era stata importata da un marinaio che aveva barattato il suo 45 giri per dei pacchetti di sigarette. È proprio durante una scorribanda notturna che il re del glam rock Marc Bolan, leader dei T.Rex, sente il brano. Così, quando i due si trovano a lavorare insieme, lui le chiede “sei QUELLA Gloria Jones?” e lei ne rimane stupita. Ne nascerà una bella collaborazione artistica e una tenera storia d’amore, stroncata tragicamente da un incidente automobilistico.

L’evoluzione dance

Alcuni anni dopo, i giovani continuano a scatenarsi in pista al ritmo di Tainted Love. Ne ha la riprova Marc Almond durante una serata revival al Warehouse Club di Leeds, dove lavora come guardarobiere. Nonostante i suoi Soft Cell avessero già ottenuto un contratto discografico, erano ancora poco conosciuti, mentre noto era il suo atteggiamento da primadonna che spesso sfociava in diverbi con le clienti del locale. Affascinato dalla traccia, Almond si precipita dal dj per scoprirne il titolo: da questo episodio fortuito nasce il terzo singolo della band, contenuto in Non Stop Erotic Cabaret, che li proietta verso un rapido successo internazionale.

Assieme al produttore Mike Thorne trasformano la pomposità dell’originale, fatta di trombe e cori femminili, in minimalismo new wave. Con l’utilizzo di un synclavier, di una drum-machine Roland e del semplice battito di mani, danno vita ad un sound più cupo, che sa portare alla luce l’insita disperazione del testo. Canta “once I ran to you, now I’ll run from you” rendendosi portavoce di tutti quei partner che si allontanano da una relazione inappagante, ma l’ascoltatore non potrà fare altro che ballarci su. Rihanna nel 2006 ha utilizzato un sample delle note iniziali di questa versione per la sua hit estiva S.O.S, dalla tematica ironicamente similare.

L’apocalisse goth

Nel 2001 Manson ne incide una versione per la colonna sonora di “Non è un’altra stupida commedia americana“. La sua riconoscibile voce metallica, realizzata con l’utilizzo del vocoder, è accompagnata da una chitarra estremamente distorta, martellante, come in ogni traccia industrial che si rispetti. Il suono si arricchisce andando a riempire i vuoti delle varianti precedenti. In tutta la sua tragicità, il Reverendo si rivela essere l’interprete migliore di questa canzone, peraltro del tutto conforme alla sua poetica. Memorabile (soprattutto per mia nonna) è il video decisamente sopra le righe, che va a nozze con lo spirito trash del film.

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