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Roisin Murphy – You Know Me Better


There’s a certain kind of satisfaction to be had in liking an artist who never quite crosses over into the mainstream. A perverse satisfaction, sure, but you get to feel like you’re part of a small exclusive club with exquisite taste.

Sod that. Roisin Murphy‘s You Know Me Better deserved to be absolutely huge. Let’s have a listen to remind ourselves.

Was there ever a finer slab of electro-disco? No, there wasn’t – that’s an empirical fact right there. So why did it spend a single solitary week at no.47 in April 2008? As always, we can take lack of airplay for granted  –  if you don’t get played much on the radio, chances are your record isn’t going to be a hit. There is, however, a larger problem here, which is – despite reasonable success with Moloko prior to going solo – that Roisin never really got a fair crack of the whip. It’s fair to say that EMI didn’t really know what to do with her – show me a slightly-hard-to-pigeonhole female singer in possession of a clear artistic vision who a record label does know what to do with  – and in fact if you look at the chart for that particular week, Roisin was the highest placed EMI artist. Nonetheless, a bit of money was thrown at the video, if the selection of magnificent wigs is anything to go by. With the right amount of promotion behind it, this could have worked.

You Know Me Better was the third, and most obviously commercial single from Roisin’s Overpowered album. The first single was of course the title track, which was chart ineligible – in my mind never a great way to start off an album campaign. Second release Let Me Know fared better, hitting no.28 but by this point you could feel the momentum and record label enthusiasm slipping away. The critical acclaim was certainly there, and Roisin has retained a devoted fanbase ever since, if the mild hysterics accompanying her recent announcement of a new album are anything to go by. But if I could go back and do things differently I would have made You Know Me Better the first single. It’s straightforward, hugely danceable and in its sound-of-a-pop-engine-firing up intro has one of the most exciting beginnings of any song ever made. AMAZING.

Entered chart: 12/04/2008

Chart peak: 47

Weeks in chart: 1

Who could sing this song today and make it a hit? Fleur East, obviously.

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