At the end of September 2023, experimental band Tulipomania released ‘You Had To Be There’, a single very much destined to split opinion. For those who missed it, it has the potential to be one of the year’s most interesting single releases.
With heavy, mechanised beats, the original track draws heavily from the more commercial end of industrial sounds, without actually being overtly commercial in terms of potential radio play. Atop the beats, a hard electronic drone weaves in and out whilst clean synths fill any extra space. In terms of hooks, the track sounds huge despite being obtuse. Applying a very stylised, almost theatrical tone, Tom Murray’s vocal compliments the beats, almost in a way that seemed keen to keep listeners at a distance, yet at the same time, sharing something dark and strangely alluring. If that doesn’t pull you in, Tom’s constant repetition of the title creates one of the most unexpected earworms.
It’s fair to say that, in terms of obvious singles, ‘You Had To Be There’ seemed to be an outlier, but there was something about it that was very cool.
Something great has now been made potentially even greater. A remix by Charles Stooke (co-composer for The Illustrious Company) and Heaven 17 legend Martyn Ware really brings out the brighter end of the keyboard sound, and even though it makes the vocal sound a little smaller in some ways, by also bolstering the beats in a subtle way, the single becomes a little more accessible, making it a great fit for any decent electronica based playlist.
Check out the video clip below.