Boy George never gets enough credit as a singer. He nails songs that cry- “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?” is a classic for a reason and it has nothing to do with the cheesy 80s production surrounding George’s tearful voice. That vocal style is amplified in his biggest solo hit, a cover of the Dave Berry 1965 song “The Crying Game”. Of every song I have head George sing, and as a huge fan that is quite a lot, this song remains his single greatest performance. The Pet Shop Boys produced the track, meaning that the production has aged remarkably well. Neil Tennant said then George sounded like Roy Orbison on the track. I agree. George evokes the moody, almost atmospheric vocal style of Orbison, and adds his own sweeter, almost angelic falsetto tones throughout.
The song itself is a fairly straightforward love story, from kisses to goodbyes. Berry had it more like a standard sixties guitar song- Jimmy Page was in on the sessions. George, Tennant, and Chris Lowe update it with dark, swirling keyboards, ominous in their minor key splendor. The song was used in the 1992 film of the same name, and Neil Jordan’s music director was smart in choosing this particular version of the song to highlight in the film. The tone of the song matched the tone of the film. I far prefer the song to the film- I think the movie hasn’t aged as well. Groundbreaking at the time, it loses plenty on repeated viewing and the shocking twist is no longer all that secret or all that shocking. The song remains gorgeously haunting, and George’s vocal remains beautifully sad. When you have had nothing but heartbreak, it’s nice to share it with someone, even if it’s the weird guy with a better eyeliner game than you.