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Psychedelic Furs

Folks who bought the Psychedelic Furs' debut album digested the word "stupid" a riveting 14 times. And it wasn't just any ol' stupid. When Richard Butler's croaky timbre does the syllable stretching, stupid becomes styoooopid, a distinction of noble beauty. Through the Furs' decade-plus career, styoooopid became a recurring buzz word, much the same way you couldn't gob on an old Springsteen album and not hit the words "night," "street" and "darkness." For a band obsessed with the "s" word, the Furs themselves did a surprisingly small amount of styoooopid things. One was trying to better "Pretty in Pink" by rerecording it without the dissonant guitars and mumbling, which can be blamed squarely on filmmaker John Hughes. And the other was 86ing the rhythm section in 1986 to make the dance album for clumsy robots, Midnight to Midnight.

After that, the Furs story becomes sketchy. The Butler brothers wisely dropped the paisley moniker in 1994 when grungy plaid became the rage, and they waited eight years until they realized what the world didn't need now was Love Spit Love. Meanwhile, Sony kept the Furs legacy alive by issuing competing retrospectives every occasion Love Spit Love released a new album. So it surprised no one to see the Furs repackage the hits on the summer concert circuit in 2001 (and adding a live album and one solitary new song to their discography). Unlike the Sex Pistols, whose recent set list included the contents of one album and two B-sides, there's far more Furs material to sift through. But they could do something really styoooopid, like play Talk Talk Talk in its entirety.