The Pop Song Pantheon, Vol. 13
"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me" by Culture Club (1982)
Lost, perhaps, in the spectacle that was Culture Club's emergence into the music video explosion of the early 1980s, was their talent for sometimes-soulful, impeccably produced pop songs like this one. An impassioned narrative about regret and a sorrowful request for a stay of retaliation sit perfectly atop the tune's pseudo-dub groove. Like their fellow Brits The Police, The Specials, and General Public, Culture Club was excellent at integrating rhythmic innovations from the U.K.'s island former colonies into their so very London sound. Bohemian and warm like a late-spring breeze, this one remains a lovely sing-a-long after all these years.