OK, it’s not officially spring yet. But we are anticipating the season and livening up the joint with our Spring Cheese theme. What we’re looking for is happy songs — a relatively rare breed in themselves, pop and rock having favored the more angst-ily inclined for several decades now. If those songs are sunny-weather-related, so much the better, but the idea is to make WMMCM feel a little bit like springtime (awww) for the next couple of weeks or so.
And this is a happy, spring-y record: “Walking on Sunshine.”
Katrina and the Waves blew out of England with this irresistible pop extravaganaza — and, as far as the U.S. was concerned, blew right back in again, since the followup single (“Do You Want Crying,” and no, I don’t remember it either) only stuck a toe into the Top 40, at number 37, and they never charted here again. And this does have that whiff of the one-hit wonder about it. Though indeed, that’s easy to say after the fact.
Lyrically, there is absolutely nothing to this, which is a good part of its charm. Our singer, who’s been waiting for a letter from her boyfriend, seems to have received very good news in the last bulletin:
I used to think, baby, you loved me,
Now I know for sure
So now even the prospect of a trip to the mailbox makes her giddy:
Now every time I go for the mailbox
Gotta hold myself down
‘Cause I just wait till you write me
You’re coming around
And that’s pretty much it. She’s now sure of the guy, and just waiting for the day they make it official: “I just want you back, and I want you to stay.”
But it’s all just decoration to wrap around that madly catchy refrain, one of the great earworms of the ’80s. “I’m walking on sunshine/Woah-oh/I’m walkin’ on sunshine/Woah-oh/And don’t it feel good!”
As far as the sound, after a 100 percent certified power pop drum intro, the horns kick in and this gets so peppy it edges right up to frantic but never falls in, and the vocal is lovely, controlled, and strong. It’s been covered many times, of course, and used in a zillion commercials, but this song resists any attempt to use it ironically. That only works — to the extent that it ever does; irony and snark are both overworked and overrated — when a cheery pop record seems unaware of its own limitations. “Walking on Sunshine” is too sincere for that. It’s just simple great good cheer, and therefore a fine sample of Spring Cheese.