Although not achieving the commercial success they deserved at the time Talk Talk produced some quite astounding pop epiphanies throughout the 1980s. One of them ‘It’s My Life’ is one of a handful of their great pop moments, that has perhaps only grown in impact over the intervening years since its release. Turning evocative production into a virtue, each instrumental part and note given a sense of space and breath that was uncommon in an era of glossy pop. Thus ‘It’s My Life’ is built upon a bed of clicking drum machines, snaking baselines and synths that swirl and squawk gradually enveloping the listener. “One-half won’t do,” sings Mark Hollis in the pre-chorus, before the song lets flight into glorious, life affirming crescendos lifted aloft by firing drum machines, warm tumbling synths, while Hollis’s imperious tone shivers with a wistful impregnable power, ripe with existential yearning. Each note gives voice to a quivering vulnerability and a clinging to hope, embodying the contradictions of life’s constant struggle, alone and part of the crowd all at once (‘caught in the trap it never ends’).
Originally written by the band’s creative hub of Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene, it was the title track on the band’s second album and released as its first single in January 1984. Surprisingly It only just scraped into the top 50 in the UK charts that year, but was a hit throughout Europe. Talk Talk would go on to chart more left field sounds with long players like ‘Spirit of Eden’ and ‘Laughing Stock’ earning more critical acclaim in retrospect, but the existential pop brilliance of ‘It’s My Life’ left an indelible mark and even from the vantage point of 2017, it still sounds timeless, towering and quite frankly marvellous.