Throwback Thursday: Burning Sensations – Belly of the Whale

The 80’s were a very strange time for music. In some ways, it was an “anything goes” environment; pop still reigned, , big-haired cock-rock ruled the stadiums, rap was rising and alternative was finding an identity. And just like any other decade, the decade had its share of one-hit wonders.

Recently, San Diego alternative station 91x dug into its deep catalogue of music and started playing ALL OF IT, in alphabetical order by track. It was their way of announcing their return to their roots, expanding the music they played and laying down the gauntlet for all of the other “alternative” stations across the country to be less homogenous. While going through the playlist for their nine-day deep dive, I started adding tracks I had never heard of to my current listening, in hopes of finding some lesser-known gem that had never crossed my radar.

Lo and behold, I pulled in a whopper. A whale even. For the first time, I heard Burning Sensations‘ 1983 hit “Belly of the Whale” and was hooked. The track stood out in a variety of ways; it’s calypso-tinged guitar and keyboard lines, mod/ska-style vocals, and big, surprisingly emotional pre-chorus (“Somewhere the sun is shining, on this world but not for me. Two lovers’ hearts are rising. How long before I’m free?”) that goes into a bigger, dance-worthy chorus. It treaded the line between sincere and goofy in perfect balance (tho the video above definitely leans more towards the goofy).

I love discovering new music, and old music that is new to me. This Burning Sensations track may be my throwback of the year.


  1. I stumbled on your site because you did a review of Burning Sensations’ Belly of the Whale, an old favorite of mine. If you are looking for other unsung gems I’d like to recommend Whisper by Schnell Fenester, another 1980s band that deserves some attention. Phil Judd, the singer, had a couple of other gems as well, with an earlier band called the Swingers, One Good Reason and Counting the Beat. I always love hearing about music that was amazing and obscure. Th Ls for doing what you’re doing.

    Liked by 1 person

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