Marilyn – “Despite Straight Lines” (1985)

Marilyn, aka Peter Robinson, only released one full-length album, 1985s Despite Straight Lines, produced by none other than Don Was. That being said, Marilyn was no stranger to recording nor to charting – three of Despite Straight Lines‘ tracks were previously released as singles in 1983 and 1984, with all cracking the UK Top 40 and “Calling Your Name” making it all the way to #4. But, like so many performers Marilyn couldn’t replicate that early success. “Baby U Left Me (In The Cold)” only made it to #70 in 1985, and that was the last time he charted.

There’s a definite 1980s synth pop feel to Despite Straight Lines, though the delivery is fairly straight forward – it lacks the excess much of the era’s pop hits, the structure remaining simpler and without the compulsion to fill every cubic inch of space with sound. Robinson was friends with Boy George, and there are certainly some similarities between his sound and that of Culture Club, though Marilyn’s brand of pop is more restrained. “Third Eye” has a strong gospel foundation and gives Marilyn’s voice an opportunity to shine in a way that is lacking on much of the rest of the album.