The Stranglers

[Verse 1]
Big girl in the red dress
She’s just trying to impress us
And she’s got the barley fever
But she doesn’t make a sound
She’s just hanging around
She’s just hanging around

[Verse 2]
Down the Court road early
With the Hustlers big and burly
There’s a million of 'em selling
And the buyers can be found
They’re just hanging around
They’re just hanging around

Christ he told his mother
Christ he told her not to bother
Cos he’s alright in the city
Cos he’s high above the ground
He’s just hanging around (hanging around)
He’s just hanging around (hanging around)
He’s just hanging around (hanging around)
He’s just hanging around (h

Though ”Hanging Around” was never released as a single, it is amongst the finer pop moments found on The Stranglers debut album, Rattus Norvegicus. In fact if it weren’t for singer Hugh Cornwell’s brash attitude and forceful delivery, the track could hardly be codified as first generation punk. The music is down right infectious, right from the anticipatory stagger of instruments in the intro to the jaunty bass line and bouncing organ. Even the guitars are on the clean side and drummer Jet Black keeps a steady mid-tempo groove peppered with tasty fills and dynamic accents. Never considered a technically great vocalist, Cronwell makes up for it with sheer attitude and dramatic phrasing that carry a visceral impact as he sings with a low throaty growl. The lyrics also contribute a dark edge, dealing mostly with the shady game of the drug cop, “Down the Court Road early / With the hustlers big’n burly / There’s a million of them selling / And the buyers can’t be found / They’re just hanging around / They’re just hanging around”. The backing vocals add an extra element of polish to the mix and provide contrast to Cornwell’s drawn out exaggeration of the title line repeated in each chorus that becomes one of the song’s biggest hooks. The chorus takes wing on the back of building drums and fluid keyboard runs. The arrangement also falls back into a more classic rock mode, giving ample space for a dueling guitar and keyboard solo before pushing through a last big chorus. ”Hanging Around” was amongst the first signs that The Stranglers were capable of something more than their label as nothing more than sexually preoccupied agitators that had quickly become their calling card.

Dave Brubeck Time: