Song 139: The English Beat “Save It For Later” (1982)


Another one for the “so simple, but so great” category. The entirety of “Save It For Later” is three chords, yet the English Beat (known in the U.K. only as “The Beat”; it was changed here because Americans are easily confused) stuffed the song with strings, saxophones, and sexual puns.

It takes a couple listens (it did for me, anyway) to realize that the lyrics of “Save It For Later” contain a filthy joke: “hold my hand while I come… to a decision on it”, which makes the preceding “Two dozen other dirty lovers must be a sucker for it” more than a little risqué. And awesome.

I first heard this song as a cover by Harvey Danger, which is kind of embarrassing to admit, but what are you gonna do (I stand by my love for Harvey Danger, though). I sought out the English Beat version and realized that these were the same dudes that did “Mirror In the Bathroom,” which initially struck me as strange: that song is jagged and ska-driven, and “Save It For Later” is the very definition of pop music, with no rough edges. It’s like two different bands.

Speaking of covers, many bands have covered this song. I don’t know if that’s because its three-chord structure makes it fun and simple to play with, or just because it’s a good song. Either way, it’s a fun one to randomly hear pop up, because it never gets old. I guess fellatio jokes, like classy string arrangements and pretty melodies, are like that.


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