I was lucky to find a couple old Emergency Records 12” singles in a dollar bin last week, among them Shannon’s 1985 dance floor hit Do You Wanna Get Away (Long Version). The A-side is a pretty straightforward jam about using your work computer to look at porn. It’s pure electro-escapism wrapped up in a catchy hook: “Do you wanna get away? Do you want to escape? I can help you, I’m your lover!” The synths have that cold 80s digital edge, but Shannon’s voice is all warmth. Her question is an invitation to another world, to a better world. She can help you. She knows “a place in paradise where even time ain’t gonna find you.” Hell yeah sign me up.
The B-side, an extended dub mix, turns the track into something darker, heavier. Shannon’s voice opens in rushed echoes: “Get away! Getawaygetawaygetaway! Do you want to escape?” And yeah, I do want to escape, because I’m scared. I’m in the place where even time ain’t gonna find me and I don’t like it anymore. When Shannon asks “Where can I run to find an escape?” I feel like she’s mocking me, the stereo effects distorting my sense of space. Suddenly there’s no warmth to balance the harsh synths and my dance floor fantasy has become a paranoid cocaine nightmare.
The whole thing is a testament to the production skills of Emergency veterans Chris Barbosa and Mark Liggett. The dub mix doesn’t drastically rework the track – it’s instantly recognizable, with the hook right up front – but it does just enough to completely fuck the vibe. Listening to both sides back to back feels like a meditation on the short distance between desire and fear, somewhere out there on the edge of disco.