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2020 – Roisin Murphy : Murphy's law (Cosmodelica Remix)

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

Recorded by Irish singer Róisín Murphy and officially released on her fifth solo studio album, Róisín Machine, "Murphy's law" became a hit and, quickly, a "Balearic Breakfast" classic.

April 2020. The world was in a state of Shock. Locked in their homes, billions of people were forbidden to go out because a pandemic was going on... "Balearic Breakfast" was not born back then yet, but Colleen was lifting our spirits up with the Cosmodelica shows aired on Worldwidefm and on her socials. Still, there was something we didn't know: Colleen was working hard behind the scenes to cheer us up even more...

One evening, as I was scrolling my way down on Instagram, I fell on something that stopped me in my tracks. I went berserk and laughed like I never did before in my life (in fact, I still laugh when watching that video today with tears of joy in my eyes !)

Murphy vs Murphy !!! This just in!! Incredible @colleencosmomurphy remix of Murphy's Law! Please forgive the dancing, I just cannot believe all the incredible music that's pouring into my life right now! 🚀🚀🚀🚀🔥🔥🔥🔥💥💥💥🖤

Like thousands of other music fans, I could not believe the news. I could not control the happiness that was overwhelming me. This thing. That video. The vibe. The dancing. These two names, united together in such a dark moment of my life, were just like a sun outburst. I was experiencing something tremendously powerful. Was it real? Would this track be released on vinyl? When?! Where could I buy it? I could not handle this. I had to find Answers immediately (laughs!!). I think I played the short video 10 times in a row! And the comments on Rosin's Instagram went up, and up, and up... We were all so excited about what was happening in front of our eyes !!

To celebrate the song that gave so much Joy to so many people, here is its story...

I didn’t want to make new music, but I wanted to remix, and I thought ‘Murphy’s Law’ would be perfect. I’m such a fan of vocal music, the human voice is my favourite instrument, a well-crafted vocal to me can be so sublime, so transcendental. In ‘Murphy’s Law’ I could hear something else; I heard Prelude, post-disco, early 80s Gwen Gutherie, Unlimited Touch. And Róisin and I have a lot of the same friends even though we’ve not actually met in real life…
Colleen, Sisters of Murphy interview, 28/08/2020

The song "Murphy's law" was written by Roisin Murphy, Dean Honer, Michael Ward and Richard Barratt (who also produced it). It dealt with Murphy embracing her future, no matter the costs: "Well, the song is quite old, but it came to us in the studio, I think it was the only one we did in the studio together, the others were more remote. When I said, 'why don't we do one about Murphy's law?' it was like, 'Yeah, that's a really disco thing.' And then we tied it up with singing about Sheffield and leaving a small town and going and making myself. There's a lot of that on the album — that part of your life where you make yourself, where it comes time to do your own nurturing and decisions. Especially when you're youngish and you leave home. The biggest decision I ever made was to stay in Manchester when my parents broke up, and I was 15. And that 15-year-old is definitely in this one."

According to Roisin, the song was the most difficult one from the forthcoming album to finish : "We were there writing it thinking, "it's cheesy, but it's so strong." So we kept going with it. The whole track was in a different key, I kept singing it and it never felt right, and then I said, "well, stick it in another key and transpose it and I'll re-sing it." So he transposed it and we got this gender-bent vocal sound going and we haven't replaced it because we couldn't live without it. It felt like a perfect foil against the song."

What's interesting, in the first place, are the lyrics. When you read them, you feel like the song is really about the new start of a love story with a former lover :

It's Murphy's law, I'm gonna meet you tonight

Just one match could relight the flame

And just when everything is goin' alright

All my hard work goes down the drain

And Murphy's law, I'm gonna meet you tonight

Just one match could relight the flame

And just when everything is goin' alright

Murphy's law's gonna strike again

It's gonna strike again

It's gonna strike again

But then, of course, by reading the rest of the lyrics, you understand Roisin Murphy's point of view when she talks about leaving the town and making a new start. Still, to me, this song is mainly about a new chance on a love story!

Then comes the music! The original version of the song is very laid-back. You could effortlessly dance on it while having a beach party! It has a very Balearic soul indeed. Just listen to that funky rhythmic guitar (it's very discrete, so you must search for it in the mix ^^)! You can hear a similar groove on some of 'La Compagnie Créole' songs from the 80s'. Murphy's law is a groovy and sexy swinging song for sure!

As far as the sonic structure is concerned, the song hasn't a lot of dynamics; it's not an expansive track, everything is very controlled, detailed, there's a lot of unity in there. Yet, while being controlled, the sound keeps an open spirit, and you can hear the "cosmic" elements that may have drawn Colleen's interest!

Now, let's have a listen to Colleen's version :

The first thing you say goodbye to is the laid-back experience you had with the original track (laughs)! Colleen's version is rhythmically more robust, more in your face. It's a Mean track. One talking about success in trying again and even in failing again! There is that Latin expression that I like very much that says "Amor fati". To me, it's very close to the one of "Murphy's law": "Amor fati is a Latin phrase that may be translated as "love of fate" or "love of one's fate". It describes an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one's life, including suffering and loss, as good or, at the very least, necessary."

On the other hand, Murphy's law is about accepting that "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Some formulations even extend to "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time." In other words, let destiny do its work, try whatever happens, right? And to me, Colleen's version demonstrates that very well !! Embrace life, embrace your choices and go on, dance with yourself!

The sonic structure of Colleen's version is also very different from the original version. It has a lot of "silence"; the sound breathes, and you can picture yourself floating somewhere like Neil Armstrong among the planets bouncing around you! The kick aspect is definitely present (remember Murphy's kicks in ya face ? ^^); it makes you slap your feet and clap your hands! The dynamic aspect of Colleen's version also comes from that Piano playing! I mean, can a piano part be meaner than that ?! I've never heard such a punchy way of playing. I don't know who played that piano, but the man or the woman behind the keys deserves a round of applause, like Really !!

Last but not least, Colleen's version takes the reverb on Roisin Murphy's voice to another dimension. Yes, we're lost in space, for sure! Also, it seems Colleen's version has a lower volume with greater overall dynamics, but this does not stop the track from being an absolute belter; on the contrary!

Watch Roisin Murphy's interview with Colleen (Classic Album Sundays) :

Colleen's version has become an anthem, and the Balearic Breakfast Family always requests it with undisputed pleasure. Whenever Colleen plays it, we all have a blast. The last time was during the Woman's day special. Let's listen to how that party went! Keep on, keep on, keep on...

Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy and Roisin Murphy during classic album sundays

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