Cambodia (song)

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Kim Wilde - Cambodia.jpg
Single by Kim Wilde
from the album Select
B-side"Watching for Shapes"
Released2 November 1981
GenreSynthpop, new wave
Length3:56 (7" Version)
7:13 (Album Version, including "Reprise")
Songwriter(s)Ricky Wilde, Marty Wilde
Producer(s)Ricky Wilde
Kim Wilde singles chronology
"Water on Glass"
"View from a Bridge"

"Cambodia" is the fourth single by British singer Kim Wilde. It was released at the end of 1981; a year in which Wilde had already scored three highly successful hit singles and a best-selling debut album.

The single was another international success, topping the charts in France, Sweden and Switzerland and hitting the top ten in several other nations. It was released on the 7" format but also as a 12" single in Germany, although not in a remixed or extended version. The B-side of both releases was an exclusive non-album track called "Watching for Shapes".

"Cambodia" was later included on Wilde's second album, Select, which was released six months after the single in May 1982. The album version of "Cambodia" runs for 7:13 minutes, as it is teamed with a more uptempo instrumental version of the song, called "Reprise".

Musically and lyrically, "Cambodia" showed a change in direction for Wilde from the new wave feel of her debut album. The song was mainly synth-driven, with oriental-sounding percussion.

The lyrics were inspired by the Operation Menu bombing campaign of Cambodia by the United States during the Vietnam War.

It has sold 1,080,000 copies in France.[1]


"Cambodia" was written by Marty Wilde and Ricki Wilde and has a length of seven minutes and thirteen seconds. The Independent's Chris Mugan found the song reminiscent of a film noir.[2] Stewart Mason of AllMusic noted that the song lacks the bubblegum pop influence present on Wilde's self-titled debut album, and is instead more synthesizer-driven.[3] Matt James of PopMatters felt that the song was an attempt by Kim Wilde to prove that she could tackle serious issues, leading the way for The Human League's "The Lebanon" in 1984 and Sting's "Russians" in 1985.[4]

Critical reception[edit]

According to Yahoo!, songs like "Cambodia", "View from a Bridge" (1982) and Wilde's version of "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (1986) brought her "very close to [the] hearts" of Australians.[5] The Independent's Chris Mugan deemed the song one of Wilde's "eighties classics" alongside "Kids in America".[2] In the Encyclopedia of Popular Music, Colin Larkin opined that Wilde tried "a more adventurous sound" with "Cambodia," indicating that she was "an exciting talent."[6] The Ipswich Star's Wayne Savage said that "Cambodia" and "Chequered Love" (1981) are "seminal smashes" which prove that Wilde "struck gold more often than not."[7] Vogue's Rachel Hahn called the song an "underrated classic".[8]

Stewart Mason of AllMusic noted that "Kim Wilde's second album didn't score any hits on the level of the debut's 'Kids in America,' although the dramatic 'Cambodia' was a sort of cult favorite in some circles."[3] Writing for the same website, John Bush called the track a "fan favorite" and an "odd, chilling attempt to record a dirge for Southeastern Asia."[9] In The Legacies of Jean-Luc Godard, Douglas Morrey wrote that "'Cambodia' is not...a particularly moving record". In his review of The Singles Collection 1981–1993 in All Music Guide to Rock: The Definitive Guide to Rock, Pop, and Soul, Mike DeGagne wrote that "Only the unbecoming 'Cambodia' and the hollowed out 'Child Come Away' should be avoided on this collection, as both lack the spirit that Wilde usually packs."

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Cambodia" (3:56)
  2. "Watching for Shapes" (3:42)


Cover versions[edit]

  • A music theme was used in 1985 Czecho-Slovak movie Tretí šarkan.
  • Swedish doom metal band Enigmatic released a cover in 1996.
  • German DJ Pulsedriver released a cover of the song in 2001 and a remake in 2013.
  • One-shot Belgian trance project Nobody released a cover of the song in 2003.
  • In 2004, the Italodance project Brothers released a b-side to the single "Memories", called "This Is" and based on the song's music.
  • Apoptygma Berzerk's 2005 album You and Me Against the World includes a cover version of the song.
  • The Swedish Death'N'Roll band Hearse released a cover of the song in 2004 on their album Armageddon, Mon Amour.
  • An Italian house remix of the song was featured in the 2005 compilation album by Gigi D'Agostino, Disco Tanz.
  • The German dance group Scooter covered the song on their 2007 album Jumping All Over the World. Jumpstyle artist Vorwerk also covered this song.
  • In 2008 Serbian punk rock band Six Pack recorded a version on their cover album Discover.
  • In 2009 Dutch DJ Marco V released a track called "Coma Aid" incorporating a re-recorded version of the song's main synthesizer tune.
  • In 2016 Swedish duo Kurz covered the song on their debut album Vol 1.
  • In 2017 punk rock band Brutto covered the song on their third album Roki.
  • In 2019 hardstyle producers Ran-D, Frequencerz, and Adaro made a cover named "Battleborn".
  • In 2019 Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, in collaboration with the Dutch-Turkish DJ Ummet Ozcan and the Dutch DJ Brennan Heart, released a bigroom and hardstyle cover of the song with the name, "Beast (All as One)".
  • In 2020 the Austrian singer Anna-Sophie[33] released a cover version in pop / EDM style.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Mugan, Chris (23 December 2013). "Kim Wilde, gig review: 'poised halfway between sparkly housewife and down-to-earth celeb'". The Independent. Retrieved 16 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Mason, Stewart. "Kim Wilde Select review". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 10 May 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ James, Matt (12 November 2012). "Parallels: XII". PopMatters. Retrieved 16 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Kim Wilde & Howard Jones Return to Australia". Yahoo! News. 4 October 2016. Retrieved 16 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). Encyclopedia of Popular Music. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9780857125958. Retrieved 16 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Savage, Wayne (10 March 2018). "My kids ignore my music advice laughs 80s chart-topper Kim Wilde ahead of Ipswich and Southend shows". Ipswich Star. Retrieved 16 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Hahn, Rachel (5 October 2018). "Listen to a Playlist of Paris Fashion Week's Best Runway Music". Vogue. Retrieved 16 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Bush, John. "The Very Best of Kim Wilde". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 16 March 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 337. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  11. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  12. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  15. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Cambodia". Irish Singles Chart.
  16. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 8, 1982" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  17. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  18. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia". Top 40 Singles.
  19. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia". VG-lista.
  20. ^ "SA Charts 1965 – 1989 Songs C–D". South African Rock Lists. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  21. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia". Singles Top 100.
  22. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia". Swiss Singles Chart.
  23. ^ "Kim Wilde: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  24. ^ " – Kim Wilde – Cambodia". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
  25. ^ "Kent Music Report No 445 – 3 January 1983 > National Top 100 Singles for 1982". Kent Music Report, via Retrieved 1 January 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  26. ^ "Jahreshitparade Singles 1982" (in German). Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  27. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1982" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  28. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1982". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
  29. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1982" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  30. ^ "Top 20 Hit Singles of 1982". South African Rock Lists. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  31. ^ "Swiss Year-End Charts 1982" (in German). Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Singles–Jahrescharts 1982" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  33. ^ Anna-Sophie