Friday, February 29, 2008

509. The Birthday Party - Junkyard (1982)
















Track Listing


1. Blast Off
2. She's Hit
3. Dead Joe
4. The Dim Locator
5. Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow)
6. Several Sins
7. Big-Jesus-Trash-Can
8. Kiss Me Black
9. 6" Gold Blade
10. Kewpie Doll
11. Junkyard

Review

Ok, you can see why Blixa Bargeld would eventually join Nick Cave in a band, this album is strangely close to Einsturzende Neubaten's work, in fact it is possibly even harder to listen to.

Nick Cave sings from the guts here and that is where this album directly affects you, giving you that queasy feeling in the pit of your stomach that all the most guttural art does. Poor Birthday Party, coming from Australia to Britain because here they would be understood with bands like The Fall around... but as the set foot of the plane all was New Romantic.

Even if it weren't New Romantic time, I would find it extrmely hard for this album to ever rise to any kind of success. Yes this is interesting and quality music, but the appeal of the album is very limited. If you want to feel ill, this is a great album to listen to, there is none of the driving rhythms of Einsturzende, this is gloomy as gloomy can be. It makes Bauhaus seem positively cheery.

I must say it is even too much for me to stomach happily, Nick Cave would go on to make much more accessible albums without compromising artistic integrity. I guess we'll have to wait for them (and I can tell you now they are great).

Track Highlights

1. She's Hit
2. Several Sins
3. Dead Joe
4. Kewpie Doll

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The bulk of the album was recorded with Tony Cohen at Armstrong's Audio Visual (A.A.V.) Studios in Melbourne in December 1981 and January 1982. Additional tracks were recorded in London's Matrix Studios with punk producer Richard Mazda in May 1982. Mazda's previous work with ATV and The Fall had brought him to their attention. Later CD re-issues added the "Release the Bats/Blast Off!" single recorded at London's Townhouse Studio with Nick Launay in April 1981.

The album was a somewhat transitional record for a variety of reasons. In early 1982, Tracy Pew (the band's bass player) was serving an 8 month jail sentence in Australia, and so Barry Adamson was drafted in on bass duties for several tracks. Despite the fact that many of the band members were definitely 'under the influence' through the recording, the sessions resulted in a ground breaking album, full of "sound and fury".

Dead Joe:

Thursday, February 28, 2008

508. Michael Jackson - Thriller (1982)
















Track listing

1. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'
2. Baby Be Mine
3. Girl Is Mine - Jackson, Michael & Paul McCartney
4. Thriller
5. Beat It
6. Billie Jean
7. Human Nature
8. PYT (Pretty Young Thing)
9. Lady In My Life

Review

After such a promising album with Off The Wall Michael Jackson brings us the begging of the end. In this album you can start to see Jacko's sanity mask starting to slip. Unfortunately Jacko is not going crazy in an interesting way, in fact he is simply becoming detached from reality and increasingly childish.

If that was all we could have a good album, but this mostly grates on my nerves. The lyrics are beyond the pale, from Terry Schiavo love song Wanna Be Starting Something, to creepy in hindsight P.Y.T. complete with use of chipmunk voice, going through the horrible The Girl is Mine (has McCartney ever done a worthwhile collaboration?) it is all pretty bad lyrically. Then you have two special cases, Billy Jean tries to make you sympathise not with a single mother, but with the rich pop-star, and it feels wrong. Then Thriller is HORRIBLE but not in the way intended, the lyrics are horrid, and Vincent Price's monologue which attempts and fails to rhyme blood with neighbourhood is particularly grating.

And to think I gave a high grade to Off The Wall, this is lowest common denominator pop, even if it has a couple of good catchy tunes, its failings are such that I do not want to listen to this again. It has also dated terribly this album when compared to the previous one, this might have to do with the popularity of the songs but the arrangements are equally a problem.

Track Highlight

1. Wanna Be Starting Something
2. Beat It
3. Human Nature
4. Billie Jean

Final Grade

6/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Thriller is one of only three albums to remain in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 for a full year, spending 80 consecutive weeks there, 37 at #1. It was the first of three albums to have seven Billboard Hot 100 top-ten singles and the only album to date to be the best-seller of two years (1983-1984) in the USA. It still sells an estimated 130,000 units in the USA per year. In 2008, the Thriller album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Have to put Thriller on here, just because of its iconic powers. I would also like to know what the fuck is meant by Thriller here? Horror? Half-zombie, half-werewolves? Stupid, stupid lyrics. Oh and Vincent Price mentions the 'Thriller' goes out in search for blood, so a Vampire zombie Wereworlf? I quit:

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

507. Orange Juice - Rip It Up (1982)
















Track Listing

1. Rip It Up
2. Mud In Your Eye
3. Breakfast Time
4. Flesh Of My Flesh
5. Hokoyo
6. Million Pleading Faces
7. Turn Away
8. I Can't Help Myself
9. Louise Louise
10. Tenterhooks

Review

I kind of like this album, but it is a bit underwhelming. The band has very good credentials, the music is very pleasant and all, they are defined as post-punk but it is very much a post-punk bleeding into synth-pop and it doesn't work as spectacularly as it should.

The whole album kind of sits on a really great first track, Rip It Up, but from then it all feels slightly meh. It is never offensive or anything, it just doesn't fascinate me, it leaves me cold.

This is a band which has elements of pretty much everything, punk, synth, reggae, Nigerian music (the second track could have been Fela Kuti's)and there is a lot of potential here, but nothing that thrills, and it does seem to lose itself in its own variety. Sorry Orange Juice.

Track Highlights


1. Rip It Up
2. Breakfast Time
3. A Million Pleading Faces
4. I Can't Help Myself

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Orange Juice was a Scottish post punk band founded in the middle class Glasgow suburb of Bearsden as the Nu-Sonics in 1976. Edwyn Collins formed the Nu-Sonics (who were named after a cheap brand of guitar) with his fellow Bearsden Academy pupil, Alan Duncan, and James Kirk and Steven Daly left a band called The Machetes to join them. The band became Orange Juice in 1979. Orange Juice are perhaps best known for the hit "Rip It Up", which reached number 8 on the UK singles chart in February 1983, the band's only UK Top 40 hit.

Rip it Up:

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

506. Kate Bush - The Dreaming (1982)
















Track Listing

1. Sat In Your Lap
2. There Goes A Tenner
3. Pull Out The Pin
4. Suspended In Gaffa
5. Leave It Open
6. Dreamin'
7. Night Of The Swallow
8. All The Love
9. Houdini
10. Get Out Of My House

Review

Here we go with the first Kate Bush album on the list, I actually think that The Kick Inside should have been here, a great album with the possible exception of the overplayed Wuthering Heights. Now this album has no such problem of overplaying, and that makes it a more special experience.

I must say it is not only that but also the sheer strangeness of the music, that spread beauty and horror in such a great way that it soon stops sounding that strange as you get used to the album. The first impact will, however, be one of weirdness, but that is followed by a more mature appreciation of how great the music simply is.

Bush has always been an original performer, and in this album that originality comes to the fore, there is nothing else like it in the world, but there are plenty of imitators, you get glimpses of Tori Amos, Bjork, Goldfrapp and so many other things here, but of course none of those, great as they are in their own right, ever did anything exactly or even similar to this. This is a feast of experimentation that succeeds by being rooted in beauty rather than cerebral wankery. Strange and beautiful.

Track Highlights

All of them, but If I had to choose:

1. Houdini
2. Suspended in Gaffa
3. There Goes A Tenner
4. Get Out Of My House

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Bush was in her early twenties when making the album and tended to look outside herself for sources of inspiration. She drew on old crime films ("There Goes A Tenner"), a documentary about the war in Vietnam ("Pull Out The Pin"), the plight of Indigenous Australians ("The Dreaming"), the life of Houdini ("Houdini") and Stanley Kubrick's film of Stephen King's novel The Shining ("Get Out Of My House"). There are a few more personal tracks, though: the lead single, "Sat In Your Lap", examines feelings of self-doubt versus burning self-confidence and the search for a balance between the two, while "Leave It Open" speaks of the need to acknowledge and express the darker sides of one's personality (within the greater context of maintaining an open mind). Bush herself has called The Dreaming her "I've gone mad album".

Video for The Dreaming:

Monday, February 25, 2008

505. Haircut One Hundred - Pelican West (1982)















Track Listing


1. Favourite Shirt (Boy Meets Girl)
2. Love Plus One
3. Lemon Firebrigade
4. Marine Boy
5. Milk Film
6. Kingsize (You're My Little Steam Whistle)
7. Fantastic Day
8. Baked Beans
9. Snow Girl
10. Love's Got Me In Triangles
11. Surprise Me Again
12. Calling Captain Autumn

Review

This is a bit of a hit and miss album. There are some things to love here and then there are plenty of things to just go meh about. It is an inordinately top-heavy album seeing as the first three tracks are some of the best and then you only get really good stuff on the last track.

That being said it is an album which has not dated favourably in many of its tracks, the use of jazzy tunes is even more out-dated than the Donald Fagen album because it lacks the quality of The Nightfly. Haircut 100 are not a Jazz band, but they try... with not the best results.

So this album is not really something I would recommend but there are tracks here that I would definitely recommend, so look down at my Track Highlights, download those and that should have you sorted out.

Track Highlights

1. Love Plus One
2. Calling Captain Autumn
3. Lemon Firebrigade
4. Boy Meets Girl

Final Grade

7/10

Trivia

From Wikpedia:

Haircut 100 appeared just as new pop, a wave that continued for several years. They were quickly successful: their first single, 1981's "Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)" reached number four in the UK charts. Their next single, "Love Plus One", reached number three and broke the Top 40 in America.

Love Plus One:

Sunday, February 24, 2008

504. Donald Fagen - The Nightfly (1982)
















Track Listing

1. IGY
2. Green Flower Street
3. Ruby Baby
4. Maxine
5. New Frontier
6. Nightfly
7. Goodbye Look
8. Walk Between Raindrops

Review

Well, this was a strange album for several reasons, firstly it's lyrics and concept are brilliant, Donald Fagen writes brilliantly just as he did for Steely Dan and there is much of the same feel here, the concept of having songs about the 50's is also very well achieved. Unfortunately the music is quite dated even for 1982.

This sounds like a good Steely Dan album, and that is no bad thing, but it does jar a bit in the early 80's. It sounds slightly corny, but in a good way. And I think that's its good qualities greatly redeem its problems.

This is one of those albums that you need to let simmer in your mind, for some reason it only got to platinum in 2004, slow but steady wins the race. it's an album that people have kept buying since it came out but never in such spurts has to have made it a great hit. So if you want more Steely Dan this is definitely the place to come to. Otherwise I wouldn't necessarily bother.

Track Highlights

1. The Goodbye Look
2. New Frontier
3. Maxine
4. The Nightfly


Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Several of the songs are about events and settings from the 1950s. "I.G.Y." is about the optimism of the International Geophysical Year, "New Frontier" is about a party held in a backyard nuclear bomb shelter ("It's just a dugout that my dad built/ In case the Reds decide to push the button down"). The title of the song refers to John F. Kennedy's 1960 "New Frontier" presidential campaign slogan. "The Goodbye Look" is about a revolution on a Caribbean island, possibly Cuba.

In the UK the album was certified Platinum in 2004, despite only reaching #44 on the charts following its release. It has also gone platinum in America. This relatively low-key but long-lived popularity led the Wall Street Journal to dub the album "one of pop music's sneakiest masterpieces" upon the release of a 25th anniversary edition of "The Nightfly" in late 2007

New Frontier:

Saturday, February 23, 2008

503. Madness - Rise And Fall (1982)
















Track Listing

1. Rise And Fall
2. Tomorrow's Just Another Day
3. Blue Skinned Beast
4. Primrose Hill
5. Mr Speaker Gets The Word
6. Sunday Morning
7. Our House
8. Tiptoes
9. New Delhi
10. That Face
11. Calling Cards
12. Are You Coming (With Me)
13. Madness (It's All In The Mind)

Review

So we come to an album which is a bit more than a little inspired by The Kinks' Village Green Preservation Society, hell even the album title gives a nod to another Kinks album title. And then the concept is the same as many of the Kinks' albums, vignettes of British life.

Of course the whole thing is updated to the eighties, an era that for a certain level of society in Britain was just as depressing as the late 60's, with Thatcher fucking up the life of the common working man. So, much like The Jam, here come Madness with their musings on life in Britain.

The strange thing about British nostalgia, and I say this as an outsider who has lived here for a while, is the strange mix of nostalgia and disgust, the nostalgia for really shit times, because really they never had it as good, but wasn't it quaint when sugar was rationed?

Madness eschews their Ska past here and go for a more openly pop album, and the results are quite good, even if originality is not the buzzword in terms of concept, the arrangements kind of make up for it, with their heavy use of brass again giving that nostalgic feel for gazebo concerts and shit. It works.

Track Highlights


1. Our House
2. Primrose Hill
3, Madness (It's All In The Mind)
4. Rise And Fall

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

This album saw Madness at their most experimental, exhibiting a range of musical styles including jazz, English music hall and Eastern influences. NME described it at the time of its release as "The best Madness record". It has often been retrospectively described as a concept album. Though the album was never released in the USA, several tracks were later placed on the compilation Madness, including "Our House", their biggest stateside hit.

Our House:

Friday, February 22, 2008

502. Simple Minds - New Gold Dream (81-82-82-84) (1982)
















Track Listing

1. Someone Somewhere In Summertime
2. Colours Fly And Catherine Wheel
3. Promised You A Miracle
4. Big Sleep
5. Somebody Up There Likes You
6. New Gold Dream (81 82 83 84)
7. Glittering Prize
8. Hunter And The Hunted
9. King Is White And In The Crowd

Review

One thing I know is that I like this album, what I do not know however is just how much. It is kind of a strange feeling, I think it is pretty nifty stuff, the songs are great, have great hooks are never corny and I can now just about sing along with all of them, but there is just something nagging at the back of my brain.

It can be that this happens because this became the template for so much music coming out of the 80's that it feels like you kind of heard it all before, even if this wouldn't be true if you were listening to it for the first time in 82.

Simple Minds give synth-pop a more danceable beat that it has ever had before, there is a very strong bass line here throughout the album which actually really works in its favour marking a difference from what came before, but not much from what came later. Hell, it's a great album, I don't know what's wrong with me today. I don't like it enough for a 10, but surely enough for a 9.

Track Highlights


1. Someone, Somewhere, In Summertime
2. Hunter and the Hunted
3. Colours Fly and Catherine Wheel
4. New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84)

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album has a slick, sophisticated sound thanks to producer Peter Walsh, Simple Minds were soon categorized as part of the "New Romantic" outgrowth of New Wave (along with Duran Duran and others), and the record generated a handful of charting singles including "Promised You a Miracle" and "Glittering Prize", both of which became concert favorites over the years. In addition, the jazz keyboardist Herbie Hancock performed a synth solo on the track "Hunter and the Hunted."

Not my favourite in the album but Glittering Prize has an amazing video:

Thursday, February 21, 2008

501. Dexys Midnight Runners - Too-Rye-Ay (1982)
















Track Listing

1. Celtic Soul Brothers
2. Let's Make This Precious
3. All In All (This One Last Wild Waltz)
4. Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)
5. Old
6. Plan B
7. I'll Show You
8. Liars A To E
9. Until I Believe In My Soul
10. Come On Eileen

Review

By now you must all know what a big fan of Dexys I am, and this album is no exception, it has the only song that the Dexys are famous for on the other side of the Atlantic, the anthemic Come On Eileen, which even if it has been ruined by overplaying is still a great track.

When listening to this album, however you must definitely go beyond Eileen, the whole album is a gem. The biggest change here from their previous album is the fact that they have included a bunch of fiddlers along with the brass. The first song kind of describes the sound, Celtic Soul.

This is a tremendously original album there was nothing like it before or after, with the possible exception of other Dexys albums. And it is great, Kevin Rowland was one of the most original minds working in the early 80's pop-scene and this album is unmissable.

Track Highlights


1. Come On Eileen
2. Until I Believe in My Soul
3. Jackie Wilson Said (I'm In Heaven When You Smile)
4. Let's Make This Precious

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"Come on Eileen" became number 1 in both the UK and the US and Dexys Midnight Runners is best known only as a one hit wonder in the United States; however, in the United Kingdom, Geno had already reached Number One, and the band also had hits with "There, There, My Dear" and "Jackie Wilson Said (I'm in Heaven When You Smile)".

You've all seen Come on Eileen so here goes the (in)famous performance of Jackie Wilson Said on Top Of The Pops 2:

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

500. The Cure - Pornography (1982)
















Track Listing


1. One Hundred Years
2. Short Term Effect
3. Hanging Garden
4. Siamese Twins
5. Figurehead
6. Strange Day
7. Cold
8. Pornography

Review

We've finally reached the midway point in this thing, album 500! And this is an album which will raise my page hits to no end, finally adding the word Pornography to the site. Now whoever searches for "Robert Smith Porn" can find their way here! Actually I don't think there is any Robert Smith porn, and if there is I don't particularly want to see it, unless it is from when he was young when he was actually quite attractive. Moving on.

This is by no means the best Cure album on the list. That said, it is definitely a slow-burner and I have been liking it more and more the more I listen to it. To the point where I started feeling quite underwhelmed by it and now I quite like it.

There are some faults to point to here, it is a bit derivative of Joy Division particularly on the bass lines, but that is really not a tremendous criticism as Joy Division was great. On the other hand it really works as one of the darkest Cure albums ever, none of the sunny Robert Smith of later years here, this is all gloom. And I love me some gloom.

Track Highlights

1. The Hanging Gardens
2. A Strange Day
3. Siamese Twins
4. Pornography

Final Grade

8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Often cited as the most disturbing product of The Cure, the album's opening lyrical line is "It doesn't matter if we all die".

Despite the fact that very few critics in the British press gave the album a favorable review, Pornography charted well in the UK and has gained much more respect over the years, now considered one of the key Gothic rock albums of all time.

Pornography is also the last Cure album to feature founding band member Laurence Tolhurst as the band's drummer. He became the band's keyboardist and this also marks the first time he played keyboards on a release by The Cure.

The Hanging Garden, sorry for the poor sound-synch but that's the fault of whoever put it up:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

499. Elvis Costello - Imperial Bedroom (1982)
















Track Listing

1. Beyond Belief
2. Tear Before Bedtime
3. Shabby Doll
4. The Long Honeymoon
5. Man Out Of Time
6. Almost Blue
7. ...And In Every Home
8. The Loved Ones
9. Human Hands
10. Kid About It
11. Little Savage
12. Boy With A Problem
13. Pidgin English
14. You Little Fool
15. Town Cryer

Review

Could this album be even better than Armed Forces? Maybe I am not sure, it is actually quite a different fish but equally as good. Here Costello goes for the big production using all the tricks in the box with some amazing arrangements and the costumary great lyrics.

It is hard not to like this album, even if you are not a fan of Elvis Costello this is just so well crafted that it is very complicated not to admire it. So, even if you didn't get Armed Forces this might be the one to start you off and then go listen to Armed Forces again.

So you can probably tell I really liked this. This is Elvis at both his most experimental, but also most accessible and also at his best. 1982 has been a pretty nifty year up until now, there are a couple of bad clouds on the horizon but I think it will turn out to be a good year.

Track Highlights


1. Man Out Of Time
2. Shabby Doll
3. Town Cryer
4. ... And In Every Home

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It was voted as the best album of the year in The Village Voice Pazz & Jop critics poll. In 1998 readers of Q magazine named it the 96th greatest album ever. In 1989, it was ranked #38 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s. In 2003, the album was ranked number 166 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. The album reached number 6 in the U.K. charts and number 30 in the U.S., but none of the singles charted.

Am I the only one reminded of Rufus Wainwright by this track? Man Out Of Time:

Monday, February 18, 2008

498. Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five - The Message (1982)
















Track Listing

1. She's Fresh
2. It's Nasty
3. Scorpio
4. It's A Shame
5. Dreamin'
6. You Are
7. Message
8. The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel

Review

So it's very much unlike a lot of hip-hop. It's smart, funny, innovative, thoughtful and fun. And it is all of these in spades. This is just an amazing album, Grandmaster Flash is responsible for the development of many of the techniques used by DJ's from then until now and here they are brought almost to their perfect state.

It is an amazingly funny album, the lyrics of almost all the songs will make you laugh, with the notable exception of what is probably the best track, The Message, one of Grandmaster Flash's most famous along with White Lines.

The sampling is inspired from Tom Tom Club to Queen through the Incredible Bongo Band and Chic. This is pretty amazing stuff running a gamut from electronica in Scorpio to Stevie Wonder ballad tribute in Dreamin'. The whole thing is a Dj's/rapper's delight.

Track Highlights


1. The Message
2. It's A Shame
3. Scorpio
4. It's Nasty

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

"The Message" is an old school hip hop song by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five released in 1982. The song's lyrics were some of the first in the genre of rap to talk about the struggles and the frustrations of living in the ghetto. The song was written by Sugar Hill session musician Ed "Duke Bootee" Fletcher and Furious Five MC Melle Mel. Flash and the other members of The Furious Five, although credited on the record, were uninterested in recording the song and are not found on the finished record.

The Message:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

497. Prince - 1999 (1982)
















Track Listing


1. 1999
2. Little Red Corvette
3. Delirious
4. Let's Pretend We're Married
5. DMSR
6. Automatic
7. Something In The Water (Does Not Compute)
8. Free
9. Lady Cab Driver
10. All The Critics Love U In New York
11. International Love

Review

I love Prince, I've always loved Prince and I don't know why the diminutive Jehovah's Witness has that effect on me, but he made some of the most danceable music out of the whole of the 80's. And this album is a perfect example of that.

The album kind of blows its load in the first two tracks, but there is more than enough left to make it an overall great album, also the first two tracks always seem better because they were such hit singles. The rest of the album is extremely impressive as well.

Only 11 songs that stretch out to almost 70 minutes and this just goes to show what extended tracks they are, punk this ain't. But this album is as influential on the music of the next 30 years as any punk album, the funk mixed with the R&B, pop and dance music just make it work on so many levels and it works great on all of those levels. And the lyrics are some of the dirtiest put to record and that's just another plus.

Track Highlights


1. Little Red Corvette
2. 1999
3. Let's Pretend We're Married
4. DMSR

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

While "Little Red Corvette" helped Prince cross over to the wider (white) rock audience, the rest of the album retains the elements of previous albums and is dominated by funk and synthesizer dance tracks. The album is, however, notable amongst Prince's catalogue for its wide variety of imagery and themes besides the sexual themes that had already become something of a trademark on previous albums. "Automatic," extending to almost ten minutes, starts side 3 of the album with a cocktail of synthesizers and bawdy bondage-inspired lyrical imagery which, transplanted to the music video for the track (with a scene that depicted Prince being tied up and whipped by band-members Lisa Coleman and Jill Jones), was, in 1983, considered too hot for MTV. "Free" is a delicate piano ballad expressing patriotism, while "Something in the Water (Does Not Compute)", an ode to a harsh lover, is the centerpiece of a preoccupation with Computer Age themes that would continue into future albums. This "computer" theme is also reflected in the album's instrumentation, with Prince fully embracing the gadgetry and sounds of emergent electro-funk and '80's sequencing technology on tracks like "Let's Pretend We're Married" and "All the Critics Love U in New York," songs that widen his use of synthesizers and effects and prominently feature his noted uses of the Linn drum machine.

No Prince videos. EVER. Because despite being a great musician he is also an ass.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

496. ABC - The Lexicon Of Love (1982)

















Track Listing


1. Show Me
2. Poison Arrow
3. Many Happy Returns
4. Tears Are Not Enough
5. Valentine's Day
6. Look of love (part one)
7. Date Stamp
8. All Of My Heart
9. 4 Ever 2 Gether
10. The look of love (part four)

Review

Finally we get to 1982, where theoretically stuff should be in my own living memory, well not really until 1984 as my early memories are from when I was two. Never mind, I was born. And what does my year start with? Some kick ass new-romantics that's what!

I have a kind of love hate relationship with synth-pop, because I hate to love it as much as I do. It is not fashionable, it is not smart etc. but I grew up on this and even if I am at times cringing at some tackier moments in the music the truth is I love it.

But there are good reasons to love it, the production on this is pretty much perfect, Trevor Horn does one of his best jobs on this, just take the strings on The Look Of Love and you'll get what I mean. Actually they were so proud of the strings they actually add a track with just the strings at the end of the album, heh. And the lyrics are great delivered with proper emotion by Martin Fry, it is just a perfect piece of 80's pop that you can only love.

Track Highlights


1. The Look Of Love (part one)
2. Poison Arrow
3. Many Happy Returns
4. Valentine's Day

Final Grade


9/10


Trivia

From Wikipedia:

It is a concept album in which the singer experiences heartache as he tries and fails to have a meaningful relationship. It was produced by Trevor Horn and featured orchestration by future Art of Noise member Anne Dudley.

Most of the production team and sessions players listed below would form the basis for the ZTT label, and their work with Horn meant all concerned would be in constant demand throughout the industry in years to come. "Tears Are Not Enough" (in its initial release produced by Steve Brown), "All of My Heart", "Poison Arrow", and "The Look of Love (Part One)" were all Top 20 hits in the UK; the last two also charted in the US. The album reached #1 on the British charts, and peaked at #24 in the U.S. charts.

In 2004, a deluxe 2-disc reissue including outtakes and early demos and a live performance of the album from 1982 was released on the Neutron label.

In 1998, Q magazine readers voted The Lexicon of Love the 92nd greatest album of all time. In 2000 the same magazine placed it at number 40 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.

The woman who says "Goodbye" in "The Look of Love (Part One)" is the woman who dumped Martin Fry and this album is about his feelings of outrage about it. The idea of getting her to do that part of the song came from producer Trevor Horn

The Look Of Love (part one):

Friday, February 15, 2008

495. Abba - The Visitors (1981)
















Track Listing

1. Visitors
2. Head Over Heels
3. When All Is Said And Done
4. Soldiers
5. I Let The Music Speak
6. One Of Us
7. Two For The Price Of One
8. Slipping Through My Fingers
9. Like An Angel Passing Through My Room

Review

I didn't hate the first track, it seemed the start of a not bad album, but it wasn't. It's Valentine's night, gotta go bone my wife. Bye.

Track Highlights

1. The Visitors

Final Grade

6/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

With The Visitors, ABBA took several steps away from the "lighter" pop music they had done before. The album is regarded as a complex and mature effort. The opening track, "The Visitors", with its mysterious synthesizer sounds and the distinct lead vocal by Anni-Frid Lyngstad, announced a change in musical style. Even though Benny Andersson has said that the recording of The Visitors was sometimes difficult, the results that came out of the recording sessions were fantastic. Other stand out tracks on the album include the powerful "When All Is Said and Done", the operatic "I Let The Music Speak", and the magical "Like An Angel Passing Through My Room" (a rare ABBA song), consisting only of Frida's voice and Benny's synth.

The Visitors:

Thursday, February 14, 2008

494. Rush - Moving Pictures (1981)
















Track Listing


1. Tom Sawyer
2. Red Barchetta
3. YYZ
4. Limelight
5. Camera Eye
6. Witch Hunt
7. Vital Signs

Review

What can I say? I got some flack for my previous review of Rush's 2112 and this album is actually better. While still being pretty bad. Rush have now embraced electronica a lot more that in previous albums, but they embraced it in much the same way as they were being embraced in the mid-70's nothing is particularly new here.

Geddy Lee's voice is most definitely the worse thing about the album, making YYZ the only bearable song in the bunch, as it is an instrumental. Lee just has such an outdated and over-emotional singing style that even if he has overcome some of the shrillness from the 2112 era it is not much better.

The lyrics remain pompous but not as laughable as in 2112, at least there is no silly Sci-Fi concept here, thank God for small mercies. I am really happy to let this album go, however and as it is the last Rush album on the list I hope never to have to listen to their over-blown pompous crap again.

Track Highlights

1. YYZ
2. Tom Sawyer
3. Red Barchetta
4. Vital Signs

Final Grade


5/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Work on the album began in August 1980 at Stony Lake, Ontario. "The Camera Eye" was the first to be written, followed by "Tom Sawyer," "Red Barchetta," "YYZ," and "Limelight." "Tom Sawyer" grew from a melody that Lee had been using to set up his synthesizers at sound checks, then was forgotten until they were searching for a part in that song. The intro for "YYZ", the IATA code for Pearson International Airport in Toronto, was inspired by the airport Morse code sent out by a beacon at the lake. Then at Phase One studios with producer Terry Brown, they began recording demos. "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight" were then polished in October by playing them live on a warm-up tour (although both songs had slightly different arrangements on the album than were played on the tour). Then they started the main recording at Le Studio in Quebec. "Red Barchetta" was recorded in one take, while others took many. They had problems with equipment failures and finished three days behind schedule.

YYZ:

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

493. Tom Tom Club - Tom Tom Club (1981)
















Track Listing

1. Wordy rappinghood
2. Genius of love
3. Tom Tom theme
4. L'elephant
5. As above so below
6. Lorelei
7. On on on on
8. Booming and Zooming

Review

Well before the two quite bad albums that are coming up next we are getting what is probably the most original album of 1981 and one of the best of that year. Tom Tom Club is just completely different for 1981. This is the side project of Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads and they actually manage to make an album which is better than most Talking Heads albums.

This starts off with Wordy Rappinghood a song which basically is the template for the whole career of CSS and then immediately followed by the instantly recognisable Genius Of Love, a track that has been sampled endlessly over the years and it is still better than anything that ever sampled it. It is hard to follow those two songs successfully but the album manages with strong track after strong track.

This is a mix of hip-hop, funk and experimentation that is just a delight from beginning to end and frankly an essential album that I didn't know before and that I am very thankful to the list for showing me. Thanks List. Thist.

Track Highlights


1. Wordy Rappinghood
2. Genius Of Love
3. Booming And Zooming
4. On On On On

Final Grade


10/10

Trivia


From Wikipedia:

"Genius of Love" has been sampled or reinterpreted by many artists, including rapper Redman, Funkdoobiest, and Mariah Carey in her hit single "Fantasy". "It's Nasty" (1982) by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five was one of the early rap versions of the song - however, the sample was re-recorded by a live band, as was common practice at the time. Another version, "Genius Rap" (1981), by Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde was the first version.

Early pressings of their first album featured short versions of "Genius of Love" and "Wordy Rappinghood" but to capitalise on the club success of these songs, Island reissued the album with the full 12" versions in 1982. A new single "Under the Boardwalk", which was the group's second and final UK hit, replaced another song "Booming and Zooming".

Genius Of Love, great piece of 80's animation:

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

492. Bobby Womack - The Poet (1981)




















Track Listing

1. So Many Sides Of You
2. Lay Your Lovin' On Me
3. Secrets
4. Just My Imagination
5. Stand Up
6. Games
7. If You Think You're Lonely Now
8. Where Do We Go From Here

Review

I am quite torn on this album, the first time I heard it it just felt like such a throwback to the great albums of Marvin Gaye like Let's Get It On that I was kind of disliking it for its lack of innovation or having anything new to say.

Innovation is not what all albums live off, however and a few days later the album has actually grown on me, it is quite a competent Jazz/R&B mix that is here, the songs are appropriately catchy and summery as they should be, and the album has no pretensions, but that is all right by me.

In the end Bobby Womack's The Poet came out 6 or 7 years too late for its own good, but it is still a very enjoyable album, and a very competent one as well, if only it hadn't suffered by such shit timing, the contrast with what surrounds it is just too great to consider it much more than a throwback, but it is still good.

Track Highlights

1. If You Think You're Lonely Now
2. Just My Imagination
3. So Many Sides Of You
4. Stand Up

Final Grade


8/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

Bobby Womack's 1981 album The Poet was a surprise hit and contained the hit single "If You Think You're Lonely Now." K-Ci Hailey, a notable admirer of Womack's work, covered "If You Think You're Lonely Now" in 1994. The song is referenced in Mariah Carey's song "We Belong Together", a number-one hit in June 2005. Carey sings "I can't sleep at night / When you are on my mind / Bobby Womack's on the radio / Singing to me: 'If you think you're lonely now.'"

If You Think You're Lonely Now, with a very feeble Richard Pryor in the audience:

Monday, February 11, 2008

491. Bauhaus - Mask (1981)
















Track Listing


1. Hair Of The Dog
2. Passions Of Lovers
3. Of Lilies And Remains
4. Hollow Hills
5. Dancin'
6. Kick In The Eye
7. Muscle In Plastic
8. In Fear Of Fear
9. Man With The X Ray Eyes
10. Mask

Review

I keep on being a sucker for so called "goth" music or what should be more properly called dark post-punk, Bauhaus are no exception and even if we are missing the smash hit that launched a 1000 self-mutilators, Bela Lugosi's Dead which came out as a single and not part of an album, we do get Mask, one of Bauhaus best efforts.

The album is at the same time a stark, experimental and quite beautiful affair. Bauhaus are not afraid to try out new sounds and distortions, while adding touches of beauty. A fine example of this is the great title track, which adds some great classical guitar to a track which is composed mainly of noises and Murphy's beautiful voice.

Of course Bauhaus are an incredibly theatrical band, at times it is hard to see if they actually take themselves seriously or not, Of Lillies And Remains is surely a joke, but I am not so sure about Passion Of Lovers, but this all adds to their mystique. Great Album.

Track Highlights


1. Mask
2. Passion Of Lovers
3. Hollow Hills
4. Kick In The Eye

Final Grade

10/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The original artwork for the album was a gatefold sleeve, with blue text on the inside and a stark black and white image of the band, on later editions this inside was replaced with white text and a montage from the promotional video for the song 'Mask'.

The video for Mask, so pretentious:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

490. The Gun Club - Fire Of Love (1981)

















Track Listing

1. Sex Beat
2. Preaching the Blues
3. Promise Me
4. She's Like Heroin to Me
5. For the Love of Ivy
6. Fire Spirit
7. Ghost on the Highway
8. Jack on Fire
9. Black Train
10. Cool Drink of Water Blues
11. Goodbye Johnny

Review

If you like the Cramps you'll love this, if you didn't like The Cramps this is much, much better. The rockabilly sound is much more developed here to include some interesting elements form country and frankly the songs are musch more distinct from each other.

The Gun Club makes some really great music which is pretty much unlike anything on the list until now and I imagine after this. It is not however, strange, its just different. Also make sure that you give this album enough time to sink down into your mind, it needs many repeated listenings. I am really liking it now, but the first 3 or 4 times left me kind of cold.

Suddenly, however the music clicks somewhere in your brain and you know that you got there and you really like The Gun Club. Do listen to it.

Track Highlights

1. She's Like Heroin To Me
2. Jack On Fire
3. For The Love Of Ivy
4. Sex Beat

Final Grade


9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The Gun Club was formed by Jeffrey Lee Pierce, former head of the Blondie fan club in Los Angeles, who sang lead and played guitar, Brian Tristan, who later renamed himself Kid Congo Powers, lead guitar, Don Snowden (who was at the time a music critic for the Los Angeles Times) played bass; and Brad Dunning who was on drums. The core members of the original group (Pierce, Tristan/Powers and Dunning) had parted ways with Pleasant Gehman who was the lead singer for their short lived rockabilly band The Cyclones to form the band. The group was initially called The Creeping Ritual before settling on "The Gun Club", a name suggested by Circle Jerks singer Keith Morris.

Jack on Fire, also check out the Blanche version of this:

Saturday, February 09, 2008

489. The Human League - Dare! (1981)
















Track Listing


1. Things That Dreams Are Made Of
2. Open Your Heart
3. Sound Of The Crowd
4. Darkness
5. Do Or Die
6. Get Carter
7. I Am The Law
8. Seconds
9. Love Action (I Believe In Love)
10. Don't You Want Me

Review


When people ask you to give them a list of 80's songs, I would bet that many of us would have Don't You Want Me in the top 10, along with Rio and Take On Me as one of the most recognisable ones. It is surprising therefore that it is included in an album which is actually much better than that song.

The immediate first impression of Dare! is one of doubt, is this a good album or just 80's swill? But repeated listening inform you on why this is actually a great album, these songs subtly burrow down into your mind in such a way that by the third time you hear them you know it all by heart, catchy is an understatement.

But then this isn't just a simple pop album, there is a darkness present in the mood of the whole album that takes it to a whole different level, it is not the wilful perversion of morals of Soft Cell, it is something different, quite depressed while putting on a brave face.

This is a weird mix of the good and the very good often masked as 80s lowest common denominator pop, but it is just so much more.

Track Highlights

1. Love Action (I Believe In)
2. The Things That Dreams Are Made Of
3. The Sound Of The Crowd
4. Don't You Want Me

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The album was named after a Vogue magazine cover and is also incorporated into the lyrics of the song "Things That Dreams are Made Of". Philip Oakey explained the story behind the album name at the time:

"I like it because The Mekons used to have a song called ‘Dan Dare’. In fact it (album name) was ripped off from a cover of Vogue about two and a half years ago. They had a whole series of covers which featured just one word like ‘Success’ , ‘Red’, and ‘Dare’. I shouldn’t say that should I?"

Almost universally critically acclaimed in the UK, the album featured strongly in the year end polls for 1981. Noted music critic Paul Morley wrote in the NME, ...in many ways it challenges the very conventions of pop music and the essence of innovation. What is it all for? I think that ‘Dare!’ is one of the great popular music LPs.

The album's critical success was also echoed commercially as it sold in huge numbers taking it quickly to number one in the UK album charts in early November 1981. It was expected to be the finish to an enormously successful year for the band. But because of its extraordinary commercial success Virgin executive Simon Draper decided he wanted lift yet another single from the album before the end of 1981.

Draper's choice would be the track "Don't You Want Me", the conflicting male/female duet about jealousy and sexual obsession that Oakey had recorded with teenage backing singer Susanne Sulley. Oakey was unhappy with the decision and originally fought it, he believed it was the weakest track on Dare and for that reason it had been relegated to the last track in the B-side of the vinyl album. Oakey was eventually overruled by Virgin. Although Oakey believed the track wasn't good enough to be a single, it would go on to become the band's greatest ever hit, selling millions of copies worldwide and becoming the 25th highest ever selling single in the UK.

Love Action:

Friday, February 08, 2008

488. The Psychedelic Furs - Talk, Talk, Talk (1981)




















Track Listing


1. Dumb Waiters
2. Pretty In Pink
3. I Wanna Sleep With You
4. No Tears
5. Mr Jones
6. Into You Like A Train
7. It Goes On
8. So Run Down
9. All Of This And Nothing
10. She Is Mine

Review

Everyone knows the second track on this album, well 5 years after the album came out at least, when the film of the same name came out, but I am sure that most of you are less familiar with the album that that track comes from.

Let me elucidate you, it is all pretty good despite no track being better than Pretty In Pink, but that's because there are few tracks in the world better than it... I love the 80's. There are several things that hook you in to this album, first and foremost is the voice of the vocalist, he is just fun to mimic while singing along to the music on the thing. Another thing that hooks you in is the smart use of sax, not used as well in rock since Roxy Music.

Then there is a whole blase attitude to sex and relationships on the lyrics which is quite refreshing, this guy likes sex and women but finds relationships to be a load of trouble. Fair enough. So there are such subtle titles as Into You Like A Train or I Wanna Sleep With You which kind of forcibly put their point across. Great Album.

Track Highlight

1. Pretty In Pink
2. Mr. Jones
3. Into You Like A Train
4. Dumb Waiters

Final Grade

9/10

Trivia

From Wikipedia:

The band splintered in the early 1990s, with the Butler brothers going on to found Love Spit Love. After spending most of the decade apart, Butler, Butler and Ashton re-formed The Psychedelic Furs in 2000, and released a live album Beautiful Chaos: Greatest Hits Live, which also featured a new studio recording, "Alive (For Once In My Lifetime)." A DVD version of the performance included live versions of "Alive" and three other previously unreleased songs: "Anodyne (Better Days)," "Cigarette" and "Wrong Train."

Pretty In Pink, the album, not film version: