Sunday, January 08, 2012

Life Songs: the ’80s part two

I’m back! Sick as a dog, can’t go out (missing a gorgeous day out there too), so thought I’d continue with the Life Songs project.


  • Laurie Anderson – Gravity’s Angel — There are so many great tracks on Mister Heartbreak but I think this is my current fave. Not sure I can explain why.
  • Art Of Noise – Close (To The Edit) — Hey! Hey! Hey! There really wasn’t anything like Art Of Noise when this was out, and it was a surprising hit. The video with the teeny little punk girl was awesome.
  • David Bowie – Blue Jean — Somebody send me! Tonight wasn’t really my favourite Bowie album, I thought it was a bit patchy (might have to re-listen), but Blue Jean was a stand-out.
  • The Box – Must I Always Remember — I honestly don’t know if anyone outside of Canada ever heard this song. If you haven’t, give it a listen. There’s an edginess here masquerading as pop.
  • Cocteau Twins – Ivo; Lorelei; Persephone; Pandora — Just listen to all of Treasure. You’re welcome.
  • Lisa Dalbello – Gonna Get Close To You — The first time I heard this, I was watching that video show on 47 (the same one that introduced me to Robert Palmer’s Clues, see the post on 1980). She was so severe-looking, but I couldn’t stop watching, and this song was etched into my brain along with the visual. Don’t listen to covers, they’re all wrong. Also, apparently her guitarist lived upstairs from us when I was little.
  • Dalis Car – The Judgement Is The Mirror — Peter Murphy (Bauhaus) and Mick Karn (Japan) teamed up for one album, this was the single. I think it still stands up, others might disagree. Apparently a second album is in the works...
  • Thomas Dolby – Dissident; Screen Kiss; I Scare MyselfThe Flat Earth is my absolute favourite Dolby album, and Screen Kiss is my favourite song from it. It’s gutwrenching, it’s heartbreaking, it’s gorgeousness and gorgeousity, as one might say. I am on the verge of tears every time I hear it.
  • Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon — Everyone remembers it from Donnie Darko. For me, it will always be a car song, my friend Mike and I used to drive around and this song was almost always on.
  • Joe Jackson – Be My Number Two — You must know how I feel about Joe Jackson by now. This song is so incredibly sad. I much prefer the live version off his Live 1980–1986 album, it’s got less instrumentation and is carried by just his voice and piano.
  • Kid Creole & The Coconuts – My Male Curiosity — The man makes no excuse for himself, why do they stay with him? But you gotta love a man in a zoot suit, and hairy armpitted girls in disco ball bikinis...
  • King Crimson – Three Of A Perfect Pair; Sleepless — I’ve already mentioned how much I loved this lineup, their edges all fit together so well. Love Adrian Belew’s voice with them too, these are two excellent examples.
  • Level 42 – The Chant Has Begun — Most people remember this song from 1985’s World Machine, but it was on True Colours first. My brother was really into them and already had some of their cassettes at this time so of course I was also into them.
  • Malcolm McClaren – Madame Butterfly — I’d never heard of him before this (didn’t really grow up with The Sex Pistols, but started hearing this one and seeing the video, and it was just so different from anything else out there. Wasn’t quite an obsession, more of a slow-burner.
  • Midnight Oil – Best Of Both Worlds — Oils can be so demanding. Just give in.
  • Parachute Club – At The Feet Of The Moon — A far superior song to Rise Up. Not to knock that of course, but this one had more going on. I don’t remember them having anything after this...
  • Prince & The Revolution – I Would Die 4 U — A more recent favourite. It demands that you dance.
  • Public Image Ltd. – The Order Of Death — From the Hardware soundtrack, which was an odd little movie with an odd little cast and an awesome soundtrack. No depth, goes on for a bit, too repetitive for most I’m sure. Still, I love it.
  • Pukka Orchestra – Listen To The Radio; Might As Well Be On Mars; Cherry Beach Express; Rubber Girl — Happy little Toronto band — popped up, put out an album (including one song that the Toronto Police REALLY didn’t like) and then disappeared again. Still a favourite, listened to them again just yesterday.
  • Queen – I Want To Break Free — My love of this song was initially powered by the outrageousness of the video (which, in hindsight, was actually very tame). Freddie Mercury made just the UGLIEST GIRL. But the song is almost always in my head. Is that a comment on my life? Not sure.
  • Les Rita Mitsouko – Marcia Baila — Never heard it on the radio, never saw it on TV before the 90s — a friend made a tape for me, and that was it. I was officially a fan. Bizarre videos, ever-changing music, awesome.
  • Rush – Afterimage; Red Sector A; Between The Wheels — Another departure from past style for the boys, still with some keyboard elements, but with different styles coming in. Loved the themes too.
  • Sheila E. – The Glamorous Life – Yeah, secret shame. Deal. And from the opposite end of the spectrum...
  • Skinny Puppy – Smothered Hope — I think this was the first Skinny Puppy song I ever heard. I’m sure I hated it at first. But one of my friends was really into them so I gave it some time. Glad I did — they were a staple for me from about 1991–1996, and I still have a bunch of vinyl. Really should digitize it all soon...
  • Spinal Tap – Gimme Some Money; Cups And Cakes; (Listen To The) Flower People — Come on, you love them. Don’t deny it. They go to eleven!


What did you think, anything else you would have included? I left a bunch out so as not to have a MASSIVE LIST. I’ve made most-of-it lists over on Grooveshark for 1983, 1984 and 1985, should you want it all that way…

Also, it’s David Bowie’s birthday today, and also Stephen Hawking’s, so everyone have some cake for them.

Next time, 1986!

Previously: Life Songs: ’70s; Life Songs: ’70s, additional; Life Songs: The ’80s, Part One. Did you miss them?

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