Sunday, February 12, 2012

Life Songs: the ’80s part three

Happy Sunday everyone! Finally circling back around to my Life Songs project, but we’re only going to look at one year today…

1986
  • 54-50 — Baby Ran; I Go Blind — Please don’t listen to Hootie & The Blowfish. Our boys are so much better. Also, the singer of 54-40 totally reminds me of Bruce McCullough.
  • Big Country — Look Away — I much prefer this one to In A Big Country, not that I dislike that one but Look Away has a personal edge to it.
  • Billy Bragg — Levi Stubbs’ Tears — Sadder than it has a right to be. I almost cry every time I listen. Stripped down, but with a lovely horn at the end.
  • Kate Bush — Experiment IV — I remember the video — Hugh Laurie and Dawn French! None of my friends knew who they were. Of course, most of my friends didn’t know who Kate Bush was either. Government-directed scientific study brought to a fatal conclusion.
  • Cameo — Word Up! — There’s no denying the giant red codpiece, just don’t even try. When you hear the call, you’ve got to get it underway. Someone tell me, is he meant to be sexy? Seriously?
  • Crowded House — World Where You Live; Hole In The River — I’d loved Split Enz, then Crowded House came along and the love continued. A very different band, a simple answer to the previous complexity. And ain’t he cute though?
  • Enya — Boadicea — From her soundtrack for The Celts, better than anything else she ever did. Honestly, though, once you have one Enya album you don’t need another, they all sound the same.
  • The Fixx — Secret Separation — It’s about past lives and fated reunions. Like Yes, Fixx lyrics have more convoluted meanings than you might first pick up on. Unlike Yes, Fixx lyrics don’t sound like an angst-ridden teenager with delusions of depth wrote them.
  • Peter Gabriel — In Your Eyes; This Is The Picture (Excellent Birds); Red Rain — So was an awesome, amazing, monster of an album. it dominated the year, with so many singles on the radio. I like these three more than the more obvious choices of Sledgehammer and Don’t Give Up. Great collaboration album.
  • Joe Jackson — Right And Wrong — Off Big World, which he recorded live for an invited audience, and asked them not to applaud or make any sound during the songs. Mixed straight from the live feeds, no remixes. It’s an awesome, raw album. And for a live performance to sound this tight, with no remixing, really speaks to the band’s quality. The linked video is actually from the recording session — the audience shows their appreciation only after the music’s over…
  • Les Rita Mitsouko — Andy; C’est Comme Ça — My friend Lisa got me into Les Rita Mitsouko, it’s possible I might never have heard of them without her. Such a strange pair, Catherine and Fred. Far more fun than they should be. It all sounds different and yet is all unmistakably theirs. The No Comprendo is their second album, you should pick it up. Or maybe the remix album from 1990, Re.
  • Midnight Oil — Dreamworld; The Dead Heart — Again, much prefer these tracks to the more obvious Beds Are Burning. Especially Dead Heart, it has an anguished melancholy to it.
  • Ministry — Over The Shoulder — Before they became industrial giants with Stigmata, after dipping their toe in goth pop anthem Every Day Is Hallowe’en, they had this gem that bridges the two nicely. Disposable society, disposable morals, suck it dry and move on. Kind of brilliant.
  • Robert Palmer — I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On — Seriously, much better than the original by Cherrelle, and Mariah Carey can just suck it.
  • Peter Murphy — Canvas Beauty; God Sends; Final Solution — His first truly solo project, and it works so well. His cover of Pere Ubu’s Final Solution is genius, and God Sends makes me weep.
  • Public Image Limited — Rise — It’s such a simple song, but so catchy. Excellent to dance to.
  • Siouxsie And The Banshees — Cities In Dust — My favourite Siouxsie song. Remember the movie Out Of Bounds? They were a bar band in it, playing this song, quite a surprise when I saw it at the drive-in! This was before the days when you could find everything out beforehand by doing a google search.
  • They Might Be Giants — Put Your Hand Inside The Puppet Head; Don’t Let’s Start; (She Was A) Hotel Detective; She’s An Angel — Aw, I love those Brooklyn boys. You all know how much, I’ve seen them so many times. This is the album it all starts with, just go out and get it! I should caution you, they’re not for everyone, not everyone ‘gets’ them.
  • Violent Femmes — Children Of The Revolution — My favourite by them, and preferred to the original by T Rex. Bump and grind.

So that’s 1986. I’m just doing the one year this time, as I’m terribly behind in every other area of my life (!!) and must catch up — but this can tide you over, yes?

How about you? Was 1986 the awesome music year for you that it was for me? I’ve made a most-of-it list for 1986 over on on Grooveshark, give it a whirl…

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

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