Category: 1978

1978, Music

Parallel Lines (1978) by Blondie

My dad bought a Blondie compilation sometime in my teens. It was a double disc. So I feel like, to the extent I know Blondie, it is through that compilation. Had he bought it 10 years earlier, I would likely know all their hits very well. Alas, he bought it a few years before my …

1978, Music

Love Bites (1978) by Buzzcocks

I am not a fan of the Buzzcocks. They are way too far on the pop side of the pop punk spectrum for me. (Yes, going by that, it’s safe to assume I don’t like pop punk.) I acknowledge their importance in the evolution of punk and particularly in pop punk, but I would just …

1978, Music

Blue Valentine (1978) by Tom Waits

I am very a much a fan of the Tom Waits who reinvented himself and who gave the world a unique sound. I am less a fan of the early Tom Waits, whose music was far less inventive and imaginative. That’s not to say I dislike ’70s Waits, more to say that I prefer his …

1978, Music

Real Life (1978) by Magazine

As an album recorded by a band featuring the former lead singer of one of the original British punk bands, but manifestly not playing punk rock, I think there’s a temptation to say this record could be the original post-punk record. (It literally is “post punk” in that sense.) That in itself would make this …

1978, Music

The Cars (1978)

The Cars’ debut album marks the point where, for better or worse, New Wave goes commercial. Basically very previous (American) New Wave album was too arty, too quirky, too herky jerky to connect with the average listener. But Ocasek and company found how to merge New Wave with that basic American need for big dumb …

1978, Music

Peter Gabriel [Scratch] (1978)

Because of the nature of the collaboration – my favourite guitarist, Robert Fripp, produced this record – I had sort of viewed this record as the holy grail of early Peter Gabriel records, in spite of the lukewarm reviews. I had just assumed that, whenever I got to it, I would discover this incredible mixture …

1978, Music

Power in the Darkness (1978) by Tom Robinson Band

This is certainly more musically traditional punk than so many of the punk albums that came out in 1977 and especially in 1978. I guess that’s why some people consider it pub rock; it’s more musically competent than punk and, were it not for the lyrics and the vocals, it could be mistaken for pub …

1978, Music

Die Mensch-Maschine aka The Man-Machine (1978) by Kraftwerk

If I thought Trans Europa Express was the beginning of synth pop, that was because I had not heard The Man-Machine. The connections between Trans Europa Express and ’80s synthpop felt slightly tenuous; honestly it felt like I might have been exaggerating the connection just a little bit. Not that that record didn’t influence a …

1978, Music

Grease Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1978)

When I was young, I absolutely hated nostalgia. I saw it as the enemy of creativity. Time, and particularly age, has softened that approach; I now understand nostalgia and even sometimes like it despite myself. But the thing is, when I do like nostalgia, it’s nostalgia for something I experienced. So I can understand why …

1978, Music

Another Music in a Different Kitchen (1978) by Buzzcocks

Full disclosure: I don’t like the Buzzcocks. Until hearing this debut, I’d only ever heard A Different Kind of Tension and that record likely biased me towards this one and its importance.

1978, Music

Easter (1978) by Patti Smith Group

I struggle with Patti Smith; she’s one of those artists I think I should like, not just because of received opinion but because the things she does are things I supposedly like. But for some reason I have this barrier. I think it comes from how I first heard her.

1978, Music

The Kick Inside (1978) by Kate Bush

The problem with starting mid-career with an artist is that you kind of assume what they sound like in their maturity or prime is how they’ve always sounded. I started with The Dreaming, a record that knocked me out. It was pretty damn unlikely that Bush’s debut would stand up to it. And I certainly …

1978, Music

Crossing the red Sea With the Adverts (1978)

I think the thing that so many people find really appealing about this band is that they manage to combine punk attitude with a pretty strong sense of melody, a sense of melody lacking in other punk bands of the sort of second wave of British punk bands, who got record deals in 1977 but …

1978, Music

Van Halen (1978)

The first time I ever heard “Eruption” my mind was blown. I had never heard anyone play guitar like that (though that was because I hadn’t heard so many guitarists). It was my gold standard in virtuoso (masturbatory?) guitar showmanship until I heard “Spanish Fly,” which seemed so much more impressive for being played on …

1978, Music

Stained Class (1978) by Judas Priest

I do not like Judas Priest, at least as they compare to the other New Wave of British Heavy Metal (henceforth abbreviated NWOBHM) bands. I sort of assumed that was due to the fact that they predated those bands by years and that they jumped on the bandwagon. I am only familiar with their early …

1978, Music

The Modern Dance (1978) by Pere Ubu

Imagine New Wave at its absolute quirkiest (i.e. Devo) and then add a dose of avant rock from the late 1960s and you get some vague idea of what Pere Ubu sounds like on their debut. All the herky jerky New Wave stuff is here but so are piercing noises, samples of who knows what, …

1978, Music

Bootsy Player of the Year (1978) by Booty’s Rubber Band

If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself reading the liner notes for a Parliament or Frunkadelic release and wondering “What exactly is it that George Clinton actually does?” He’s credited as a co-writer on all or most tracks, but he’s usually only one of numerous singers and is rarely credited with playing an instrument. …

1978, Music

Excitable Boy (1978) by Warren Zevon

My only previous experience with Warren Zevon is Sentimental Hygiene. An idiosyncratic songwriter backed by REM – I thought it was going to be really up my alley. But, alas, I really don’t love that record. It was enough to put me off listening to him again. So I find myself listening to this record …

1978, Movies

The Brink’s Job (1978, William Friedkin)

This is an unconventional heist film that focuses as much (or more) on the amusing aspects of a bunch of “losers” robbing The Brinks Company. There’s a lot of comedy and the problem with the film is that, at times, it feels like it is focusing more on the amusement than the planning of the …

1978, Books, Fiction

The Westing Game (1978) by Ellen Raskin

This is the kind of novel all kids should read. I am far too old for this type of book now but, as a child or tween, this would have been great. It feels like a legitimate game (it’s basically a far more complicated version of Clue with character development) and its humour is rooted …

1924, 1928, 1978, 1980, 1992

From the House of the Dead (1980) by Leos Janacek, performed by the Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Staatsopernchor conducted by Charles Mackerras featuring Jiri Zahradnicek, Ivo Zidek, Vaclav Zitek

This disc pairs Janacek’s last (and shortest?) opera with two unrelated chamber pieces performed by an entirely different orchestra, grumble.

1978, Music

All The Mod Cons (1978) by The Jam

This is, by all accounts, The Jam’s masterpiece. It’s clear the songwriting has improved by leaps and bounds, especially from their second record. The music has also developed: most of the raggedness is gone and the musical ideas are more complicated, and this is quite clearly the missing link between The Kinks (and The Who) …

1976, 1978, Music

Grupo Irakere (1978)

So much of what I’ve read about this band focuses on their Grammy-winning North American breakthrough, as if the first time North Americans heard this music was the first time it was really vital and worth listening to. And I do understand that distribution was a different beast in the ’70s, but still, it’s a …

1978, Movies

Autumn Sonata (1978, Ingmar Bergman)

I feel like this is typical late ’70s Bergman (not that I would know): a devastatingly frank examination of emotional trauma with few characters, few frills (there is music but no soundtrack, as it were) and literally nowhere for the audience to hide. This was also Ingrid Bergman’s final feature film and, I believe, her …