Category: 1987

1987, Books, Non-Fiction

Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway (1987) by Susan Jeffers

This self-help book is only 34 years old, yet it feels like it was written some time earlier, perhaps in the ’60s even. Reading this book, especially after you’ve read more recent self-help books, is like going back in time. It’s incredible how sophisticated self-help and “wellness” has gotten in the interim. (That is both …

1987, Movies

Cry Wilderness (1987, Jay Schlossberg-Cohen)

This is one of those low-budget movies that thinks that location can substitute for a lack of a good story, coherent character motivations, good acting and competent filmmaking techniques. Specifically, these people got permission to film in a couple beautiful parks in California and apparently decided that this was enough to make a good family …

1987, Music

Shaka Zulu (1987) by Ladysmith Black Mombazo

By my rough count, this is Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s 23rd album but, according to much of the world, it’s their first, as it’s the first one produced by a famous (white) singer-songwriter and it’s the first one they released after appearing on his record (as part of Simon’s violation of the apartheid boycott, which is …

1987, Music

At My Window (1987) by Townes Van Zandt

Though I know of the legend of Townes, I’ve seen the documentary and I’ve heard a fair number of songs through covers, this is only the second album of his I’ve ever managed to get to. And so I cannot evaluate it against his other records,except for the one I’ve heard. That one, his debut, …

1987, Music

Calenture (1987) by The Triffids

I can’t speak for the Australian critics, but i feel like the American critics who went gaga over this record are guilty of a fairly common problem, where they over-hype a band from a “smaller” English-speaking country like Australia or Canada when if the same band appeared in the US or the UK they might …

1987, Music

Floodland (1987) by The Sisters of Mercy

I have never heard The Sisters of Mercy before and only know of them by reputation. So I got a surprise when I found out that this was basically the lead singer and songwriter’s solo album, as the original band broke up before it was created. I don’t know that this means anything, especially since …

1987, Music

Nightfall (1987) by Candlemass

I am, I supposed, a peculiar kind of metal fan. I like a lot of metal but one of the things I love about great music is particularly un-metal: variety. So every time I encounter one of these bands that practices within a very specific metal sub-genre, I find my love of variety challenged by …

1987, Music

The Lion and the Cobra (1987) by Sinead O’Connor

I get why this record was such a big deal when it came out: in 1987 it seemed rare that someone with such a distinctive voice comes along, who writes her own songs, and who seems like her artistic personality is already fully formed.But I think that, in retrospect, that view says more about 1987 …

1987, Music

Faith (1987) by George Michael

I have never had any desire to listen to George Michael. Nothing about his music has ever really struck me. I find myself listening to this record only because of my podcast. It’s a weird combination of cheese and kitsch with earnestness and bravado. As someone who has only recently started (seriously) listening to music …

1987, Music

Strangeways, Here We Come

To say I dislike The Smiths would be an understatement. I don’t hate them so much as I hate the aura around them and this idea that they somehow saved British music from itself (and synthesizers! don’t forget the synthesizers), almost like a younger, hipper Bruce Springsteen (because Springsteen saved rock music from disco, don’t …

1987, Music

Music for the Masses (1987) by Depeche Mode

I agree with the general consensus that Martin Gore is perhaps synthpop’s best songwriter. At least at this “mature” stage of the band’s career Depeche Mode sound most like the band willing to leave the confines of their genre to serve his songs. I find his lyrics to be, on average, significantly better than the …

1987, Music

Earth Sun Moon (1987) by Love and Rockets

I love Bauhaus and, initially, I think I found it hard to get into these guys simply because they are not Bauhaus, which is unfair. It’s unfair because these guys are very much their own band, particularly with the wind instruments. (By the way, that flute solo is hilariously Ian Anderson, who I would have …

1987, Music

Darklands (1987) by The Jesus and Mary Chain

The UK has a long, weird tradition of hilariously opinionated and antagonistic rock front men who bash other musicians and other people and then make wussy music; the Reids, Morrissey, the Gallaghers. (I’m sure there are many more.) That shouldn’t matter, really, but I find it harder to accept pop music (and poppier rock) on …

1987, Music

Bad (1987) by Michael Jackson

I grew up with “Fat” and have a hard time separating the real song, the title track of this record, from its parody. But I haven’t listened to “Fat” in so long. Listening to Bad for the first time (and to the remaster, no less), I can’t help but wonder, “does “Fat” sound this terrible …

1987, Music

Scum (1987) by Napalm Death*

Full disclosure: my favourite Grindcore band is Anal Cunt, because they are a joke. Grindcore has always struck me as a joke, or at least something easily turned into a joke, because of the brevity of the songs and the over-the-top nature of the music. But there are and have been tons of grindcore bands …

1987, Music

Whitney (1987) by Whitney Houston

This is one of the most commercially successful albums of its era, so I guess that’s why I felt I had to listen to it. But if I learned one thing from this album, it’s that the things that I like about music and the things that most consumers like about music are not the …

1901, 1902, 1910, 1911, 1935, 1958, 1960, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1987, Music

Ives: Symphonies Nos 2 and 3; The Unanswered Question (1966) by the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Berstein

This is a compilation of the New York Philharmonic and Leonard Berstein’s performances of the middle symphonies and The Unanswered Question, originally a piece paired with another but one that has found a lot of attention as a standalone.

1987, Music

Missa in Angustiis aka Nelson Mass (1987) by Margaret Marshall, Carolyn Watkinson, Keith Lewis, Robert Holl, Rundfnkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Neville Mariner

This is widely considered to be the greatest of Haydn’s masses and, according to some people, the greatest of Haydn’s compositions.

1987, Music

Songs About Fucking (1987) by Big Black

What probably sounded unbelievably loud – not to mention offensive to a lot of people – has mellowed considerably nearly thirty years later. So much of this record (or even the band’s oeuvre, perhaps) has integrated into alternative rock and even some indie rock. Hell, it doesn’t even sound very noisy compared to what’s being …

1884, 1885, 1886, 1887, 1888, 1889, 1891, 1893, 1897, 1903, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1917, 1919, 1920, 1987, Music

Satie Piano Works (1987, 2003, 2012) performed by Aldo Ciccolini

Erik Satie’s piano music changed the way many people thought about music. It’s hard to imagine John Cage, cool jazz, ambient, post rock and a bunch of other things without this. It’s also really cool to hear the ragtime stuff.

1987, Movies

Wings of Desire (1987, Wim Wenders)

I think that Wenders is perhaps the poor man’s Fassbinder. He clearly has many similar abilities: this film has some absolutely spectacular (and ballsy) shots in it, and has a pretty great sound design, both things Fassbinder was also extremely adept at. But where Fassbinder grabbed you with his very human dramas – despite his …