Tag: New Wave

1983, Music

Soul Mining (1983) by the The

My main complaint against synthpop is that the majority the bands decided to entirely or mostly drop conventional instruments in favour of synthesizers and drum machines. I have never been a huge fan of either instrument and so it’s an uphill battle for me when an entire album is performed with instruments I don’t like. …

1983, Music

She’s So Unusual (1983) by Cyndi Lauper

I have heard “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” way too many times and seen the video way too many times. I can’t say I’ve ever liked the song but at some point it became annoying. (And it doesn’t help that Weird Al’s “Girls Just Want to Have Lunch” is on the lazy side.) And, …

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

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

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

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, …

1982, Music

Kissing to be Clever (1982) by Culture Club

I am a real completist. Even though I have been working hard against the impulse as an adult, more often than not the impulse wins out. So, for my podcast, I find myself listening to music I never would have bothered with, because it’s the anniversary of a particular record. Most of the time, my …

1977, Music

No More Heroes (1977) by The Stranglers

I used to think there was only one true British New Wave band: The Police. (Well, and Elvis Costello. But Costello is labeled New Wave primarily due to laziness; too punk to be Pub Rock and too classicist to be Punk, people didn’t know what else to call him.) The Police were the only band …

1982, Music

Imperial Bedroom (1982) by Elvis Costello and the Attractions

Though I haven’t heard the couple previous albums to this one, this still feels like a pretty big stylistic left turn for Costello. The production and arrangements are both noticeably different from the first Attractions record (or his first few solo albums). It’s a brave move (if it is indeed a move) as he could …

1982, Music

The Golden Age of Wireless (1982) by Thomas Dolby

I kind of dreaded listening to this record; I don’t love “She Blinded Me with Science” and always thought it was a gimmicky novelty number. So maybe it’s because my expectations were so damn low as to why I really like this.

1981, Music

This is The Ice Age (1981) by Martha and the Muffins

Yes, this is second wave New Wave, and it sure sounds like a lot of other bands and musicians. (The guitar lead on “Swimming” is so wannabe Robert Fripp it’s not even funny. A bunch of tracks sound like Eno-lite.) But this is a strong set of songs with good lyrics and a commitment to …

1981, Music

Ghost in the Machine (1981) by The Police

This is, for me, the weakest Police record: it’s top heavy (the first three tracks – the singles – are far and away the best ones), it’s the first record to really emphasize the growing musical divide between Sting and the rest of the band and it’s just their weakest set of songs. I’d say …

1980, Music

Waiting for a Miracle (1980) by The Comsat Angels

To my ears, the debut of The Comsat Angels marks the point where post punk tried to reconcile itself with more conventional rock music. Though there are still hallmarks of the post punk sound, there’s also much more of a focus on conventional songwriting. It helps that the songs are mostly excellent and so it …

1981, Music

Only a Lad (1981) by Oingo Boingo

Oingo Boingo’s debut is like Devo if the music were written by someone who went to music school, and who missed the memo that punk bands have to be left wing (it’s new wave but it’s reactionary new wave…if he’s being sincere…) The music is more musically inventive than your average new wave and there’s …

1986, Music

Tinderbox (1986) by Siouxsie and the Banshees

The Banshees strike this weird balance where they pair a (relatively) bright sound with lyrics that wouldn’t necessarily fit with that sound. It’s not that the sound is particularly bright, it’s just bright for the genre, and I always find it a little disorienting when I first hear one of their records. The songs are …

1980, Music

Peter Gabriel [Melt] (1980)

On December 31, 2008, I wrote the following: This may sound stupid, but this sounds little too much like 1980. They had a good thing going, those Genesis guys… and while I know that version of the band could never have topped The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, neither Gabriel nor the rest of the …

1980, Music

Talking Heads at the Capitol Theatre November 4, 1980

This is an incredible show which is very illustrative of the the “eras” bands go through. Talking Heads in Stop Making Sense area great band, but they are utter professionals. They are having a great time, and they backed by a unique stage show that ads to the experience, but they are polished and utterly …

1986, Music

So (1986) by Peter Gabriel

I haven’t gotten into solo Gabriel yet really, this is only the third album of his that I’ve heard. But back when I was a Gabriel-era Genesis obsessive I listened to a lot of Gabriel-fronted music. I have always been a little wary of his solo music in part because it is so clearly different …

1979, Music

Armed Forces by Elvis Costello & the Attractions (Columbia 1979)

It’s slightly overproduced but this actually sort of makes it fit in with what was going on in the world. Costello is more biting here (and more cohesive) which appeals to me. It lets me forgive some of the more bizarre flourishes. Like the past one, it feels like a step forward and a step …

1977, Music

This Year’s Model by Elvis Costello (Columbia 1978)

Rawer than the debut, which is nice. Perhaps a little more cohesive as well. Though it is better sounding I’m not sure the songs are quite as strong: it’s a trade-off, something got better and something got not quite as good. I guess that’s where I’m leaving it. 8/10

1977, Music

My Aim is True by Elvis Costello (Columbia 1977)

It’s unfortunate I guess that early Costello is constantly connected with punk, if only because of his lyrics (which are rather more biting than most ’70s pop rock lyrics). The music is decidedly not punk: it’s pure pub rock; one of the most overrated underground movements in rock music history I say. But that’s not …

2001, Music

Best of Morrissey (Rhino 2001)

Full Disclosure Part I: I call myself a music snob yet I somehow don’t know the Smiths. I can’t really explain why except that a million other bands found their way on to my must hear list first. So my exposure to Morrissey is unfortunately post-Smiths.   Full Disclosure Part II: I hate Best-Ofs. I …