Tag: Synthpop

1984, Music

Forever Young (1984) by Alphaville

I don’t love synthpop and I approach these records with trepidation unless I already know the bands. (Sometimes even if I know the band.) It’s just not my thing and it has to really stand out for me to care that much. Usually I prefer when a synthpop band has a broader palette than just …

1979, Music

Solid State Survivor (1979) by Yellow Magic Orchestra

This is some shockingly ’80s-sounding discofied synthpop. It feels like it’s miles ahead of the British synthpop bands. And if I didn’t know about Kraftwerk’s existence I might be tempted to claim it’s the birth of synthpop. But frankly I don’t have the context to properly assess music like this. When it comes to the …

1979, Music

The Pleasure Principle (1979) by Gary Numan

Gary Numan’s debut album continues where Tubeway Army’s final album left off; basically it feels like it’s nearly the logical conclusion of what their second album suggested: a fusion of Synthpop and New Wave that sounds far more like New Wave than virtually all other Synthpop music of the time.

1984, Music

Junk Culture (1984) by Orchestral Manouvres in the Dark

This is my first experience of OMD but perhaps it is not the best place to start. This band was one of those that was so much bigger in the UK than North America, I don’t think I could even name their biggest hit. (I am trying right now, without looking it up, and I …

1984, Music

A Walk Across the Rooftops (1984) by Blue Nile

Many years ago, I learned that first impressions should be ignored and overcome as much as possible when it comes to music. There have been many days in my life I’ve been happy about doing that and today is one of them. Because my first impression of this record was not a good one, and …

1989, Music

Technique (1989) by New Order

The fusion of alternative and dance was such a big thing in the late 1980s in the UK. But it’s not something I really get because, well, I don’t like dance music. But I wish I could appreciate it more, because there are all these bands, with all these acclaimed albums, and I listen to …

1984, Music

Footloose Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1984)

I don’t review soundtracks normally for at least two reasons: normally they are not entirely composed of original music and they are not culturally significant enough – i.e. some kids probably bought it but the rest of us likely ignored it. But this one, well it is composed of original music, to the best of …

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, …

1983, Music

You and Me Both (1983) by Yazoo

I went to review You and Me Both, having not listened to their debut, Upstairs at Eric’s, since 2017, and I found on RYM that a lot of fans regard this record as a “contractual obligation” album for Yazoo, and that they believe it’s obvious Yazoo weren’t into the recording merely from listening to this …

1988, Music

A Bell Is a Cup Until It Is Struck (1988) by Wire

I am a long-time fan of both Pink Flag and especially Chairs Missing but have somehow never managed to get to any of their other material. Having not heard their first album after they reunited either, this is a surprise.

1983, Music

Power, Corruption and Lies (1983) by New Order

I was pretty disappointed by New Order’s debut. If I can recall, I believe I was expecting something along the lines of the little I knew about New Order, and what I got was Joy Division minus Ian Curtis. Yes, that’s basically the band, but I was not expecting that. I was disappointed.

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 …

1993, Music

Songs of Faith and Devotion (1993) by Depeche Mode

At this point I have heard enough synthpop (and enough Depeche Mode) to understand how this record breaks from that tradition (much like the previous record, Violator, also does), and so I feel like I might actually have something decent to say about it, unlike when I first listened to Violator.

1988, Music

I’m Your Man (1988) by Leonard Cohen

So many of these songs have made it into the broader culture – either through covers or through the songs actually getting played places I would hear them – that I actually thought I had heard this record before. I can’t find any record of that, but I sure got a sense of musical deja …

1983, Music

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (1993) by Eurythmics

I heard my first Eurythmics album after listening to Annie Lennox’s debut and I guess that distorted my expectations for their later work. I also read a lot about how their later work was “weirder” but, well, it isn’t weird… “weird compared to what?” is a question that occurred to me.

1987, Music

Savage (1987) by Eurythmics

I don’t know Eurythmics very well. Sure, I know their biggest hits, but that’s it. And I only ever recently sat down to listen to an Annie Lennox album. So I have no idea about context here. For example, I had no idea they were so damn prolific. (Seriously, what the hell? 7 albums in …

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 …

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 …

2017, Music

The 2017 Wolfe Island Music Festival

After a year’s hiatus, the Wolfe Island Music Festival returned and I resumed my annual pilgrimage to the one and only music festival I go to. I think that, with one major exception, there was a general feeling among our group that this edition was better than the 2015 edition.