Tag: Synthpop

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 …

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.

1977, Music

Trans Europa Express (1977) by Kraftwerk

Electronic pop music already existed (thanks to Kraftwerk) by the time this record came out, but this album still feels like the beginning of something, to my ears. Though a number of the tracks are quite long, (most of) the music feels like it could have made it onto the radio in the 80s at …

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 …

1995, Music

Different Class (1995) by Pulp

It’s incredible to me to listen to this immediately after Morning Glory and to hear so much more energy, verve and immediacy from a band that, on paper, should be significantly less exciting than Oasis. Anyway… I wasn’t sure what I would think about this record, but I appreciate the synth pop influence that is …

1982, Music

Love and Dancing (1982) by The League Unlimited Orchestra

This is a series of “instrumental” remixes of the Human League’s Dare which aimed to capitalize on that album’s success. It’s not really instrumental – the vocals are kept on some songs – and the songs don’t really sound that different (though I guess that’s most remix albums). It certainly doesn’t have a reason to …

1981, Music

Dare (1981) by the Human League

I have rarely ever sat down and listened to synthpop. Really, the only album I’ve ever listened to is Violator. And listening to Dare, I really want to go back and downgrade my rating of that Depeche Mode album because, though I think the songs are better, it’s rather shocking how little the genre progressed …

2015, Music

The 2015 Wolfe Island Music Festival August 7-8, 2015

The annual pilgrimage to Wolfe Island Music Festival (WIMF) got off to a bit of an uneven start but ended up being one of the better festivals I have attended over the last half decade or so.

2005, Music

Live it Out by Metric (Last Gang 2005)

This is better than the debut. I am aware of the guitarist! He’s still not anything to pay attention to but at least he had a fill or two. Amazing. I still don’t like her lyrics. I don’t like when they try to sound like Stereolab but new wavy. I don’t like when they try …

2003, Music

Old World Underground, Where are You Now? by Metric (Last Gang 2003)

I can’t really write anything positive about this because…there’s nothing to write home about. Haines has a good voice – not a great voice but a good voice. She is not a particularly great keyboardist, relying on some pretty straight forward synth lines and using effects more than her actual playing to do anything. I …