Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Early Bloomers (80's)

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Isn’t it funny that more songs in this episode were released in the seventies than eighties? Yes, three 1978 songs are featured in this suppose-ed eighties snapshot. Why you don’t ask? Well why not? My standards have dropped already, so why not push them further? No I think the main reason is debut-album syndrome. The condition so many bands have where they struggle to beat the quality of their first album. So while most of the artists here would belong best to the eighties, they’re best song may be found elsewhere. Now previously I would have picked a different song or stuck them in a different decade but as you can imagine, being so far into the series, this luxury of options is no longer with me. Right then, that’s out of the way. Having to pick my 20th artist for this decade, I really struggled. You’d think that in the allotted 315360000 seconds (plus many more thanks to lax standards) there would be more than enough artists eager to fill these coveted spots. Well there is. It is my own tastes and striving for quality that makes my life so hard but thankfully it pays off and the music you see here today is still some of the best this decade has to offer.

The Stone Roses – She Bangs The Drums
Being awarded #1 British album of all time is a pretty impressive honour. Even if Artic Monkeys did come 5th and the list was compiled by NME, it still means it’s a pretty good album. Well this honour was given to The Stone Roses’ debut album and it is indeed pretty good. While I wouldn’t rank it as the best, it contains many quality songs including this. It is a catchy tune, with a great sound reminiscent of the Britpop that came after it.

The Police – Roxanne
The Police have an odd blend of genre’s - rock and reggae. However popularity will prove that it works and it is perfectly represented in this song. Starting off with a slow Rastafarian melody, it’s launch into the faster chorus is great. Though not a favourite band by any means, I actually know a few of their songs quite well. The same I can’t say for lead singer Sting, whose solo career has led me only to know of, not to know

Elvis Costello – Pump it up
This is an extremely popular song for obvious reasons. Its catchy synth riff is surrounded by a solid rock tune, dripping with toe-tapping goodness, making it virtually ununlovable. It’s so catchy it seems that a recent artist, too horrible for me to know the name of, decided to rip the riff off verbatim. It almost ruined this song for me, but thankfully the film clip prevented this. Costello’s dancing ability is so unorthodox it’s simply hilarious, a must see for all.

Happy Mondays – 24 Hour Party People
Here by popular demand is 24 hour party people, a weird song by a weird band. The slurred vocals, barely recognisable as singing would normally never make it to the studio. The dirty mix of 80’s synth, slicey guitar and pounding drums are great but would not normally be seen as anything special. No, what makes this song so good is the people who made it, the Happy Mondays. Never a moment not on one drug or another, these guys got up to some pretty crazy stuff. Best of all, a permanent member of the band does nothing but dance. That’s right, on stage, every performance, just dancing. For proof of these antics, watch the film by the same name, perhaps the most well-crafted documentary I’ve ever seen.

B-52s – Rock Lobster
Now I’ve heard people claim that this song drags on. If you are one of the people who feel this, you are missing the point. For not only is this the king of party music, but it is laced with a deep and moving narrative. So next time it sounds like it’s about to finish, don’t regret that it’s only halfway through, revel in the prospect of hearing the next chapter in the legendary Rock Lobster story.

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