Living In Oblivion/The 80’s Greatest Hits Part 3

Disc 3:

Fascination [The Human League]—-A brilliant follow up to the massive sales of Dare, this EP shows The League at a creative high point. The male and female vocals play off of each other in a brilliant way and the synth pop is an irresistible serving of the best stuff around. Oakey delivers a vocal that is so remote and un emotional that the feelings manage to pour off of them. Brilliant!

Perfect Way [Scritti Pollitti]—-An absolutely huge band in England, the US as usual missed the boat with this phenomenal band. The vocal is masterful and the music is a nice R N B tinged journey through everything that defined the 80’s. This song is Teflon…nothing can stick to it except for the strobe lights on the dance floor. Wonderful!!!

Cruel Summer [Bananarama]—-American synth pop that never really appealed to me. The vocal harmonies are nice and well constructed, but the recipe seems worn out and tired. the general public embraced this band though and they managed to score a number of hits throughout the 80’s. Not synth enough for me or original enough for my tastes.

Life In A Northern Town [The Dream Academy]—-An absolute wonderful excursion into everything that was anti-80’s. The track reeks of the 60’s and an underlying psychedelia that warmed my heart and brought goosebumps to my body. Still a favorite of mine, I never tire of the emotion and waves of nostalgia that this song holds. Beautiful!!!

Election Day [Arcadia]—–Formed when other members of Duran Duran  were recording with The Power Station, the band had minor success in the US and UK…minor compared to the gigantic machine that Duran2 had become. the band had the burden of the ultra familiar vocals of Simon LeBon, and that only added to the confusion at a time when off shoots of popular bands was still a new phenomenon. The song does reek of Duran2 and perhaps that was the initial problem. Features a great backing vocal from Island Diva Grace Jones!!!

Shattered Dreams [Johnny Hates Jazz]—-Atypical British serenaders, this band had a polished and shiny feel to the musical delivery. the harmonies are exquisite, and the music is very reminiscent of every track that The Thompson Twins ever recorded. A great piece of history, but only a glimmering streak of what was to come from over the pond.

Sunglasses At Night [Corey Hart]—-Canadian Hart hit the airwaves in the early to mid 80’s with this classic. I can clearly remember he and The Pet Shop Boysfighting for the number one spot on the US charts. The appeal of the almost deadpan vocals, combined with a great video and a really attractive face helped hart to take the #1 spot for a number of weeks in the US. Undeniably catchy and unforgettable.

The Future’s So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades [Timbuk 3]—-The epitome of the one hit wonder, Timbuk exploded and quickly diffused. Combining a Southern flair to their sound, the band reeked of Southern Fried Rock that never really went anywhere. Not a big fan…excuse me while I fast forward…….

Make A Circuit With Me [The Polecats]—-With a song title that seemed to belong on a Tubeway Army release, the band relied on real instruments and a very British sound that hearkens 60’s folk rock. This is a damn catchy song and one that I missed the first time around. A wonderful listen…the song moves with a gentle urgency that keeps your attention. I love this.

Rock This Town [Stray Cats]—-Perhaps this bands biggest hit, the song was heaped with a healthy dose of rock-a-billy and a wonderful, fun video. The standing bass again propels the pace of the track, and the drums are a nice mix of jazz infused percussion. This is a nice visit…but I have no desire to stay there.

Sidewalk Talk [Jellybean]—-Jellybean was a NY DJ who became romantically involved with pre famous Madonna. Jellybean was largely responsible for breaking Madonna to the NY club scene and in return, Madonna wrote and supplied vocals to this gritty New York mix. the song has a nice street feel, but as you listen back on it, also has a consistent early Madonna sound. This is a piece of history and the rest of this album was really great also. Check it out. It is amazing how powerful Madonna’s vocal were even back in the early 80’s…a masterful delivery.

It’s My Life [Talk Talk]—-Undeniably, the high point of this bands recording career…many people listening to music today only know this song because of the No Doubt remake…get educated and check out the masterful delivery of the original. The synth lines are masterful and the vocal is a dark and eerie piece of incredible energy. Classic!!!

[I Just] Died In Your Arms [Cutting Crew]—-Another British masterpiece of a band that never caught on here in the States. the song has a feel of desperation and sadness that overwhelms the poppy element of the song…not only does the music carry this flavor, but the vocal reeks of it. There is pain and disappointment and a certain synth line that I’m sure is stolen from Der Kommissar.

Hanging On A Heart Attack [Device]—–Now……I know nothing about this band! This is a synth lover’s dream come true. The song is huge!!!! the vocal is a British emotive accented masterpiece that follows a huge bass beat that just transports you back in time…magnificent!!! Need I say more?

Poison Arrow [ABC]—-The leaders of The New Romantic movement, this band always delivered a shiny and polished delivery that never deviated. You always knew what to expect from Martin Fryand Co. Although in the latter years, the band adopted a nicer, more mellow r N B flavor, this song catches them at their musical and video high point. This is timeless.

AEIOU Sometimes Y [EBN OZN]—-Beginning with a great spoken “Toto…..I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!”, the song dissolves into a dirge of odd musical sounds and spoken word interludes that I’m not sure would play well anywhere. The synth lines are undeniably catchy, but the vocal incantations are unnecessary drivel…I would love to just have the musical track.

Are You Sure [So]—-Another 80’s styled band that I have been unaware of until this time…if you have info, pass it on. The song has a layered British sound that is damn catchy and undeniable. I love the jazz infused sound that was obvious around the mid 80’s. this song has a big, polished sound that appeals to me a great deal.

The Way You Are [Tears For Fears]—-Now….this band has had many. many hits, but this song ranks way up there with me. The song includes all of the elements that made this band huge, but the sound is not as polished or refined…this I like. The trade off of vocals on the chorus give the song a nice full feel….I always listen to this way before I listen to the better known classics from this band. Wonderful!!!

What Do All The People Know [The Monroes]—-Okay….who is this band? The sound fits in perfectly with the sound of the 80’s, but the name and vocal is foreign to me. I love the handclaps that run through the song, and the pace moves at a great momentum. Overall a pleasant listen, but not a band that I have sought out info on.

****1/2 out of 5


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