555. Wiggly World

“Cool and wigged out raver from Devo‘s second album, Duty Now For The Future, which the experts tell me is, at the very least, their second best. And certainly wiser words have seldom been spoken than ‘duty now for the future’. Because the past is done and the present merely is, but the future – that’s where the wiggle is. Not black or white, not straight up and down – a stranger thing, hard to grab, impossible to hold down. Which was Devo in a nutshell circa 1979, exactly as strange as they needed to be.” (Philip Random)

Devo-1979-live

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558. walk a thin line

Tusk was the big deal double Fleetwood Mac album that came after the mega-platinum hugeness of Rumours (you may have heard of it) and thus was bound to fail. Gloriously. We do love it when the Music Biz fails thus, throws huge piles of cash and cocaine and marketing buzz at something that dares to be art. Particularly when it contains genuine treasures like Walk A Thin Line, Lindsey Buckingham not just close to the edge, right on it, and walking it just fine.

FleetwoodMAC-1979-promo

575. the ballad of Lucy Jordan

In which Marianne Faithfull takes a then obscure song written by the same guy who gave us Boy Named Sue and Cover of the Rolling Stone and delivers what some have since hailed as a feminist anthem. Philip Random remembers it first really grabbing him via the movie Montenegro “… that I tend to assume everyone’s seen but hardly anyone actually has. It’s the one where Susan Anspach, wealthy housewife, bored to the point of insanity, finally just bails one day, splits suburbia and her husband and kids, and somehow ends up hanging with some savage eastern European types still playing out blood feuds older than recorded history. It’s a strange movie, disorienting, intense. Anyway, the Ballad Of Lucy Jordan is the song that sends her on her weird journey, inspires her. Finally, she will return to her happy family, except (spoiler alert) the fruit was poisoned.”

MarianneFAITHFULL-1979-2

581. the number 1 song in heaven

“Some folks just can’t get enough Sparks, hence the twenty some albums going back to the early 1970s, and thumbs up to all involved, the culture is never weird enough. But I’ve personally been happy enough with the occasional gem of pure weird pop wonder. Like The Number 1 Song In Heaven, their big deal disco hit from 1979, which features actual changes in time signature, but apparently these didn’t clear the dance floor. At least that’s what I was told. Because I didn’t go to discos at the time. I was more inclined to the anything-but side. With occasional exceptions, because that’s the thing about truly great pop music – it tends to transcend all boundaries.” (Philip Random)

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589. feed the enemy

Magazine were first pitched to me by a guy from Quintessence Records (before it turned into Zulu). Late 1979, maybe early 1980, he kept making it his business to convince me that Prog Rock was dead, that punk had killed it, that whatever cool, innovative, progressive music the future might hold — it would come from punk and the wreckage it had made of all that had come before. Anyway, he more or less forced Second Hand Daylight on me and, which started strong with Feed the Enemy and never really let up. A plane crash over the border, unconvincing border guards, hunger. No room for doubt. That was a future I could grab onto. And holy sh** — what a bass line!” (Philip Random)

Magazine-1979

600. damaged goods

“By the time I got around to properly listening to Gang of Four, they were rather past it, attempting to work a sort of white-washed funk that, in retrospect, was probably even worse than it seemed at the time. Or more to the point, subsequent explorations of their earlier stuff revealed a grittier, nastier, far better band. Still somewhat funky, but not remotely clean – the funk being explored in service of the punk, no prisoners being taken, much damage being done.” (Philip Random)

GangOfFour-1979

609. Rudy can’t fail

“It took me a while to properly discover Rudy Can’t Fail – probably because I wasn’t playing side one of London Calling that much. Because I’d already heard the lead off title track a pile by the time I actually owned it. And it’s not as if there was anything lacking on the other four sides, The Clash being at the absolute peak of their attainments. Anyway, a summer day, 1984 I think, a mostly empty beach on one of the local islands, me and a few friends and a ghetto blaster. All of us rich kids (sort of), none of us remotely rich, all of us at that point in our lives where we were having to start think seriously about our futures. Go to law school. Go to business school. Get into real estate. Get a job at a bank. Eat human flesh. We were smoking a little dope, drinking a few beers, and suddenly Rudy came on care of the current mixtape, and it was exactly what my universe needed. Something to do with freedom and art having a way better groove than f***ing economics. It’s been on the personal playlist ever since.” (Philip Random)

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614. heaven

Fear of Music is the Talking Heads album that finally turned me from outside appreciator to full-on fan, because holy sh**! what a great album! every second of it. With Heaven speaking of a bar where nothing ever happens, and passionately so. Call it ironic, I guess, though I’d be lying if I said I’ve never known the special hell inherent in non-stop fun and games.” (Philip Random)

TalkingHeadsp-1979-2

627. 2 people in a room

“Somehow I missed Wire completely the first time around. Three future inventing albums culminating with 1979’s 154 at which point they went their separate ways for a long while. Then came 1987’s Ideal Copy, which was way too good to not get curious about, which eventually led me back to 154 and the revelation that, holy sh**, this album invented the 1980s (sort of). The energy of punk driving something smarter, more abstract and intense, taking it way behind enemy lines. No wonder they needed a seven year break.” (Philip Random)

Wire-1979