“Premonition was the first Simple Minds track I ever heard, and it came via mixtape – the follow up to an argument I’d had with a friend about so-called New Wave music. Simplistic and annoying (my opinion) versus the cool sound of the future (his opinion). I was wrong. The proof was on that tape, Premonition sealing the deal with its big, dark groove. So much so that I was quick to grab the album, embrace the future, even if Simple Minds themselves would eventually come to truly, unironically earn their name, but that took at least five or six albums, so who’s really complaining?” (Philip Random)
Note the question mark in the title. This is XTC telling it like it was in early 1978 – everybody confused about the new wild sound that was tumbling out of the punk eruptions and eviscerations of the previous year. But what was it? New Wave, claimed the marketing types, but that didn’t mean anything. That was just a way of selling stuff that wasn’t disco or metal or prog or just boring old rock. What it was, was pop, bullshit free, for the moment and all time.
“My first impression upon seeing a photo of Magazine front man Howard DeVoto was that he looked pretty much like I’d expected. Not what you’d call a conventional leading man. Which made sense given the unconventional manner in which he snarled out his venomous tales of torn up romance and confusion. And yet he was telling the truth, and thus the light just poured out of him. It poured out of the whole Correct Use of Soap album (or perhaps you knew it as The Alternative Use of Soap — a few different tracks, a few different mixes, same fired up, angst-driven post-punk or new wave, or whatever).” (Philip Random)
By 1980, so-called New Wave was working through at least its ninth mutation. In the case of Ultravox, this meant parting ways with original front man John Foxx, hooking up with new guy Midge Ure and going distinctly (some would say pompously) Modern with monster album (at least in Europe) Vienna. “There really isn’t a bad track. Some dubious lyrics perhaps, but the feel of the thing, its sharp, pristine elegance, more than makes up.” (Philip Random)
“Spring 1980. I first hear of a band called Joy Divison. Apparently, they’re like a new wave Doors. Which is all I need to hear. I head down to Quintessence Records prepared to pay big bucks for an import. Except, ‘Sorry,’ says the guy at the counter, ‘we’re sold out since the main guy killed himself.’ Ouch. Maybe six months later, we start to hear New Order , the band that rose from those ashes – cool and eerie and sounding exactly like the future.” (Philip Random)