“One more from that lost and forgotten alt-reality wherein the 1980s were everything they should have been and a record like the Undertones‘ Love Parade hit the toppermost of the poppermost – melodic, soulful, full of light, and so damned popular we all got sick of it. But it wasn’t so we didn’t, so thank all gods for that. And man, that Feargal Sharkey could sing.” (Philip Random)
“Listening to Abba is like having a bath, then going to bed with freshly cleaned sheets. Or so I heard it put way back when, the 1970s. But by the time the 1980s hit, the culture no longer required such luxuriant cleanliness. So Abba effected a change, got darker, deeper, paranoid even. Which worked for me, but I can’t say I’ve ever heard The Visitors popping up at a wedding.” (Philip Random)
“Another potent reminder of just how unbelievably f***ing good the Beatles were, and how dumb our commercialized culture continues to be — that a song this good (another one of George’s nuggets) could still somehow be under-exposed. Not that I’m really complaining.” (Philip Random)
In which the Buzzcocks unleash a short, sharp fever of pure and beautiful pop with punk in its soul. Or is it the other way around? One thing is clear. They were one of (if not the first) bands to have it both ways, and we’ll forever love them for that. Just because you’re mad as hell doesn’t mean you can’t be pretty, too.
Trio had a big deal international pop hit in 1981 with Da Da Da, and that whole first album is good, simple (some would say simplistic, others dadaesque) fun. Ja Ja Ja was the punk number.
Catchy pop gem from the Waterboys‘ self-titled first album about a girl with a boy’s name (in fact, a tribute to Patti Smith). What’s not to like? And why again didn’t we get to hear this on commercial radio?
“But were The Cure even Goth? Or so I heard it argued back in the day. How can you be something that hasn’t even been named yet? What they were, was good, sometimes great, which is true of Caterpillar, a wigged out pop experiment if there ever was one. Nothing does what you expect it to, but it always works, keeps the foot tapping, the head nodding, the earworm slithering.” (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.
“As I heard it put once, The Posies were the Seattle band of the early 90s that didn’t get mentioned much during all the grunge hype because they didn’t play to type, being more about big rich melodies and smart pop finesse than roaring chest rock. My friend Mike says they sound like the early 1970s Hollies taking on Led Zeppelin here. I’ll take his word for it. Epic and not unsweet.” (Philip Random)