Tag: 1982

ABC – The Lexicon of Love

ARTIST: ABC                                                ABC-Lexicon

TITLE: The Lexicon of Love

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #24 US, #1 UK

SINGLES: Tears Are Not Enough (#19 UK), Poison Arrow (#25 US, #39 Dance, #6 UK), The Look of Love (#18 US, #1 Dance, #4 UK), All of My Heart (#5 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Show Me

LINEUP: Martin Fry, Mark White, Stephen Singleton, David Palmer with Anne Dudley, Brad Lang, and others

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The ultimate sophisticated dance pop album.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: ABC, arragner Anne Dudley and producer Trevor Horn constructed this witty, smart, and sophisticated album that somehow escapes pretention (for the most part) and whisks you into a world of love, loss, and wordplay.

Two tracks “Poison Arrow” and “The Look of Love” are well-known 80’s tracks, but the entire album is full of pop hooks, elegant arrangements, and witty lyrics. Even the requisite ballad “All of My Heart” isn’t just a weepy ballad – the arrangement is exquisite.

ABC wouldn’t scale these heights again, but this record cements their legacy.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had a long form video called “Mantrap” directed by Julien Temple.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, versions with B-sides and dance mixes.

 GRADE A+: Best of the new-romantic class.

The Descendents – Milo Goes to College

ARTIST: The Descendents          220px-descendents_-_milo_goes_to_college_cover

TITLE: Milo Goes to College

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Myage, I’m Not a Loser, I’m Not a Punk, Subrban Home

LINEUP: Milo Auckerman, Bill Stevenson, Tony Lombardo, Frank Navetta

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A document of the innovative pop punk band before Milo actually went to college..

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The sound of disaffected youth, in punk rock? Yeah. Aside from a couple of unfortunate slurs (which is in character, I believe), the disaffection here is genuine, raw, and melodic.

In punk fashion, the songs don’t linger. There’s no extraneous solos or instrumental falderal. There are good riffs, and inventive bass playing from oldster Tony Lombardo. The songs are about hating the rich, going to Catalina, and other issues with youth. Milo Auckerman’s vocals are raspy and committed.

The concerns are the same that today’s youth have, but rooted in the 80’s sound. There are a couple of lyrics that wouldn’t pass muster now, but they’re in character and doesn’t take that much away from the message.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Milo did go to college – and the cover is a caricature of Milo.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.

 GRADE A: Classic poppy punk.

The Waitresses – Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?

ARTIST: The Waitresses                                 220px-The_Waitresses_-_Wasn't_Tomorrow_Wonderful_

TITLE: Wasn’t Tomorrow Wonderful?

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #41

SINGLES: I Know What Boys Like (#62)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Not really

LINEUP: Patty Donohue, Chris Butler, Mars Williams, Tracy Wormworth, Billy Ficca, Dan Klayman. David Hofstra and Ariel Warner where on early recordings.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Out of nowhere, now iconic, hit results in the formation of a band and an album deal.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The original “I Know What Boys Like” had a different band than what’s more commonly known as the Waitresses, as only singer Patty Donohue and leader Chris Butler were around for that. However, with its success, Butler pulled together an band which included former Television drummer Billy Ficca, and released this record of several more ironic new-wave tracks.

Butler’s guitar work isn’t in a typical new wave style (he was in Tin Huey, who were art-damaged denizens of Cleveland) but the rest of the band smooths out the rough edges, and Donohue’s sassy sing-talk vocals holds everything together.

At times, there’s too much saxophone (the kind of force it into some spots that it doesn’t really belong), and sometimes the songs are a bit too long. But tracks like “No Guilt”, “Wise Up” and the title track are worthy companions to the mega-hit.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: David Hofstra and Ariel Warner quit the band during recording sessions. Warner, a backing vocalist, had stage fright.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with the “Christmas Wrapping” EP.

 GRADE B+: Not consistently great, but better than you’d think for a one-hit new-wave wonder.

Misfits – Walk Among Us

ARTIST: Misfits                       220px-Misfits_-_Walk_Among_Us_cover

TITLE:  Walk Among Us

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I’m sure the converted know them all.

LINEUP: Glenn Danzig, Jerry Only, Doyle, Arthur Googy

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First released full-length album after a boatload of singles and EPs.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After false starts, band changes, label reluctance, and instability in general, the (in) famous Misfits finally released a full length album in 1982. Was it worth the wait?

Well, maybe. It depends on who you talk to.

It’s punk rock with horror ethos, which is fine. Glenn Danzig conveys the requisite evil emotions, and the band plays with fervor. What’s happening here is the same-same-same of a lot of the tracks, especially the ‘whoa-ho-whoa’ backing vocals.

I’m not part of the cult – I missed that railroad, and I’ve always been skeptical. This didn’t really convert me, but it’s NOT bad, really. It’s decent enough, and enough time has passed where it’s not really ‘scary’ anymore except to some zealot fundies.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had an album ready to go in 1978, but shelved it due to band changes and no record company interest.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE: B: Honestly, it’s not as good as the hype, but it’s also near the end of their road.

John Mellencamp – American Fool

ARTIST: John Cougar (Mellencamp)          220px-JC_American_Fool

TITLE: American Fool

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #1 US, #37 UK

SINGLES: Hurts So Good (#2, #1 Mainstream), Jack & Diane (#1 US, #3 Mainstream, #25 UK), Thundering Hearts (#36 Mainstream), Hand to Hold on To (#19 US, #89 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No one knew the deep cuts

LINEUP: John Cougar (Mellencamp), Larry Crane, Mike Wanchic, Kenny Aronoff, George Perry with help by Mick Ronson (!)

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The breakthrough finally happens, thanks to MTV and constant touring.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: John Cougar finally, finally struck the big time after a few years of regional success thanks to “Hurts So Good”, a catchy rock-and-roll fun-time number with a great video. The Hoosier then became a household name with “Jack and Diane” – really one of the most polarizing songs of the 80’s. You either loved it, or wish it didn’t exist. (I fall into the latter camp).

The album that follows those songs isn’t horrible – it could be said “Jack and Diane” is the worst song there (well, I say it). There are a couple of other high points, but we definitely have a mostly hit+filler situation here – with the hits coming at the beginning and the second side of the LP may have been almost totally neglected on turntables and cassette decks.

There’s some progress here on the songwriting front, and he’s not afraid to be sentimental, but songs like “China Girl” (not the Bowie / Pop track) hold him back, along with…you know.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The record company almost cancelled this record and released him.   

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: One bonus track, the title track. 

GRADE: B-:  It was a huge album, but it has a lot of meh filler.

The Call – The Call

ARTIST: The Call                       R-1096852-1191772999.jpeg

TITLE: The Call

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Just promos

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: War Weary Word

LINEUP: Michael Been, Scott Musick, Greg Freeman, Tom Ferrier, Steve Huddleston

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album from topical 80’s rock band is a bit strident and prescriptive.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Featuring an anthemic sound and political and social lyrics, the Call came onto the scene as one of the early bands fighting against the political tide of the time.

The album started out great with “War Weary World”, but as the album went on, Michael Been’s vocals wore on me, as his lack of subtlety felt like someone preaching instead of pleading.

In short doses, especially “War Weary World”, this is fine, but this first effort is just a bit too much.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Been was in the late 60’s band Aorta, which was noted only for their album cover.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: C+: A few good tracks, but as a whole it seems strident.

Black Flag – Everything Went Black

ARTIST: Black Flag                                                      Black_Flag_-_Everything_Went_Black_cover

TITLE: Everything Went Black

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: None

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: All of their early singles are here in multiple versions.

LINEUP: Greg Ginn, Chuck Dukoswki, Brian Migdol, Robo, Keith Morris, Ron Reyes, Dez Cadena

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A collection of recordings made by the early incarnations of Black Flag, released as a holdover until their legal problems cleared up.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Due to the fact that they were temporarily banned from recording and releasing new material, Black Flag did something innovative and took a bunch of demos and other recordings featuring each of their previous singers, and released them to their fans, anonymously. 3293922

What you get are multiple versions of many Black Flag classics, including songs that would be made famous by other versions featuring the other vocalists. Keith Morris got an entire side, Dez Cadena got a side and a half, and Ron Reyes got half of one side. You can definitely compare and contrast how each of them treats each song.

The final side was a long compilation of all the radio ads recorded for various gigs and some other shenanigans they did in the studio. That’s an interesting listen, once.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Reyes was called Chavo Pederast and Morris was listed as Johnny Bob Goldstein.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: B-:  It’s kind of a novelty and wears you out, but hearing each vocalist is interesting.

Culture Club – Kissing to be Clever

ARTIST: Culture Club                            cultureclubkissingtobeclever

TITLE:  Kissing to Be Clever

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #14 US, #5 UK

SINGLES: White Boy (#114 UK), I’m Afraid of Me (#100 UK), Do You Really Want to Hurt Me (#2 US, #1 UK), Time (Clock of the Heart) (#2 US, #3 UK), I’ll Tumble 4 Ya (#9 US)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I doubt you do

LINEUP: Boy George, Michael Craig, Roy Hay, Jon Moss with Keith Miller, Terry Bailey, Nicky Payne, Helen Terry, Colin Campsie, Phil Pickett and Denise Spooner

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut album from a group that took the world by storm really shows more of their weaknesses than their strengths.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The first two singles from Culture Club tried to establish them as a dance-floor friendly band, with “White Boy” kind of successful, and “I’m Afraid of Me” let down by faux Caribbean instruments and rhythm. Then, they decided their big album-ending ballad should be the next release.

When it got to the US, and entered our collective consciousness, they changed the order around, added another ballad onto the album, and all of the faux disco and 80’s dance floor sounds seemed out of place from what the public knew. And the song with “Captain Crucial” was embarrassing.

Many of the songs talk about boys (especially white boys) and the dance styles take away from Boy George’s vocal strengths (and they dilute the guitars of Roy Hay as well, who is the band’s secret weapon). The production is early 80’s, with tinny drums and synclavier horns. But then, the ballads appear and you know why this was big.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They had three Top 10 hits from this album, the first time a debut had that many Top 10 hits since the Beatles.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes.The US version added “Time” (finally, it wasn’t there at first) and deleted another track (about boys)

GRADE: C:  The hits really can’t overcome the rest.

The Fixx – Shuttered Room

ARTIST: The Fixx                              the_fixx_-_shuttered_room

TITLE:  Shuddered Room

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #106 US, #54 UK

SINGLES: Some People, Stand or Fall (#76 US, #7 Mainstream, #54 UK), Red Skies (#101 US, #13 Mainstream, #57 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No

LINEUP: Cy Curnin, Rupert Greenall, Jamie West-Oram, Charlie Bennett, Adam Woods

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: UK arty new wave band’s debut album (after two name changes and failed singles) gets some traction in the US thanks to MTV.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: The Fixx’ debut showcased their kinda-arty, proggy, new wave. Cy Cyrnin’s vocal mannerisms seem stilted and a bit pretentious and the lyrics also seem a bit too arty as well.

Musically, the Fixx also show their arty side. Jamie West-Oram’s guitar flashes and slashes are overwhelmed at times by Rupert Greenall’s synths. Sometimes the tracks slog along as well. There seems to be an inertia on some cuts.

A couple of tracks got some US airplay and got MTV heavy rotation, and they can put a hook or two in their songs, but this first go-round was just arty moosh.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They recorded two singles as Portraits and one as The Fix. This isn’t streaming anywhere, either.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The UK and US version have two different tracks, and there’s bonus tracks on the US version streaming.

GRADE: C:  A couple hooks and hits doesn’t a good album make, but you knew that.

Prince – 1999

ARTIST: Prince                        1999_cover

TITLE:  1999

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #7 US, #28 UK

SINGLES: 1999 (#12 US, #4 R&B, #1 Dance, #4 UK), Little Red Corvette (#6 US, #11 R&B, #61 Dance, #12 UK), Delirious (#8 US, #18 R&B, #33 UK), Let’s Pretend We’re Married (#52 US, #55 R&B, #52 Dance)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Automatic, Free

LINEUP: Prince, Dez Dickerson, Lisa Coleman, Jill Jones, Vanity, Wendy Melovin – but Prince did almost ALL of the instruments except the guitar solos on Little Red Corvette.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Early 90’s R&B diva’s hits collection has some nice confections, but ultimately dissolves into the air with no substance.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Well, it’s not the ultimately perfect record – I think the sequencing could have been better – it’s as close as you can get.

His last three records had been steps in this direction, but nothing on those albums prepared you for this. From the bombast of “1999”, to the soul of “Little Red Corvette”, to the hook-laden “Delirious” (and that’s just Side 1) and “Let’s Pretend We’re Married”, to the funk of “DMSR” . “Lady Cab Driver”, and “Automatic”, the ballads and experimentation that end the album, it’s just, well, a revolution.

This not only set the scene for the 80’s, but all R&B based music afterwards.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The B-side to “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” was “Irresistible Bitch”, my favorite Prince B-side, probably left off the album because of its sonic similarity to “Lady Cab Driver”

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A+:  I may have wanted to move a ballad to the first half of the album, but that’s just me. If you don’t have this record, grab it, and start by listening to the lesser known cuts.