Tag: 1982

Adam Ant – Friend or Foe

ARTIST: Adam Ant

TITLE: Friend or Foe

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION:  #16 US, #5 UK

SINGLES: Goody Two Shoes (#12 US, #7 Mainstream, #1 UK), Friend or Foe (#9 UK), Desperate But Not Serious (#66 US, #33 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Place in the Country

LINEUP: Adam Ant, Marco Pirroni, Bogdan Wiczling, Martin Drover, Jeff Daly, Jude Kelly, Sam Brown, Sonia Jones, Vicki Brown

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: After shedding the Ants, Adam Ant strikes it rich on both sides of the Atlantic with his first solo excursion.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: All things being equal, Adam Ant solo was rather much Adam & the Ants. This time with a horn section, and less Burundi drums. But the tone and structure of the songs are mostly the same.

Ant slags on the press, romances girls, and generally tries to be the hedonist we all know he is. His best bud Marco is on guitar, Adam plays bass (didn’t know he was a bassist, did ya?) and he uses session musicians for the horns and drums. Hooks are evident in many songs, which is a definite return to form.

It’s a recovery from Prince Charming, to be sure. There only cut worth excising is a cover of “Hello, I Love You”. (No one should really cover the Doors). Nostalgia reigns on this record for some of us, but in reality it’s better than hearing old MTV cuts.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Ant performed the album live on tour in the UK in 2019.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, scads of demos and a couple of outtakes.

GRADE B:  It’s not the rush of Kings of the Wild Frontier, but it’s not horrible. If you like Ant you’ll dig it.   

Squeeze – Sweets From a Stranger

ARTIST: Squeeze 

TITLE: Sweets From a Stranger

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION:  #32 US, #20 UK

SINGLES: Black Coffee in Bed (#103 US, #26 Mainstream, #51 UK), When the Hangover Strikes, I’ve Returned

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: In Quintessence

LINEUP: Glenn Tillbrook, Chris Difford, John Bentley, Don Snow, Gilson Lavis

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Paul Carrack leaves, Difford and Tillbrook don’t have the songs, and while they have a video on heavy rotation, no one is really happy about the record, much less the band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Almost every track on Sweets From a Stranger seems like it’s been done before. Maybe not by Squeeze, but there isn’t a lot of originality here. You have new wave sounding tracks, arty rock songs that sound a little Broadway-esque, and classic guitar-oriented pop songs. Only “Black Coffee in Bed” rises above the déjà vu feeling of the songs.

This even extends to lyrics, where Chris Difford mines the familiar themes of drinking and cheating, but without the originality and verve before. Glenn Tillbrook tries hard but gets too fancy by half on some tracks, and on others the tunes just seem a bit flat. The production didn’t help either – it was a bit busy in places and didn’t let the songs breathe.

“Black Coffee in Bed” was a classic, and MTV played the video like crazy in 1982 (even with Gilson Lavis dropping a drumstick). It’s not a bad album, but quite disappointing when measured by the preceding three Squeeze records. After this, they released a ‘final’ single (the brilliant “Annie Get Your Gun”) and split up for a bit. When they came back, their sound had morphed.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Some songs sounded like musical theatre tracks, and yes, Difford and Tillbrook did mount a short-lived musical in London in 1983.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Outtakes, demos, and “Annie Get Your Gun (#40 Mainstream, #43 UK)

 GRADE: B- A disappointment to say the least.

Talking Heads – The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads

ARTIST: Talking Heads

TITLE: The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION:  #31 US, #22 UK

SINGLES: Life During Wartime

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Psycho Killer, Memories Can’t Wait, Once in a Lifetime, and basically all of the best tracks from their first four records.

LINEUP: David Byrne, Chris Frantz, Jerry Harrison, Tina Weymouth. On the second disc (side 3 and 4, or the back half of the stream) Adrian Belew, Busta “Cherry” Jones, Steve Scales, Bernie Worrell, and Dolette McDonald joined the tour. Nona Hendryx sings on a couple tracks as well from their Central Park concert.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Taken from radio appearances and concerts, this is the definitive live album for the early glory years of Talking Heads and shows their evolution from quirky arty new wave band to quirky arty neo funk new wave band.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: As great as their albums were, Talking Heads were just as great live, as this double live set (ultra expanded for CD and streaming) shows. And they were smart in dividing it in two cleanly as well.

The first half of the set featuresthe basic quartet ripping through songs mostly culled from their first two albums (with a single, an unreleased track, and two from Fear of Music). The initial quartet played together so well, with husband and wife Chris Franz and Tina Weymouth holding down the rhythm and back end, allowing David Byrne and Jerry Harrison freedom on guitar and keyboards.

The second half is the ‘big band’ they assembled for the Remain in Light tour. Featuring keyboard whiz Bernie Worrell (who just left George Clinton’s orbit), guitar wunderkind Adrian Belew (adding another layer of arty complexity), and powerhouse vocalist Dolette McDonald, the big band took on the more complicated songs from their third and four album, and enhanced their earlier songs as well with their presence.

This is a great snapshot of the early Talking Heads, when they were raw and hungry and still a chart underdog. Better commercial success would follow, but this may be their career peak.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: At least two complete concerts from the ‘big band” (Rome and Passaic, NJ) are on You Tube and well worth spending the time with them. Especially “Crosseyed and Painless” with the intro.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: As said above, this is ultra-expanded from the 2-record set. But somehow they chopped off the intro for “Crosseyed and Painless”

 GRADE A+: It may be one of the best live albums of all time, especially in capturing a band at its peak in at least two eras.

The Clash – Combat Rock

ARTIST: The Clash 220px-The_Clash_-_Combat_Rock

TITLE: Combat Rock

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #7 US, #2 UK

SINGLES: Know Your Rights (#43 UK), Rock the Casbah (#8 US, #6 Mainstream, #8 Dance, #30 UK), Should I stay or Should I Go (#45 US, #13 Mainstream, #17 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Straight to Hell

LINEUP: Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Paul Simonon, Topper Headon. Help from a bunch of their usual suspects (Ellen Foley, Tymon Dogg, Kosmo Vinyl, Tommy Mandel, Gary Barnacle) and others, like Allen Ginsberg, Joe Ely, Futura 2000.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The long awaited and deserved US commercial breakthrough papered over a big division in the band musically.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Roaring out of the gates with “Know Your Rights” and careening down 11 other songs with various styles and motifs but unified by a voice, the Clash’s experiments in London Calling and Sandanista! were boiled into one successful, and challenging record.

Tracks like “Red Angel Dragnet” (Paul Simonon did the reciting, with Kosmo Vinyl adding the Travis Bickle bit), “Sean Flynn”, and “Death Is a Star”, as out of the mainstream as they were, successfully melded into the commercial sphere. Other great tracks like “Straight to Hell” and “Car Jamming” were great album tracks supported by the hits.

The issue here is the hidden division between Mick Jones and Joe Strummer. Mick wanted a double album with longer tracks and more dance / dub experiments, but Joe and manager Bernie Rhodes shut that down. (You can find the proposed album on You Tube as Rat Patrol from Fort Bragg). By October 1983, they were basically done.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Drummer Topper Headon wrote the melody and piano part for “Rock the Casbah”, but was out of the band within weeks of release due to his drug addiction

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE A: The experimental cuts don’t hit 100% but the album wouldn’t be the album without it.

The Replacements – Stink

ARTIST: The Replacements 220px-The_Replacements_-_The_Replacements_Stink_cover

TITLE: Stink

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: It was an EP. The lead track was Kids Don’t Follow

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Pretty much everything is Replacements canon

LINEUP: Paul Westerberg, Bob Stinson, Tommy Stinson, Christopher Mars

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Recorded to make sure that Kids Don’t Follow was on record, this EP is a holding pattern.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Paul Westerburg had a habit of discarding some songs after he was sick of them. Peter Jesperson, their manager, wanted to make sure that “Kids Don’t Follow” wasn’t in the discard pile, so he arranged this one day session to record this and other songs they had added to their set.

Most everything is hard fast, snotty, and arrogant, but there’s some real poignancy is songs like “Go”, realism in “God Damn Job”, and anthems in “Kids Don’t Follow” and “Gimme Noise”

This will take 15 minutes of your time and there are worse ways to spend it. It doesn’t propel the group forward though.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The opening bit is an honest-to-God Minneapolis police raid.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a few outtakes

 GRADE B+: A couple of all timers, but nothing else is special.

Modern English – After the Snow

ARTIST: Modern English 220px-After_the_Snow_-_Modern_English

TITLE: After the Snow

YEAR RELEASED: 1982

CHART ACTION: #70 US, #13 UK Indie

SINGLES: Life in the Gladhouse (#26 UK Indie), I Melt with You (#78 US, #60 Dance, #7 US Rock, #18 UK Indie), Someone’s Calling (#43 UK Indie)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I don’t think so.

LINEUP: Robbie Grey, Gary McDowell, Michael Conroy, Richard Brown, Stephen Walker

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Post-punk band emphasizes more keyboards, and brightens their sound, and record one of the 80’s MTV anthems.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Had you not gotten your MTV yet, but somehow got this album from a UK post-punk friend, you’d notice that the first side was a better, brighter sounding rendition of their gothy, moody tunes – more in line with their singles than their album tracks. Still, arty and all that. Not pop records, really.

Then, Side 2 has THAT SONG. You know….”I Melt with You”. It doesn’t matter that the rest of the album is kind of filler-y and back to the ol’ moody atmosphere. THAT SONG overwhelms everything.

There are nice nuggets on Side 1, essential listening for you gothy post-punkers out there. In fact, I bought this after hearing “Face of Wood” being played in a record store. But, 80’s new wavers may be disappointed.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: For some damn reason, the band remade “I Melt with You” in 1990 and don’t even think about it.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, different mixes and B-sides

 GRADE B+: Better than their debut and it has THAT SONG. Since no compilation is streaming now, just grab this and be done with them.

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.