I promise this won't be a whiny "remember when MTV played videos?" post (all the videos are on YouTube, go over there to watch them and quit yer bitchin' already). I'm not really qualified to speak about the 120 Minutes program because in the late '80s I rarely stayed up that late (poor me always had an 8:00 AM class) and I didn't have a VCR, so what's a broke college kid to do? But I was aware of the program, may have seen occasional bits and pieces, and many of my music-minded friends enjoyed it, so when I saw this compilation in the used bin a few weeks back, I couldn't pass it up for two reasons: 1) nostalgia, and 2) it's a Rhino compilation and those folks were doing exceptional work at the time of this CD's release.
Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: Did not chart
- R.E.M. - Orange Crush (from Green, 1988): This song reached #1 on both the Mainstream and Modern Rock Tracks in Billboard magazine. Green is my third favorite REM album (after Lifes Rich Pageant and Murmur), so I'm surprised I've never replaced my cassette with a CD. Easily fixed. As for the song, it's one of my favorites from the album. Producer Scott Litt certainly cleaned up their sound, huh? It just dawned on me that it's a war protest song. Stupid me in my 20's thought it was about the soda pop. D'oh!
- Public Image Ltd. - This Is Not A Love Song (from This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get, 1984): Can't stand John Lydon's voice, but that's the point, isn't it? The backing tracks are fantastic and remind more than a little of the backing tracks for FGTH's Relax. Too bad that voice is a deal-breaker.
- Ramones - Do You Remember Rock 'N' Roll Radio? (from End Of The Century, 1980): Love the Ramones from this era. They're basically playing '50s rock at a faster tempo. Always brings a wry grin to my face.
"Rock-o-Meter" from the 1979 film
Rock 'n' Roll High School
- X - Burning House Of Love (from Ain't Love Grand!, 1984): This single reached #27 on the rock chart. It's okay and fairly melodic, but despite the lyrics, it isn't as raw as their earlier stuff, which I prefer. Can't blame 'em for chasing commercial success, though.
- Ministry - Stigmata (from The Land of Rape and Honey, 1988): Not my thing. The distorted vocals and the aggressive, grating tape loop literally give me a headache. Shame, because I like the rockin' groove.
- Morrissey - Everyday Is Like Sunday (from Viva Hate, 1988): I was never much of a fan of The Smiths or solo Morrissey, but this tune is catchy. I really like the arrangement and production.
- The Jesus And Mary Chain - Head On (from Automatic, 1989): As far as I can remember, this may be the first song I've heard from this band. I like it enough to seek out a few more tunes. No idea how this group avoided my radar in the '80s. This tune peaked at #45 on the Mainstream Rock chart and #2 on the Modern Rock chart.
- Echo And The Bunnymen - The Killing Moon (from Ocean Rain, 1984): previously appeared on this blog on Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s. Here's what I said then: " I think I've said this before - I wish I had listened to Echo back in the '80s. Not too long ago, I was in a car with a woman who I had just met. This song came on the radio and she looked up at the night sky and said, "Yes, it IS a killing moon tonight." That made me a little uncomfortable. She turned out to be a decent person, but that was a strange first impression." Man, I really enjoy the chord changes in the chorus of this one.
- Joy Division - Love Will Tear Us Apart (single release in 1980): previously appeared on The Best of Joy Division and Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s. Kind of an obvious choice for this disc, but no matter - I like it. A couple of years back, I heard Peter Hook and his band play the New Order AND Joy Division Substance albums in full, in sequence. The first half of the show was NO and, after an intermission, the JD tunes. So this song closed the show and I wouldn't have had it any other way.
- New Order - The Perfect Kiss (from Low-Life, 1985): I can't decide if this CD sequencing is intentionally ignorant or brilliant. Either way, this is a great tune from a great band.
- Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus (from Violator, 1990): Previously appeared on The Singles 86>98. I listened to the crap out of my Violator cassette, often subjecting my students to it. Even so, I never tire of this tune and I'll sing along with every word. Peaked at #3 on the Modern Rock chart, #12 on the Dance chart, and #28 on the Hot 100.
- The Sugarcubes - Birthday (from Life's Too Good, 1988): I'm fighting the urge to hit the skip button. I don't get the critical acclaim for Björk. Never have.
- Hüsker Dü - Could You Be The One? (from Warehouse: Songs and Stories, 1987): If Bob Mould is singing, I generally like the tunes from this group, this one included.
- Faith No More - We Care A Lot (from We Care A Lot, 1985): Previously appeared on Sedated in the Eighties, No. 3 and Grosse Pointe Blank Soundtrack. Didn't discover this one until 1997; wish I'd found it in '85.
- Violent Femmes - Gone Daddy Gone (from Violent Femmes, 1983): Dig it, Daddy-O! Why haven't I ever purchased that eponymous album? Two xylophone solos? Yeah, dawg!
- Wire - Eardrum Buzz (from It's Beginning to and Back Again, 1989): I tried to get into Wire with their A Bell Is A Cup album during the infamous Lost Summer of Mark, but that album didn't have anything as good as this tune on it, so I gave up on them. Too soon, as it turns out. This single hit #2 on the Modern Rock chart.
|Billboard, March 29, 1986, p. 54|
(click photo to enlarge)