This is the 5th volume of a fantastic 15 volume set released in the mid-'90s by the always wonderful Rhino Records. This CD was the first I bought of the series, purchased almost immediately after my 10 year high school reunion. The first half is much stronger than the second half. Songs on this volume were released in the years 1981 - 1982.
- I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow: You'd never know it, but this song only reached #62 on the singles charts. You can't get away from it now. I have an embarrassing confession: until just recently, I was unaware of the fact that this is a cover. The original version by The Strangeloves was a #11 hit back in 1965.
- I Know What Boys Like - The Waitresses: I remember this quirky song's video from MTV. You can be assured it never played on the radio in my area. This group also recorded the theme to the TV show Square Pegs, but this is the group's best song.
- Kids In America - Kim Wilde: from the first time I heard this song, I was a Kim Wilde fan. I quickly bought her debut album and was subsequently disappointed in her sophomore effort. I never understood why the lyric was written as "New York to East California." Why leave out the people in the western part of California?
- Love Plus One - Haircut One Hundred: From one of my favorite albums of the '80s, Pelican West.
- Someday, Someway - Marshall Crenshaw: one of the best songs of the '80s I didn't hear until the '90s. This is Crenshaw's biggest hit, but he's one of those fantastic singer/songwriters that never got the major success to equal his talent. Highly recommended.
- Hold On To Something - Great Buildings: typical early '80s west coast power pop. I wouldn't seek it out to listen to, but I don't skip this track. Interesting, two members of this band went on to form The Rembrandts who scored a huge hit in the '90s with the theme to the TV show Friends.
- Town Called Malice - The Jam: a fantastic tribute to soul music by Paul Weller and The Jam (the bass line is ripped off from You Can't Hurry Love). The Jam started as a more of a punk band, but then veered towards soul before they broke up and Paul Weller formed The Style Council.
- 867-5309/Jenny - Tommy Tutone: I can't get away from this song, either. Young program directors must think this is the quintessential '80s song. It's played about 6 times a day on XM radio's '80s on 8.
- Vacation - The Go-Go's: my least favorite Go-Go's single. I guess Beauty And The Beat was so awesome that it was hard to write a follow-up. Nonetheless, Belinda Carlisle sounds (and looks) great. Love ya, Belinda, call me!
- Valley Girl - Frank & Moon Zappa: I've never enjoyed Zappa's music and there's nothing here to change my mind, but I love the Valspeak. The best thing about this song is that it inspired the movie Valley Girl with Nicolas Cage and the lovely Deborah Foreman. Love ya, Deborah, call me!
- I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock Of Seagulls: There's no way this crap would have been a hit without the video being in heavy rotation on MTV. I may not care for it, but the band has made a lot of money from it, so hats off to them for that.
- Sex Dwarf - Soft Cell: Not a big fan of this song. It doesn't even appeal to my dark side. This song would have been perfect in The Silence Of The Lambs because I think this is the type of music Buffalo Bill would listen to: "It places the Soft Cell on the turntable."
- I Love A Man In A Uniform - Gang Of Four: Not one of my favs; I can't help but sing it whenever anyone says something about a man in uniform.
- The Art Of Parties - Japan: This does nothing for me. It's sounds like a drunken King Crimson outtake and makes for a very long 4 minutes.
- Homosapien - Pete Shelley: Fairly good power pop from the leader of The Buzzcocks; in fact, it sounds like The Buzzcocks with a synth part added (and better production). Apparently banned from play on the BBC for lyrical references to gay sex, e.g. "homo superior / in my interior"
- Mickey - Toni Basil: Not bad for a choreographer in her late 30s. This painful now even though I liked the song back in '82. Surprisingly, I never heard any controversy related to the lyrics, "So come on and give it to me anyway you can. Anyway you want to do it, I'll take it like a man." Maybe I'm reading too much into that?
I was introduced to much of this music at my friend Jim's house for two reasons: 1) he was always on the lookout for new music and would always have a new album for me to listen to, and 2) he had cable at his house and I didn't. At that point in time, cable meant one thing: MTV.
Previously revisited for the blog:
New Wave Xmas