Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Various Artists - Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s, Vol. 10 (1994)

This is the 10th volume of a fantastic 15 volume set released in the mid-'90s by the always wonderful Rhino Records. Songs on this volume are from the years 1982-1983.  One the stronger volumes of the series, this compilation contains many of my favorites from those years, including a guilty pleasure (no, not Pac-Man Fever).

  • Desperate But Not Serious - Adam Ant: from his first solo album, Friend or Foe, it's no Goody Two-Shoes, but the juxtaposition of twangy spaghetti western guitar and a horn section is fun. 
  • Do You Wanna Hold Me? - Bow Wow Wow: this group was essentially Adam Ant's band, the Ants, with the addition of a jailbait tease of a singer, Anabella Lwin.  This bouncy pop tune keeps all the busy tribal drumming as it asks a rhetorical question.
  • China - Red Rockers: much like Do You Wanna Hold Me?, this is a great pop tune that should have at least cracked the Top 40. I didn't hear this song until I picked it up the budget compilation, Just Say New Wave.
  • (Keep Feeling) Fascination - The Human League: Yeah! I love this cheesy piece of synth-funk as much now as I did when it was released.  Even the horrible synth-horn sounds don't bother me. Previously reviewed here and here: "To be honest, (Keep Feeling) Fascination is one of my favorite songs not only of this CD, but of the entire decade."
  • Beat Surrender - The Jam:  One of the mod group's best songs, a blatant rip-off (or homage) of Motown.  Also included in their greatest hits package.
  • The Walls Came Down - The Call: For a mid-tempo song using a simple blues progression, this is really good (and hard to get out of your head).  Sadly, the anti-military industrial establishment lyrics still ring true today.   Because of its simplicity, this was one of the very first songs I taught myself to play by ear. I thought of The Call as a one-hit wonder back in the '80s and have only recently come to appreciate them with the purchase of two of their later albums, Reconciled from 1986 and Let The Day Begin from 1989.
  • Amanda Ruth - Rank & File: This cowpunk tune doesn't have me singing along.  The band didn't last long, but band member Alejandro Escovedo went on to critically successful solo career.
  • A Million Miles Away - The Plimsouls:  I'm not as wild about this band as the people at Rhino.  Also included on the Rhino compilation for the movie Valley Girl.
  • Our House - Madness:  Exasperatingly arresting.  Now heard on countless TV ads, this song is as catchy these days as it was when it was released.  Madness is a ska band, but this isn't a ska tune.  It had an amusing video, however, which played a big part in its success.  The video reminds me of watching videos on MTV at Jim's place (my house didn't have cable).  The song also makes an appearance in the CD collection here. Side note: a musical called Our House, featuring Madness songs, ran in London's West End between October 2002 and August 2003. 
  • Shy Boy (Don't It Make You Feel Good) - Bananarama:  I have to admit that this trio had some catchy tunes, including this one.  I don't remember it from the '80s (it only reached #83 on the singles chart), but I like its inclusion here.
  • Wishing (If I Had A Photograph Of You) - A Flock Of Seagulls:  I can name 4 songs by this group, but I only like 1 of them.  This isn't it.  The inverse proportion of this group's success to its actual talent amazes me to this day.
  • Promises, Promises - Naked Eyes: I bought a copy of the group's self-titled debut LP on the strength of their well-known cover of Bacharach's Always Something There To Remind Me.  As I recall, it had two good songs on it, that cover and this tune.  This original version is much, much better than the acoustic version reviewed here.
  • Stand By - Roman Holliday:  I hate myself for liking this Stray Cats-meets-Sha Na Na rockabilly number.  I like it now, but I would have hated it in 1983.
  • Whistle Down The Wind - Nick Heyward: I'm a confessed fan of Heyward's bubblegum pop, so it shouldn't be a surprise that I think this is one of the better tracks on the disc.  This song also made an appearance at the school dance scene in the classic '80s John Hughes movie Sixteen Candles.
  • Earthquake Song - Little Girls:  Also included on one of Rhino's Valley Girl compilations: "a bad Beach Boys knock off with some of the most horrible lyrics I've ever heard. Ex: 'There's a building chasing me.' There's nothing quite like a bouncy pop song about a natural disaster. [eye roll]"
  • Puttin' On The Ritz - Taco: and we close with a guilty pleasure.  I really liked this drum-machine remake back in high school because I considered myself a "renaissance man" [snicker] that could appreciate Irving Berlin.  I didn't buy the LP, After Eight, but I thought about it.  When he was about 11, my youngest son went through a month-long phase where he listened to this version all the time.  Now when I hear the name Taco, I think of the FX series The League.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: see above

Previously revisited for the blog:
Volume 1Volume 2
Volume 3Volume 4
Volume 5Volume 6
Volume 7Volume 8
Volume 9Volume 12
Volume 13Volume 14
New Wave Dance HitsNew Wave Xmas

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