Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this music junkie 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. Compact Discs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no files.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Adam And The Ants - Kings Of The Wild Frontier (1980)

Note: this release was originally purchased as a LP, later replaced by a CD. The CD I listened to was the 2006 reissue which includes 6 bonus tracks.

Yesterday I read an article over at titled "How Adam Ant made the ’80s his bitch" and I particularly enjoyed how this album was described:
Never one for half-measures, Ant launched his 1980 album, Kings Of The Wild Frontier, with a bizarre new sound that mixed rollicking sea shanties, polyrhythmic Burundi drumming, and Native American war-whoops (at least as they’re portrayed in Hollywood Westerns).
That's the perfect description of this album.  Adam Ant called this album "the final nail in the coffin of punk."  I was 15 when I heard it for the first time; it was like nothing I had ever heard before and there's still nothing else like it.  As I was entering the "I'm cooler than you because I listen to musicians you've never heard of" phase of my deluded adolescence, this album was perfect.  This is easily Ant's best album.  If I remember correctly, I was attracted to the band name before I'd even heard any of the music.  I think Adam Ant would like that.

You would think that an expanded remastered edition would include detailed liner notes, but you'd be wrong.  We get lyrics and merchandise ads.  Adam Ant released a new album this week titled Adam Ant Is The BlueBlack Hussar Marrying The Gunner's Daughter.  I won't run out and buy it, but I'll at least give some samples a listen.

Press of the time:
  • Smash Hits (8 out of 10): "strong, intelligent dance music with a dash of drama"
  • Trouser Press: "a fine madness"
  • Billboard: "music which can't be classified"
  • CashBox: "one of the most unique musical entries in the past year"
  • Robert Christgau (B): "a clever pop-punk amalgam boasting two drummers, lots of chanting, and numerous B-movie hooks."

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #44
Peak on the Billboard Rock Album chart: #16
Peak on Cash Box album chart: #47
Peak on Rolling Stone album chart: #21

Tracks:  It's a strong album, but what was side one (tracks 1-6) is much better than side two. Favorites included Dog Eat Dog, Antmusic, the title track, and disco spoof Don't Be Square (Be There) which contains some of my favorite nonsensical lyrics. I usually skip the last three tracks, Jolly Roger, Making History, and The Human Beings.

The bonus tracks are unreleased demos.  Like most bonus tracks of this nature, they are interesting to listen to once but not more than that.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  As I wrote earlier, this music, reminds me of driving a crowded Markmobile to Brazos Mall in Lake Jackson on a sunny Saturday afternoon.  I also remember a couple of songs from this album (Killer In the Home and Dog Eat Dog) being included in a 1981 Epic Records sampler I owned on cassette entitled Exposed.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Antics in the Forbidden Zone (1990)
Friend Or Foe (1982)

1 comment:

  1. May 16, 1981 is the day Adam & his Ants came into my life; on a Saturday morning on American Bandstand. As was often my M.O. back then, I hopped on my 10 speed bike after the show and rode up to the Base Exchange (BX) and bought the album.

    We're in total agreement regarding Side One - one of best album sides ever in my book. The
    "Blackfoot/Pawnee/Cheyenne/Crow/Apache/Arapaho" line in "The Human Beings" was often chanted under my breath during PE when we ran laps. It also popped into my head as I sat through The Lone Ranger last week.

    The only Antmusic item I ever wanted but barely missed out on was the Remastered Box Set box or sleeve made to house the series of 2005 remasters - it came with three of his CBS solo albums and Redux, a bonus disc of rarities, with room for the earlier Ants discs. Found it online for $40 one time but by time I added it to my cart and went to check out, it was gone. Haven't seen it for less than $150 EMPTY since while the complete 7 disc set goes for almost $300. I've since acquired all the discs just wish I had the box.

    Ever hear the unreleased Persuasion album? I didn't know it exsted until I read this fascinating tome. Depending on how you feel about Prince's Black Album, you might dig Persuasion. It was to have come out before Wonderful.