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.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Various Artists - Just Can't Get Enough: New Wave Hits of the '80s, Vol. 15 (1995)


This is the final volume of a fantastic 15 volume set released in the mid-'90s by the always wonderful Rhino Records. This is also the final volume of the set to be covered on this blog.  Songs on this compilation are from the years 1983-1985.  This edition may contain some of the worse band names from that time (and that's really saying something).  Why did New Wave music seemingly end in 1985?  That topic is beyond the scope of this blog, but I recommend finding the answers by reading the excellent books I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution by Craig Marks & Rob Tannenbaum and Are We Not New Wave?: Modern Pop at the Turn of the 1980s by Theodore Cateforis.

Tracks:
  • Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves:  Sometimes the simple way is the best.  This elementary I-IV-V-IV-I chord progression proved to be a feel-good money maker for this band.  Even when it was popular, I could take it or leave it.  These days, the song reminds me of various anti-depressant television ads and this scene from the movie High Fidelity.
  • Head Over Heels - Tears For Fears: I was always a big fan of this group's Songs From The Big Chair album.  I had it on cassette but instead of later buying the CD, I replaced it with a greatest hits package.  If I'm in the right mood, I might consider this to be the best song on the 1985 album. 
  • It's A Mistake - Men At Work: a fantastic song from another album (Cargo) I should have bought on CD but bought a greatest hits compilation instead.  Most New Wave music had a nervous quality, but this song took it up a notch with Cold War lyrics concerning the threat of a nuclear holocaust.  Great guitar solo - I love the way it builds.
  • Life In A Northern Town - The Dream Academy: A remix was previously heard on 80's/12" the extended collection . Here's what I wrote then: "This one of the better songs from winter '85-'86. A better remix is actually Dario G's Sunchyme from 1997."  I'm told this band has Pink Floyd connection via David Gilmour, but I can't hear any influence on this track.
  • Beat's So Lonely - Charlie Sexton: considering I'm from Texas, I should be more familiar with this song from a Texas native.  I don't recall hearing it before buying this CD, which is strange considering it reached #17 on the pop singles chart.  It's hardly what I would consider New Wave, but it's a great rock tune.
  • Guitar, Talk, Love & Drums - Gary Myrick: I've heard Myrick before with his backing band The Figures on the Valley Girl soundtrack and its sequel and have been unimpressed.  This song is better than the other two I've heard, but still not something that would send me scrambling to find a full album.
  • Since Yesterday - Strawberry Switchblade: not only is this group a one-hit wonder, the one hit didn't even chart in the US, so they wouldn't even achieve one hit wonder status here is The States.  This song is forgettable peppy synthpop, but it doesn't make want to push the skip button.
  • Obsession - Animotion: previously heard on Here and Now: The Very Best of the 80s.  Here's what I wrote then: "Even with lots of synths and a strong dance beat, I've always been indifferent to this song. I'd dance to it in a club, but would change the radio station if it came on."
  • Endicott - Kid Creole & The Coconuts: I can't explain it, but damn if it's not catchy.
  • Perfect Way - Scritti Politti:  I like this song so much that I bought Cupid & Psyche 85 on cassette in 1985 and later replaced that tape with a CD. This group (really just singer/songwriter Green Gartside) should have received more recognition.  Maybe the ill-advised group name hurt marketing efforts?
  • So In Love - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark:  I preferred OMD's moodier stuff from earlier in the decade.  I was unfamiliar with this single, but it is an obvious predecessor to the group's 1986 hit, If You Leave.  This isn't a track I'll rip to iTunes.
  • Election Day - Arcadia: I never gave Arcadia a chance because I was upset that Duran Duran wasn't recording together anymore (I needn't have worried).  This songs sounds just like any other average DD single - I don't know what I was thinking.  Maybe I just liked the other DD splinter group, Power Station, better.  Still do.
  • 19 - Paul Hardcastle:  Man, I loved this song back in '85, probably because of the novelty of sampling and processed speech.  A protest song, I guess, protesting a war that ended 10 years earlier?  In any case, it has a nice dance beat if that means anything to ya.  Hardcastle has gone on to make some good smooth jazz albums, solo and with Jazzmasters.
  • Why? - Bronski Beat: I prefer this synthpop song to the group's other politically charged single, Smalltown Boy from Volume 14 of this series.  This still gets a lot of gay dance club play.
  • Some People - Belouis Some: I've heard other songs from Belouis Some on Volume 14 of this series and on the Pretty In Pink soundtrack.  All three songs are just ok. 
  • Like A Virgin - The Lords Of The New Church: At first listen, this cover sounds like a bad idea, but then you realize (around the time of the first belch) that the band is intentionally trying to make this sound like drunken karaoke.  I remember listening to the band's self-titled debut album over at Jim's house back in 1982. That post-punk music is preferable to this Madonna tribute.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: most of the songs remind me of my freshman year in college.  I didn't have a great time in college, but I met my wife that freshman year and that's been the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Volume 1Volume 2
Volume 3Volume 4
Volume 5Volume 6
Volume 7Volume 8
Volume 9Volume 10
Volume 11Volume 12
Volume 13Volume 14
New Wave XmasNew Wave Dance Hits

1 comment:

  1. Stumbled upon your site while researching the Just Can't Get Enough series for a post I was writing.

    While I haven't read EVERY post of yours yet, I've read most of them (I cheated and searched for my favorite artists and albums) and aside from your vastly superior jazz collection and obivous higher education, we seem to have very similar tastes in music.

    Adding you to my blogroll.

    I thought about doing a similar project - listening to and reviewing one album a day - but it is just too daunting. Counting the three dozen discs I just cataloged today (yeah, I'm that guy) it would take me several decades to make it through my library of CDs. Vinyl would add another decade. So I have relegated myself to do these little runs of 4 weeks each of an Album A Day. Next run is coming soon.

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