This is one of four companion CDs to the 15 volume New Wave Hits of the '80s set released in the mid-'90s by Rhino Records. The usually reliable Allmusic somewhat misses the mark with this one. Their review states that this volume "features surprisingly few repeats from the other volumes." My count is 8 of 16 tracks are featured on other volumes in the series. So that's disappointing. Unfortunately, the reviewer gets it right when she writes that "the majority of the album's tracks are also somewhat predictable." So that's a little disappointing as well. Never fear, this is the only compilation I have that includes a track from Joan Armatrading and I had not even heard of The Pandoras until the purchase of this disc, so all is not lost. Plus, its a great compilation that's fun to listen to regardless of that other stuff. I'm a compulsive completist and music addict, so while the purchase of this CD wasn't necessary, it was absolutely necessary.
- How Much More - The Go-Go's: I've crushed on Belinda Carlisle for 30 years now. Plus those drums and harmony vocals. Love it. It immediately followed Our Lips Are Sealed on the album, didn't it? For some reason, it's currently making me copy the dance moves of Molly Ringwald in The Breakfast Club.
- Walk Like An Egyptian - Bangles: I've crushed on Susanna Hoffs for 30 years now, but after falling in love Hero Takes A Fall, I was disappointed with this follow-up. Judging by sales and chart success, I was in the minority.
- Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) - Eurythmics: Not my favorite Eurythmics tune, but I can't deny that I like it and it made me listen to the album over and over. These days, that bass line is heavily sampled, but to my 1983 ears, it was magnificently fresh.
- Brass In Pocket (I'm Special) - Pretenders: So good. Beautifully distinctive voice over a catchy guitar riff. Putting me in the mood for a Pretenders marathon this afternoon.
- Sex (I'm A...) - Berlin: My favorite Berlin song. I would listen to this song in private as a teenager in 1983 because my parents would have strongly disapproved of this wonderful nonsense. Plus the album title was Pleasure Victim and I couldn't have gotten away with having that in the house. I still find the atypical electronic drum part underneath those analog synth pads irresistible. I often state I'm not much of lyrics guy, but I'm hanging on every word coming out of Terri Nunn's mouth.
- I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow: previously heard on Volume 5 of this series. Here's what I wrote then: "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 Touch Myself - Divinyls: Not New Wave, not even '80s, and I could care less. This is a sexy song that fits right in on this disc. Growling, provocative vocals over solid guitar work. Fortunately, by the time this song was released, I was living on my own and could listen to it as often as I wanted without fear of disapproving looks from family members. And I did. Lyrically, this was a groundbreaking song and it was a brave move to write/perform/record/release it. Sadly, singer Chrissy Amphlett died earlier this year.
- Johnny, Are You Queer? - Josie Cotton: previously heard on Valley Girl: Music From The Soundtrack and Volume 6 of this series. Here's what I wrote then: "A fun song heard during the climatic prom scene in the movie. The lyrics were probably more controversial than they should have been because the joke is on the singer, not Johnny: typical teenager 'he's not interested in her that way, so clearly he must not like girls' kind of logic."
- Never Say Never - Romeo Void: previously heard on three other CDs in my collection including Volume 6 of this series. Here's what I wrote then: "Contains the classic lyric 'I might like you better if we slept together.' It also contains some horrid saxophone playing. Still, this is a catchy little number. I liked it back in '82 and I still like it 30 years later."
- Obsession - Animotion: previously heard on Here and Now: The Very Best of the 80s and Volume 15 of this series. 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."
- I Could Be Happy - Altered Images: previously heard on Volume 4 of this series. Here's what I wrote then: "I've always liked the songs I've heard from this band. This is certainly an upbeat, happy song. I would imagine it was the singer's voice that kept this band from being popular in the US."
- New Toy - Lene Lovich: previously heard on Volume 3 of this series. Here's what I wrote then: "a great song written by Thomas Dolby. The only problem I have with this song is the fact that I didn't hear it until the '90s."
- (I Love It When You) Call Me Names - Joan Armatrading: I bet I haven't heard this song since my buddy Jim played The Key album for me in 1983. I didn't pick up on the S&M vibe back then, for sure. This song rocks harder than I remember and now I'm wondering why I didn't listen to it more back then. Typical guitar solo by Adrian Belew: I have no idea what he's playing and it sounds great.
- Sign Of The Times - The Belle Stars: previously heard on Volume 9 of this series. Here's what I wrote then: "good, but not great. Sounds like Bananarama (you have to decide for yourself if that's a compliment or an insult)."
- In And Out Of My Life (In A Day) - The Pandoras: I'm unfamiliar with this one. Sort of a cross between The Kinks and The Cars. Sort of repetitive, but lots of energy. I like it.
- O Superman (For Massenet) - Laurie Anderson: previously heard on Volume 7 of this series. Here's what I wrote then: "ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah.... Now heavily sampled, you will either love this piece or hate it. This minimalist performance is hard to explain so just watch the video. I recently heard this piece used in a HTC smartphone commercial and it didn't seem out of place at all. Was this piece just 30 years ahead of its time?? In the early '80s, I heard Laurie Anderson's Big Science LP and, for a few days, considered moving to NYC and becoming a performance artist. In my mind, I could totally do that. Fortunately, a calmer head eventually prevailed. Ah, the naïveté of youth."
Previously revisited for the blog:
|Volume 1||Volume 2||Volume 3|
|Volume 4||Volume 5||Volume 6|
|Volume 7||Volume 8||Volume 9|
|Volume 10||Volume 11||Volume 12|
|Volume 13||Volume 14||Volume 15|
|New Wave Xmas||New Wave Dance Hits||New Wave Halloween|