26 June 2008

3 x 13 Albums (Part 2, 1982)

Part two of these, this covers my 13th year. It has been said that the music of your teen years is the music that sticks to you the rest of your life. Good thing I wasn't born a little later and was totally into Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and New Kids on the Block.

1982 (in no order, availability on ZunePass or for download off of Zune.net, noted)

(1)1999 - Prince
Ah, Prince, near his peak. It's not even in his personal top five, but it's still a great album. 1999, Little Red Corvette, DMSR, and Delirious are great tracks. The rest of the double album isn't as essential, but still a fantastic album. (available on ZunePass)

(2)Avalon - Roxy Music
Greatest. Make. Out. Album. Evah! (a shame I was way too young to have anyone to make out with at the time, let's just say I came to appreciate this album more and more as I matured). (available on ZunePass)

(3)Beat - King Crimson
This band just misses making the list all three times. Not because they weren't still making great music in 1995, but because their fantastic THRAK album came out a year earlier, though I'm pretty sure I saw them at the Greek Theatre in 95, so maybe I should fudge that list a little so as to include them in all three lists. As far as this album goes, it's a good one. Especially the songs Heartbeat, and Neurotica. (unavailable on ZunePass or Zune.net)

(4)Zapp II - Zapp
Not their best album (Zapp, wass, errr I mean was), but still a great FUNK album. Dance Floor, and Doo Wa Ditty are classics, the rest is filler, but two funk classics are enough to make this a fun album to listen to. It was downhill for this band from here, don't bother with the other roman numeralled albums (available (along with the better Zapp) on ZunePass)

(5)The Golden Age of Wireless - Thomas Dolby
When my mind wanders back to this time period, it's stuff like this that most evokes that era. Very much of its time, to most folks who didn't discover this as a early teen kid, probably sounds very dated, but to me this just sounds like rock and roll. Flat Earth released a few years later was better, but this is still an excellent album, even if you weren't a teenager back then. Synthpop is an acquired taste, but it's one worth acquiring. (available on ZunePass)

(6)Friend or Foe - Adam Ant
I admit to being inordinately fond of this album back then, and remain inordinately fond of this album 26 years later. A few years after this came out, Adam Ant was the first 'real' concert I attended without any parents around. That was a fun night, and if I had a 15 year old son or daughter, there's no way in hell they'd be repeating the adventure I had back then. (available on ZunePass)

(7)Midnight Love - Marvin Gaye
His last studio album, and one of his best albums in his long, glorious, career. Sexual Healing remains one of his best songs, and the other tracks on this album are also strong. Still seems like some kind of sick joke, him getting shot by his father on April Fool's Day a few years later. (available on ZunePass)

(8)What Time is It? - The Time
I have to admit, I like this little album better by Prince's funkier protege's than Prince's own album of the same year. This ain't nothin' but a party, but what a great party it is. Prince wrote and produced all but one song, and performed all instruments on this album, so really this is just a funkier, more fun side of Prince, Prince album, but with Morris Day taking the lead. Works great, though. (available on Zune Pass)

(9)Under the Big Black Sun - X
This is onf of their best albums, it rocks and rolls from start to finish. One of the all time great bands to form in Los Angeles, this album was produced by some fella named Ray Manzarek. (unavailable through Zune, but buy the CD, you won't be disappointed)

(10) Upstairs at Eric's - Yazoo
Another synthpop album for this list. It's elevated by Alison Moyet's remarkable voice, and Vince Clarke's brilliant arrangements. Don't Go, Situation, and Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I) are three of the best dancepop songs that the 80s produced, and they're all on one album. (available on ZunePass)

(11)Rio - Duran Duran
I've gone on and on and on some more about my appreciation of this fine album. Read that, then come back over here. (available on ZunePass)

(12)Combat Rock - The Clash
I really wasn't 'in' to The Clash in '82. I had friends he were fanatical about them, but I wasn't really liking them. But by the 90s I'd picked up The Story of the Clash, and have been listening to that over and over ever since. A lot of strong tracks here, especially the singles. They were a pretty great band, and this is a pretty great album, even if I didn't recognize it back then. (available on ZunePass)

(13)Night and Day - Joe Jackson
Shimmery, I think that best describes this album. Another album that I liked then, but got better and better as I got older. (unavailable on Zune, but the better tracks are on this compilation which is available)

The early 80s were a strange time musically, you had outfits like Roxy Music and Joe Jackson putting out really sophisticated and lush sounding pop. You had the likes of Devo, B-52s, Yazoo, and Thomas Dolby putting out very 'new wave' type sounds. You had Madness and the Specials leading a Ska revival in Britain, and you had the last days of the first wave of Punk with The Clash, and X. You even had some really good funk and Prince at his most prolific producing and playing on albums by half a dozen proteges. Good times, good times. You may have noticed that a certain best selling of all time album released that year didn't make this list. Simply put, I never really like that album much, back then, and especially not now (but Dangerous and BAD weren't half bad).


Pastor_Jeff said...

Ha. Adam Ant was my first concert experience, too. I saw him after the release of "Friend or Foe" and then again after "Strip." I was in deep. I had "Kings of the Wild Frontier" and "Prince Charming." I bought "Vive Le Rock." I still have "Dirk Wears White Sox."

"Rio" was (and is) a great album. Ditto for "1999."

I liked 1983's "More Fun In The New World," though.

bill said...

Considering previous Annabella comments I was surprised you didn't include Bow Wow Wow. But 1982's I Want Candy isn't nearly as good as 1981's See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang, Yeah. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy.

I'm pretty sure I have at least one other album not listed at the wiki page. I'll double-check this when I get home.

XWL said...

Truth be told, I forgot about the Bow Wow Wow album, as the wiki list failed to include it.

Should have double checked against the albums by year in my Zune software, but didn't think of it while writing the post (plus the year on the metadata tends to be all over the place, often they list the year of the CD issuing, rather than the original date of the recording).

And Pastor Jeff, there's no shame in liking Adam Ant, even if the critics excoriated him back then. I remember Robert Hilburn of the LAT putting Prince Charming on his worst albums of the year list in 1981, and thinking, 'dude is too old to be a rock critic, he's too busy slobbering over washed up acts like Bruce Springsteen to pay attention to the good stuff bubbling up'.

Who knew that he'd remain their lead music critic through to the mid 2000s (and still slobbering all over Bruce Springsteen . . .)

Term limits should be imposed on pop culture critics, whether for music, tv, or films, 12-15 years tops for anybody at any paper is more than enough.