|04-11-2013, 05:59 PM||#1 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
Ghost Mall Music
1999, on one of my epic cycling trips, I had this strange urge to return to a mall that I last visited around 1992 or so, but the feeling was very eerie, empty, and strange, but first let me set the scene about a place that's perfect with what I'm introducing to you. Many Malls are still open, of course, but there's that odd attraction to the Dead Mall, or sometimes called Ghost Mall.
This journal is focusing on the The 1980's US Pop scene where BIG ruled and the Malls served as the main place for the Mainstream to get it's music, only to fall harder in the next decade. Still, in a way, I had a feeling that the era would come to a close anyways even back then, although it would take several to finally arrive at that time when things were going to get shut. I was kind of a witness to these through running through the C/O bins.
Many, I'm sure including the US Music Industry, did not expect things to happen that way...always happens. When you take a look at it, the majors depended on these kinds of Mall based sales, when Music was a luxury that was a must own and there were those who were buyers for a lot of what they hyped when they were shoving anything interesting to the side. I would love to focus on these under-performing albums, kind of like digging up something that was found at an abandoned place and finding that it was worth the dig, even for just one song that fits.
Many of the songs and examples here are more from the fall of any Pop scene in 1979 to 1992, where in The US, MTV was big and the production was filled with colorful trends, big hair, and loud over-produced music and there was maybe a little room for some "Alternative Pop" hype that tried to make the business a lot less square than it actually was, and hypes fell by the dozens through the decade with a few having some quality among the crap, with many music fans sometimes going to the big music stores just to see what they can get in a bout of guilty pleasure after getting hit with that New Pop Bug that just would not go away. In The 80's, many Music Fans were looking through the bins for a long time, possibly scaring the clerks who were more comfortable with the impulse buyer, maybe finding that final album by a band one once liked for dirt cheap for that strange feeling that at least one "was there" although one knew that those records would usually not be as collectable as other "Last Rounds" from the 60's and Early 70's...by The Mid 90's, those who were still getting a guilty pleasure of going to what was a center to hang out and look around were searching for signs of life at most places although still getting a strange pleasure to see the Fall of an Empire, the place that one was called many names by the Mainstream in those ugly Neon and Acid Washed fashions that now possibly clutter up the Goodwill or found that strange creature that actually made the trip very interesting.
To take one back in time...
Strange thing was I already knew that Pop Carnivals would never be forever...already at 13 before the New Wave Hype took over for a while, and I would be attracted to these ends. Being hooked by Power Pop, I started to find a lot of that attraction by 1981 once I started to know what was going on. By the time of my Punk days, around Late '82-'83 in starts and stops, I was growing in my listening, but a lot of what I was interested in stayed with me. Who knew that many of these Consumer Amusement Parks would be left standing without anything inside but remnants of what was not picked up in the long run.
The Northtowne Mall in Toledo was one of the places that my parents too me and my sister to for those shopping days back in The Early 80's; Opening in 1980, it was Toledo's North End place to go to before Wal Mart and Target went in for the kill. It really had nothing too out there that stood out, but for the time being it did have some of the things that made the trips worthwhile including the Dollar Theater where me and my friends went to during the Mid 80's for some cool films to check out and most importantly the Camelot Music store where there was plenty of Bargain Bin albums to pick from (First seriously important purchase from that bin was Gary Numan's The Pleasure Principle!), and knowing that my music tastes were not the thing of the US Mainstream was going to make these look-throughs a major trip.
Oddly enough, even during it's early days, I developed an interest in the Music Business, buying an issue of Billboard at a B Dalton store in 1981 with the small amount of money my parents gave me with a full page as for Foreigner 4 on the back cover. Looking through the news and figures, I was strangely attracted to the Lower Half of any chart, let along the "Bubbling Under" section let along the Hits of the World section, always looking at the UK chart, of course. Time passed on, some visits to some trendy stores here and there dotting the path, and then it was time to move on by the Mid 80's, knowing that some (not all) of the stores refused to carry "That Punk Rock Music", even if it was sometimes that safe and fun music of bands like the Fleshtones (must have been the name, I guess), although of course I would visit the malls sometimes to get a Dollar Movie and look around to see where things were headed in Pop Culture (South, to Hell in a Hand Basket of course!).
The Mall would slowly close up shop by around 2001, like Water Torture. By my last visit, I decided to visit a Musicland and buy a couple of albums related to a scene that already was closing up shop, Britpop, one being a Cutout Cassette of The Charlatans, annoyingly aka in The US known as Charlatans UK and Rides' Tarantula. The only one in the store...maybe the only one within a long distance who bought the albums. It's now a Storage place with a couple of "Health Spas" at the West End of the building.
UPDATE: I just passed by the Mall the other day, and found some demolishing in the center of the building going on. The space that was a Montgomery Ward is still up with the "Health Spa" and some Vitamin shop. Oddly enough, that was the area where a Camelot Records was, where I think my last purchase was an Industrial Strength compilation.
So, come in, enjoy the trip through halls of names which moved, boarded up shops, iron gates, maybe a couple of "Anchor Stores" hanging around (Usually positioned at the ends of the building), crappy food courts, old "Mall Walkers" just getting in their exercise, families with nothing else to do when resting from useless Facebook posts, and cheesy music, some of it reflecting on a time long gone.
NOTE: Some posts might be about the odd surprise find from The 60's and 70's. Oddly enough, there would be some of that going on in the bins, too thanks to complete cleaning outs. I was a witness to some of those sightings as well, sometimes at a Rinks Bargain City just a slight way away from a mall.
Still for now, this needs a theme...one from Arcadia's SO RED THE ROSE in 1985 may fit the bill. The New Pop was long gone, and 3/5'ths of the biggest 80's Music band were finding it hard to promote their most ambitious work yet to a group of fans who just wanted the sure fire hits. This may not really have been a Cut Out item, but the final reception was very disappointing, and after a few weeks it just sat there, kind of like a dying mall with a lot of space but a couple of stores that have some business to keep it existing. Thankfully for the band, DuranLand had a successful re-model, but not many bands featured here survived the final count...er-I mean final round of Pop Business (I will try to stay away from Hair Metal as much as possible, but you know that the flying Aqua Net monster will catch me somehow!)
"Goodbye Is Forever" is a perfect title. While it may not be a perfect song, I just wanted to have something familiar, kind of like an open door that sets the scene which may lead to more interesting things - some great, some seriously crap beyond belief (or, if you hate The 80's, it will be a journey of crap that may hook you).
To close this post, here's a 'Tube of a look into one such Mall.
Last edited by Screen13; 04-13-2013 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Editing
|04-11-2013, 07:51 PM||#2 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
Ghost Mall Music
Just a quickie mention for the night (to cover up a re-post I made, just in case you seen it)
The mentions of Pete Wylie thanks to his Anti-Thatcher song brought back some memories of going through a 50 Cent Cassette bin, which brought up his Sinful album. Released in 1987, it remains one of my picks in a tasteful example of how Early 80's musicians competed with the 80's with it's slick production styles although sadly, despite the presence of UK hits like the title track, it hardly registered anywhere. It was released in the US by Virgin Records America to very little notice. While a Canadian pressing of his previous album Word to the Wise Guy (as The Mighty Wah!) made it to the better US stores, this was his first (and sadly only) album to gain a full on American release.
Thankfully, there was a store which had a copy of "Story of the Blues" to at least introduce me to his better music.
I think I bought the tape around 1992-3, and was a nice in-car listen for a while, featuring good hooks and production by Ian Ritchie (Roger Waters' Radio KAOS), Michael Frondelli, and Zeus B. Held (A lot of 80's Productions) along with Wylie himself. Josie Jones provides some good backup vocals. "Fourelevenfourtyfour" and "If I Love You" were also good picks for singles, and I remember "Shoulder to Shoulder" being an ear grabber.
It may not have been his strongest collection of songs, and I'm sure that those who were really into the Mighty Wah! were a little off put by his trying out a slicker sound, but at least it still had a lot of his characteristic sound among the Synth Blips that surround the ears.
Thankfully for the song itself, it enjoyed a brief resurgence in popularity in 1991 in a version with The Farm.
There are a lot of finds from that very same bin, ranging from a-ha to Underground Industrial, but that's also for later.
Last edited by Screen13; 04-11-2013 at 09:13 PM.
|04-12-2013, 05:17 AM||#3 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
Time for a system!
THE SCREEN 13 CUT-OUT RATING SYSTEM
After the usual name and date stuff...
C/O, C/O MEMORY, I'M SURE IT WAS C/O, ARCADIA FILE, CRAZY LOUIE'S HIT MAN WAREHOUSE ARCHIVE FIND? - C/O MEMORIES are the usual claims you read, although I will try to provide links to pages that mention it and then there will be (possibly correct) guesses that it went C/O highlighting albums that just just stopped somewhere in the 150's in the US. THE ARCADIA FILES is destined for those albums that fit the scene, but for some reason they never really went C/O but just lingered around in Music Limbo. But that will be pretty much a rare thing considering this journal and it's focus on the works that got the cut. LOUIE'S is a made up name for the type of business that tried to distribute and sell off a bunch of older records and possibly were the type of people like those in the infamous book Hit Men or Tommy James' classic book Me, The Mob, and the Music (Hey, Morris Levy sparked the whole world made famous by K-Tel), and they might have specialized in a different kind of "Bullet Hole" than the ones you see on some covers.
Actually, I read that CBS did not send much to the C/O, and my memories back that up. Still, I'm sure there were a few around.
GENRE: The "end of an era" it could represent. In almost chronological order...
The Last Days of Disco - Obvious, but hilarious all the same. (Recordings from 1979 will appear)
70's Idols in 80's Facelifts - All through the decade, there were a number of stars who were getting into the new realities. Again, a number of these albums sold, but still for some reason wound up in the Dollar Bin (over-production).
Ran Down the MOR - Those hyped singers that had their moment in the sun, but were shoved out of the picture by the next year.
Punked and Popped Out - Those from the Late 70's Power Pop and Punk worlds that were lucky to get a chance. (recordings from 1979 will appear)
Weak Waves, or Jokers for the Chess King - In a way, this would usually be the Attack of the Neon Kids. Dressed in loud clothes, with stupid hair styles that would get them laughed at a proper New Romantic club. They thought they were Bowie, but they were not even Sal Solo!
Their House is On Fire, and We Don't Care! - Or, those New Pop Performers who's final days in their pre-reunion line-ups ended around 1984-5, right around the time that Culture Club's Waking Up With the House on Fire let out a big stench. Hardly had a chance to compete with the Late 80's (Men Without Hats actually had a very short comeback, though, but their 1984 album is too bad to miss).
Mid 80's Mullet Rock/Viced Out - That strange era when the industry went for bands who were serious non-entities that just had what it too to get through the door, namely a video, MULLETS, leather jackets with stupid stuff all over them, guitars that seriously don't sound like guitars, and the cheesy 80's Synths that go straight to your brain (Note how I did not focus on the music). Not exactly Hair Metal, but sounds that would have fitted the Miami Vice TV show perfectly.
This is For Suckers! - Mid 80's Hair Metal bands, pre-Big Ballad Bands. Although a number of these albums sold OK, many of these bands suffered a bit once Twisted Sister's COME OUT TO PLAY failed to do anything in 1985, but I figured that a twist on their next album would play better. Usually, there would be mega guilty pleasures once you get past the hair.
Now Playing at the Dollar Theater! - A number of these appeared through the Late 80's on the assumed thought that if Pretty in Pink could spawn a hit soundtrack, then others could follow in it's place...er, no! Usually the films would wind up playing at the Dollar Theater after a lukewarm reception at the Showcase Cinemas for about a week or two.
Top Goons - Simply, Generic very Late 80's music that aimed for the "Danger Zone", but instead wound up in the Dollar bin.
Out-Dated Cheese or the EmpTV Playlist - New Pop-style bands who jumped on the bandwagon too late. I could call this the Rialto Syndrome, but I feel that only three of you may get the reference to the ill-fated band.
Big New Waves That Fell Hard - A common sight through 1987-88, although some examples were made even as far back as 1986. This is possibly going to be the strongest case.
Alternative Mega-Fail: By the The Mid 80's, a few Alternative bands who were not Pro in the New Wave Era (ie, those who were not part of the Music Industry Monster) and were a part of the early College Hype scene once they started to get their business happening tried, and usually failed with their Major Label or Faux-Major releases. This goes for a number of bands who changed their tune and lost their audience in one swoop (Hello Anything-era Damned! Yeah, you recovered, but I still remember...). Not to blame of REM (Who's early music I like a lot), but their success seriously made the industry think of this Alternative/College thing as something of a Career for a few years. Dose not have the star value of the Big Waves, but the quality (or lack of quality, actually) is about the same amount of pain as going to the bathroom after drinking a Orange Julius that was sold past the formula's expiration date.
U2 Can Be Bono (Not!): For U2 Clones, which were dime a dozen back then. They certainly did NOT find what they were looking for!
Bought Imported for $20, sold for $1 - Many US fans of the New Pop actually thought of getting a lot of albums from the Import Bin thinking that they were a part of some "Revolution" or another. Of course, a lot of them were pretty good, but there were a few that would have joined the ranks of the Ghost Mall Bands if they were released in The US, although these have the special "WTF was I drinking that made me bought THIS?!!!" flavor.
Of course, just like going to a mall to find a real deal there will be THE RARE GEM: Of course, there will be those cut-outs which don't deserve criticism, bought by those who knew that it was going to be raved about years down the line. Don't expect many of these to pop up here, but there will be some. These records will be highlighted (Get ready, Mink DeVille fans, this under-rated band will get some salutes for being themselves going against the grain with the US branch of Capitol). You know what these albums are: The ones every new music fan wishes they had the chance to get new. In The 70's, there were quite a few that fell by the side of the road and into the cut outs only to be rescued by some listener. In LA, Iggy and The Stooges' RAW POWER actually helped spark a scene after a few kids going through the cheap bins and wanting to know if the music was as lean as Iggy's body and as crazy as the font on the cover.
Then again...this is The 80's I'm talking about, and things like that hardly happened, but sometimes they did.
Then there are the GOOD FINDS that are still under some scrutiny, but will be recommended to those who are interested in the album.
OTHER RATING SYSTEMS:
Where's the cut?: Usually these cut-out blogs fail due to the fact that many people fail to mention that they got it as a c/o personally. I will say and detail these things to possibly the point of what store I got it at if it was back in the day. I will possibly clutter this blog with my ugly mug with said example.
Is It Worth It for casual listeners?: Usually it will be "No! Stick With the Hits!", but there will be a few that will be "You Might be Interested" or "For Those Who Want to Hear the Death of Pop Music, 80's Style".
More Late 80's and Early 1990's additions later on, although one is "Turned into a Pumpkin" which is dedicated to those Hair Bands who just plain dead crapped out a generic ballad hit and then went off into the trailer park club in Music Hell.
Last edited by Screen13; 04-14-2013 at 07:25 AM.
|04-12-2013, 11:53 PM||#4 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
MADNESS - MAD NOT MAD (1985)
...or how I knew that my High School Music Party was over.
C/O (Still own, Saw-Lower Right Hand Side)
Zarjazz, Sept. 1985
US Release, Geffen
Genre: Waves That Fell Hard
GOOD FIND with caution
To those interested: Stream first
Madness were among the very first bands I got into as the small town Music Geek, knowing that their brand of fun music and strong British hits were hardly going to cross over to the US. Hearing a lot of their songs on the Sunday Night Alternative Music blocks almost every Rock Station had before "Our House" gave them their Stateside 15 Minutes, there was a feeling of catching some of the best music of the era. Their first two albums were released in The US, although 7 and The Rise and Fall were not, and 1983's Madness was a US compilation that was a short catching up for those who were not lucky enough to have a store that carried imports nearby, even introducing my Ska loving friend to their music.
Of course, when the world of big production music that MTV championed dominated the playlists, the world of so-called "New Wave" music was going to take a tumble, and with Madness who had their own style, it was going to be a slow fall with a group of listeners who at least kept their name floating on in The US who knew that they deserved far better than the occasional airplay. Even an appearance on American Bandstand to promote the re-structured US version of Keep Moving (The one that had the classy 1983 UK singles that stood alone) with "The Sun and the Rain" could not really boost their profile in a country that pretty much shoved their music to the side.
I kind of felt what it was like to have been one of those massive fans of British Music in The States when everything was turning Day-Glo back in 1967, and I was owning Small Faces records when everyone else was owning Surrealistic Pillow (not to demean The Jefferson Airplane's fine 1967 release, just an example). Sadly, not even my Ska living friend was sold on the newer Madness, although we still have arguments over the wonderful Pop of The Beat's Special Beat Service as well - a fact that should have told me something for their next round and it's reception. Reading about the departure of Mike Barson in a US New Wave dominant magazine also made me worried as he was a main part of their sound.
Then as I was moving onto the UK weeklies, there was the mentions of their Zarjazz label, the interesting Starvation side project (one of the two Charity records from the era I can still state I like, the other being The Council Collective's "Soul Deep" for the striking miners in The UK), the Fink Brothers release, and then the rave review of Madness' "Yesterday's Men" that appealed to my eyes. Thankfully, a Canadian New Wave show featured Madness long after the fact when "Waiting for the Ghost Train" was released to announce their original pre-reunion end, introducing me to a couple of other songs that made me ease my worries a little although not firmly connecting with Sounds' 4 star review. I got the message, it was not going to be the same, and my friend did not like what he heard, something that hinted to me that this was not going to be even a small hit in The US after it's disappointing reception elsewhere despite some rave reviews.
It was not surprising that I would actually find the album in a cut out bin at Camelot Music in 1986 shortly after these events. I'm still proud that I was among the very few in my area (the Midwest, actually) who gave the album a fair hearing and caught onto all of the signs of trouble. Despite the fact that they still had a way with a tune, the music tried to fit in with the 80's Music, something that was a serious mismatch in spots, and the lyrics were all too obvious.
Starting off with "I'll Compete", you can tell the tension within the ranks as the Music business was growing into a very slick machine with MTV in The US already forcing things to go gonzo, but possibly knowing that after many years in the spotlight, it was going to be a tough ride.
From the witty moments like "Uncle Sam" to songs that tried to match a brooding feeling to their upbeat style like "Time", Mad Not Mad was clearly something that was not easy to hear, and it's title track State of the Mad Address said everything perfectly although it was not what many wanted to hear.Their version of Scritti Politti's "The Sweetest Girl" was not really having any fun at all despite the relaxing sound trying to put a smile on things while the closer, "Coldest Day" capped things perfectly leaving those still listening if we were going to ever hear them again. Of course we would with their Madstock return, although there was one UK-released attempt in 1987 at a slicker return with a few of it's members remaining that fell into the remainder bins as The Madness which fell on very few ears which also reminded us that if there was ever going to be a return, it would have to be Nutty and unique or nothing at all.
Madness at least had what it took to release a post-Imperial album that had some class and the timing to announce to those still in the Early 80's club that it was Closing Time. That I got it as a cut-out was the perfect hint to move on with this album as the ultimate reminder.
|04-17-2013, 05:35 PM||#5 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
The Firm - s/t (1985)
...or how partially successful albums still get "The Cut".
C/O MEMORY (Own, but not C/O. There is one saw/notch on the lower right hand corner on some copies)
Possible Reason: Over-manufacture of the vinyl - High expectations
Genre: 70's Stars in 80's Facelifts
To those interested: If you like well-produced 80's Rock with legendary musicians, with Jimmy Page offering some extra interest for his playing, then go for it, but beware of the dreaded "Lovin' Feeling" cover.
Others: Stream first. It's OK, but not either Page's or Rodgers' best, although the song that was based on a Zeppelin out-take "Swan Song", "Midnight Moonlight", is worth a listen and "Radioactive" is a good memory.
Instead: hear them live. These bands usually worked best that way.
"The Return of Jimmy Page and Paul Rodgers!" screams the hype and a decent first single in "Radioactive" was a good advertisement for The Firm's first album. The return of unsold copies after the listeners found out that it was only regular AOR with solos by Jimmy Page screams the facts. It's really not a bad album except for one horrendous cover, but then again it's also the example of how high expectations ruin anything especially when the Rock scene was changing and thinking loud and visual.
It's very hard to top a catalog of well-played FM rock standards from Led Zeppelin or Bad Company only to return with some programmable AOR you can drink your beer to no matter how well played it is even with Page's guitar styles reminding you that you are listening to The Firm. They looked ready for the cameras, but despite the pedigree, a lot of cards were stacked against them. It seems that at first, nobody payed attention to the danger signs while going for the Platinum and only getting Gold in The US and Canada.
As you can tell from the video, The Firm were a bunch of legendary musicians and Bad Company's vocalist trying to get a hold of some 80's fame in a time when the word "Reunion" or "Supergroup" was a big thing, especially since Asia proved a major success. There was the talent, but little of the spark, and Paul Rodgers' presence was clearly not on the level of Robert Plant (a born lead singer and showman), David Lee Roth, Bruce Dickinson, or the number of Hair Metal singers who played to the audience in a way that the MTV-aimed generation could get into. The fact that most of the songs were nothing really special, the epic final track "Midnight Moonlight" with trendy backing vocalists that showed that Zeppelin's style was best suited for Robert Plant's very emotive style and not Rogders' more down to earth singing that is fine for straight ahead Rock and Blues (although they made an attempt at that style with some success), and that they tried too hard to compete with the changing times while sounding uninspired and too self-conscious for most of the album were possibly parts of the problem.
A vanity label on Side Two was not helping matters at all, either.
Let's take a look at the others involved. Besides Jimmy and Paul, there's Chris Slade on the Drums from Manfred Mann's Earth Band (then later AC/DC and Damage Control) and Tony Franklin on Fretless Bass, a major trend in The 80's. Also within their ranks, there's the Horn Section of Steve Dawson (Trumpet), Paul Weimar, Willie Garnett, and Don Weller (Sax) on the opening track, "Closer", while the female backing vocals by Sam Brown, Helen Chappelle, and Joy Yates tried to get things in gear with the times, although obviously to beef up both the crap cover of "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling" and also in "Midnight Moonlight" where their presence was like a too-tight fit of new fashion in an aged body. The videos were also big productions as well.
To me, The Firm were a professional band and well-suited for US AOR Radio, but sadly that's all they turned out to be. Titles like "Money Can't Buy", "Make or Break", and "Someone to Love" seriously suggested that this was going to be a short lived career choice after all was said and done, and after Page's ambitious work with Led Zeppelin, the listeners possibly had a feeling that this would not be going on for too long after hearing the workman-like results. This wound up in the cut-outs in The States after a time of approaching Gold level, as the number of unsold returns must have been enough for the cut to be made.
It should have been something interesting, the type of cut-outs I like to write about, kind of like some of Page's soundtrack work (Parts of the Death Wish 2 Soundtrack >>>>> This album!), but this is like hearing a good Bar Band that still does not spark much interest.
Let's clear the disappointment...enjoy some good Instrumental Movie Music that shows more of Page's talents than The Firm ever did. I'm sure that this was also a C/O (#50 in the US BB Charts...good bet it was I'm sure). And I like some Early 80's Action films, too!
Here's the demo from the Zeppelin days of "Swan Song" just to fill in the interest.
Last edited by Screen13; 04-17-2013 at 10:25 PM.
|04-19-2013, 02:05 AM||#6 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: London, The Big Smoke
Have to say I've been reading this and this is a really creative journal that you're putting together here. I always knew that shopping malls were the centre of all American life and they are forever embedded in my mind as being so. I'll never forget the shopping mall in "Dawn of the Dead" either. I was surprised to read that they close down though, I thought they were built to last!
Didn't expect to see an entry by Madness, I would've thought them too British to make it in the US. Liked the entry on the Firm though, I would disagree about Paul Rodgers not being a major league frontman as I think his vocal chords to be amongst the best ever, or were you just talking about his actual physical presence on stage?
Pounding Decibels- A Hard and Heavy History
Last edited by Unknown Soldier; 04-19-2013 at 06:05 AM.
|04-19-2013, 05:23 AM||#7 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
Many thanks! It was a great time, and also an over-indulgent time. While there was a flood of great music being made, there was also a rise in over-hype thanks to MTV deciding to go big, resulting in a music industry that went a little too mad. Kind of like the rise of Mall Life in The US, actually, when you thought that the party was not going to end, but we all know how business goes when the spinning goes out of control. The eternal Fast Times at Ridgemont High was not to be...in fact, Dawn of the Dead was more of the final reality.
Now onto the reply...
On The Firm...
With Paul Rodgers, I was referring to the physical presence which was more down to earth in presence than the others. Back in the Mid-80's, it was getting to the point where singers were getting visually aware, knowing that their biggest audience in The States was watching MTV. Many of the more successful of the time, including David Lee Roth, Dee Snider, and so on were really playing to the audience, even those who were not as theatrical but still having some noticeable traits such as hitting the high notes and being over-emotive at times, especially with the Big Ballad (could you imagine Jimmy Page writing something like "I Wanna Know What Love Is"? Not really!). Today, I can see those who we can call classic rock fans far more appreciative of Rodgers delivering a good vocal - it was just being in that intense storm of Hair and High Voices of The 80's that drowned out his style. Yes, Rodgers can belt it out in a good way, but I'm talking about Drama-ridden "Trouble in the Bathroom" High Voices in an age of extreme.
I can say that at times Jimmy Page was trying to get things moving on stage (always did), but as it usually is with the younger viewers, the sights were on the singer more and more. The Firm were more 4 Minute song oriented keeping his flash under some time constraints, which is possibly the reason why they were best experienced live than on disc.
* - Sidenote time - OK, there may be some wondering about my thoughts on a more sedate guitarist who made it big in The 80's, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits. Let's just say that they had the luck to get an eye-catching video for "Money for Nothing", a song with Sting singing that iconic MTV phrase. They were already going OK, but not as mega as the Brothers in Arms era (Come to think about it...maybe they also had a couple of US C/O bin albums in between the debut and that mega-hit...).
As for the Madness article - I was a strong British Music listener in the Early 80's, always taking note of the bands that never really crossed over. Madness were one of my favorites, very much like all of the serious listeners of the new music in the US, and that album was something that only the really faithful got where I'm at, and it was released at the perfect time that the party was done - Dexy's Don't Stand Me Down, Icicle Works not getting their second album released in The States despite getting a Top 40 with their debut (I guess Arista/US were mainly focusing on Whitney Huston and other stars by that time - I think that their "Alternative" division was getting shorted out), a lot of the stars taming their sound for the Mid 80's and usually best known for soundtrack contributions, the Goth Scene starting to be more of a main concern with the more serious listeners (I was headed that way, too).
I'm convinced that those who were listening in The US got Mad Not Mad through the C/O in that "Oh! They had another album out!" kind of way, taking it home, and thinking if it was really going to go to splitsville - which it did for a while until the reunion of Madstock. It was the kind of disc that the few serious listeners of the New Pop in the US got, reflecting that in the height of it's popularity, it was obvious that very few were seriously into it in The States. Wake up time for me, just getting out of High School, but with some great sounds giving me the notice.
A lot of C/O albums from The 80's reflect ends of an era in my opinion. I am interested in them - pointing to a 13-year old me listening to The Monkees' Head soundtrack (yet another C/O of it's day) and finding myself intrigued by the "You know that this is the last time they will be this good, and they're letting it all pour out" feeling. Some of them, like The Firm's album, represents the other kind of "They're aiming for the big time, but something's missing" feeling that which also draws me in.
Connecting this to Mall Life - The 80's and Early 90's led many to believe the party was not going to end, but those who knew the nature of the beast already saw the cracks in the plan. My opinion that the Mall industry's fall in the Late 90's possibly led to the music industry's big downfall may have some truth to it, and you know that a few big stores with a few devoted customers in a time when MTV stopped playing a lot of music could not seriously meet up with the financial demands. The Mid 90's (The Ephedra Generation in my opinion...humm, now what was that about Zombies? "Spun" out people!) was also a time when they were trying to keep people interested with "Alternative" trends trying to keep the business afloat before finding out that a lot of people left and only focused on that they thought were the sure things by '97-98.
Last edited by Screen13; 04-19-2013 at 12:59 PM.
|05-29-2013, 05:03 PM||#8 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
TIMES SQUARE - THE ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK (1980)
...or, how it's interesting that one soundtrack captured a time and place more than the film itself.
Possible reasons: Over-Production, Short lived chart run, no break through the mainstream, under preforming film
Released: September, 1980
Genre: Now Playing at the Dollar Theater + Punked and Popped Out
Special Future Influence Award!
To The Cut Out Kids of the Early 80's with little to spend but lot to choose from back through the Early 80's, this seriously was an introduction to another world, beyond Christopher Cross and Dan Folgenberg (listeners, you had to be there to understand). Released on RSO as a New Wave answer to Saturday Night Fever, this instead quickly turned into one of those albums that was talked about in interest although some songs and it's connection to the infamous Red Cow more connected with Disco and Eric Clapton hushed a lot of mouths for a while. Clearly you did not want to admit that you own an album that has even one Bee Gee on it despite it having some classics by bands like the Ruts, The Cure, Talking Heads, The Ramones, Roxy Music, and more let alone a stunning original song written for the film by XTC.
Like the film, today, this has a following of it's own and seen as one of the Soundtracks that was hipper than the film with said song with a Bee Gee being that skip track...back then we either had to fast forward the cassette or get up and pick the needle up from the record or just bear it.
...but you won't get that irritant here, just the good stuff! I promise!
Thankfully, there's film clips! This is a great one featuring Talking Heads' "Life During Wartime".
Flawed but great, Times Square was one of the more interesting films of 1980 and the story surrounding it's production from Late 1979 to 1980 is a little more interesting than the film itself, one of the first to feature New Wave and Punk, with a story using the memoirs of a mentally disturbed woman on the streets. At one point in the production, this was led by Alan Moyle's Direction which started a career that led to more notable films like Pump Up the Volume but then Robert Stigwood got all in a "Fever" about it and decided to make room for more music. The reviews were mixed, the New Wave/Punk anti-authoritarian nature of it's leads was not a positive selling point for the theaters, and it wound up on TV very quick, but the soundtrack was mainly a different story.
The story is simple: two runaways from a mental institution - Nickey, a street kid and Pamela, a well to do who's father is an environmentalist wanting to clean up Times Square - decide to make an abandoned warehouse their home, cause major concern in the city to find them, and form a band, The Sleez Sisters (The misspelling is right here) to make some noise and to play for their favorite DJ (played here by Tim Curry) who is in the eyes of the well to do, causing some jealousy in Nickey although they stay together until the end when the by now famous Nickey jumps from the marquee of a Times Square theater and gets carried away by fans in a blanket. Robin Johnson is Nickey and Trini Alvarado is Pamela, and both seriously act very well and blend in with the surroundings of filth while hints at lesbianism between the two are all around, although the Director's vision had more of it that was cut out for commercial reasons.
While the decisions seriously bleed the film of it's potential, there still is quite a bit of grit and anger through the film, and most of the music in it is a good reflections of what was going on at the time. The soundtrack is possibly all that many people got of this film as it had a very quick run in the theaters, although many later caught it on Cable (As an R Rated film, it certainly would not play well on regular TV), but then again considering what happened, it was possibly for the better - clearly one of the original songs for the film, "Damn Dog" (Performed at a point in the film before The Sleeze Sisters are formed), is a cult favorite even winding up being covered by Manic Street Preachers. To be very fair, it connected with a lot of rebellious kids of the day, including me, and in retrospect, it is one of the better films featuring the legendary dangerous days of Times Square's 1980s and it's double soundtrack certainly had to have had influenced many who could not be there at that time with a strong mix of music with only a couple of weak tracks here and there.
ONTO THE ALBUM...SIDE ONE
Side One starts with the classic Suzi Quatro's Rock Hard, which also was on the album of the same name released at the same time (BB Chart #165 - just when the soundtrack was about to peak at #37). Sadly, this was a little too much for radio to take on, and of course it was the days that women who rocked seriously were not taken seriously by many (In fact, it took a long time for Joan Jett to get anywhere after the split up of The Runaways). Maybe it rocked a little too hard for the radio if you listen to the chant close enough at the end of the chorus as it sounds like someone in the band was saying something else...
Next, after a the Pretender's great "Talk of the Town", there's Roxy Music's "Same Old Scene" from Flesh and Blood, yet another C/O album and one that was starting to fall on the US charts and then Gary Numan's "Down in the Park". Numan would release Telekon around this time, and it would also turn into another US C/O find after it's quick rise and fall on the charts peaking at #64 stateside just when this soundtrack was climbing. You know things are going well, until...
Side One ends with the Skip Track - The duet between Marcy Levy and Robin Gibb that was released as the second single from the film, and the one to score on the charts at #50. To be fair, even this had some connection to the music news of Fall/Winter 1980 as Gibb Brother Andy was charting with a Greatest Hits and "Time Is Time" and that Bee Gee Barry was scoring big with Barbara Streisand on the Guilty album. The song stood out like a sore thumb in the context of the film, but it did reflect the lightweight music of the day although it was not the stuff you wanted to hear.
"Life During Wartime" by Talking Heads was already a classic, and there would be an album by this legendary band in a few weeks...although Remain in Light was a different kind of animal than Fear of Music but one that would seriously weave it's own influence. Next, Joe Jackson's "Pretty Boys" was right with his Beat Crazy period which saw the album go to #41 in The US around this time. Then XTC arrive with the great "Take This Town" which was a good way to introduce the listener to a band who would soon unleash their classic Black Sea which was Distributed in the US by RSO (!!!)
The Ramones' classic of classics "I Wanna Be Sedated" and the aforementioned "Damn Dog" wrap up the first disc in grand style.
Here's where things get a little up and down, but still good, although the well meaning Proto-Riot Girl "Your Daughter Is One", Pamela's message to her father, gets a little tiresome after hearing repeated swear slander words over and over. Yeah, we all know he used them to cut down the Times Square citizens and you're one of them, we get the point. Still, in the context of the film being played on the radio with the DJ potentially getting into trouble is quite amusing, throwing out any chance of major mainstream success that not even a Bee Gee can bring to the soundtrack.
Getting back to the great stuff, there's The Ruts' "Babylon's Burning", and after a pale version of "You Can't Hurry Love" by DL Byron, there's Lou Reed's "Walk On the Wild Side". Desmond Child, already a hit making songwriter, was still trying to get his project with Rouge off the ground, but The Night Was Not" was not going to do much. It has been mentioned that David Bowie was commissioned to have a song but was not allowed due to contractual reasons...never mind, Bowie would release the classic Scary Monsters around this time.
Although Reed was by then contracted to Arista, RCA, the label Bowie was still on by that time, unleashed a small collection that did not do justice, Rock and Roll Diary, which would slip into the Top 200 by the time the soundtrack was falling down.
Garland Jefferies, known in Europe but only having a small following in the States, sings "Innocent, Not Guilty"; The Cure's "Grinding Halt" is possibly the first many Americans heard them, although Three Imaginary Boys was an album that those clued in already had or had friends that owned it; The Patti Smith Group's "Pissing in the River" adds more NYC sounds to the mix; and, to wrap it up, David Johansen joins Johnson with "Flowers in the City" while a reprise of "Damn Dog" wraps it up.
Here's the finale, featuring more cool Times Square scenery.
As you can tell, this was one hell of an album despite some Stigwood interference. Sadly, during this time, RSO would have some troubles of it's own beyond trying to break this album into the mainstream including a controversial decision to drop the distribution of Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records (It would later sign to Capitol, but the thrill was gone by that time) and facing not many takers wanting their Rock and New Music, although XTC did well in The US with Black Sea. Then, there was the suit/counter suit between the Gibbs and Stigwood.
The LP would make some waves in The US, peaking in The BB at #37 before a sharp drop off. I guess a gritty tale of outsiders in NYC with a sharp soundtrack of some new music with an edge was not going to be the thing when The Empire Strikes Back and Xanadu were all the rage. Sadly, Johnson would not be a star, contracted to Stigwood and not receiving any more film offers after the boxoffice failure of this film, although she had the get go to find other work and at least a couple of other roles in B films from time to time. Thankfully, at least there's this film that shows her talents in full.
It's interesting how time re-evaluates a film - one day it's a crass exploitation and some time down the road it's something of a nostalgia. Recently, a lot of people have been wondering about the NYC of days past - the sleaze, the theaters on 42'nd street and surrounding areas that played an endless array of European Horror, Martial Arts (usually with Bruce Li or any other Bruce Lee Wanna-Be), Porn, XXX Porn, Roughie Porn, and the odd mainstream movie here and there in between places with live sex acts, the clubs, the beginning of Rap and Hip Hop culture, The Clash at Bonds, and the rest of it all. This soundtrack captured a lot of that energy and the time.
The 42'nd Street of Times Square is no longer, but thankfully most of the music is still an inspiration. The Cut Out Kids of the Early 80's knew already, and for some this was a gateway to more better music.
Here's the Manics in their first album glory covering "Damn Dog". Enjoy!
Here's the trailer, featuring "Down in the Park"
Last edited by Screen13; 05-29-2013 at 06:35 PM.
|06-09-2013, 10:44 AM||#9 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
COMSAT ANGELS - LAND
C. S. ANGELS - 7 DAY WEEKEND
Another case of a great band following the 80's road paved with Gold only to find out that it stopped suddenly and turned into a mud trail.
Year: 1983 and 1985
Genres: Big Waves That Fell Hard/Alternative Promotional Mega-Fail (Read on and see why)/Rejected by "The Machine"
Label: Jive (Parent Label: Zomba)/Arista
C/O for 7 Day Weekend on the top right hand side...possibly a Demo, but it had to have had wound up in those bins.
Just imagine you're a Alternative kid in 1983-5 in the US without any real information center to go by may it be in print (In The US, the UK weeklies were hard to find and more so the monthly and seasonal pubs), radio (Many of the New Wave stations were changing format by that time), nor fanbase (The New Wave kids of the day were already going College Rock or taming out to more mainstream fare and the Hardcore kids wanted nothing to do with music that was not fast). Knowing your stuff by being one of the few that actually bought the UK weeklies and catching the very few radio shows that hardly anyone else around you heard, with memories of songs from Sleep No More going though your brain at times, you pass by an album by "The C.S. Angels" knowing damn well they are The Comsat Angels, but a band forced to alter their name due to problems with the Communications Satellite Corporation. Understanding that, you notice that they moved to Jive Records, a label at the time not really known for their Alternative bands besides a Flock of Seagulls and better known later for a mountain of garbage of Boy and Girl Groups, and that they tried to sell the Angels through an album called Land back in 1983 that fitted nice with the New Wave sounds of the day even with a remake of their legendary "Independence Day", but still with the band looking a little stiff and uncomfortable with their new surroundings, with the fans already concerned with what was happening, with a production credit to Mike Howlett being a slight word of warning.
Do you "Run So Far Away" from the album, or do you have that curiosity to hear what the band in their new clothes sound like? It was not a bad fit, but you knew there were batter days before.
From Land, "Will You Stay Tonight", complete with Rockamerica typeset at the start, the source of a lot of rare 80's music videos (including one by the second chapter of Specimen!). It was a small College Radio hit in The US, and it's a nice tune, but also one that had others leaving them. You, however, were still standing by these sounds thinking that maybe at least this would have case of having a hit and getting more leeway with your own sounds...but it was not a hit, even with likable vocals by Stephen Fellows, and it only made the forces that be only cave in more.
In 1985, the "C.S. Angels" album 7 Day Weekend was released, and you take a look at the contents and even the message on the back (more on that later), and although the title is something to do with unemployment (a fact one hardly knows unless a major follower or reading a review way post-fact), many just possibly see it as a title that screams fun, in a way I'm sure Jive saw it (I can imagine the suits saying "GREAT title! Never mind the real meaning, it screams FUN!!! It will sell in The States!!!") - Hell, there were cheesy films called Weekend Pass that sold to the Drive Ins through the years, so why not sell something as a 7 Day Weekend, right (note sarcasm)? To continue the Stateside Sell, a film called Real Genius featured their sounds, choosing "I'm Falling", one of the singles from the album. Still, for some reason, you might have caught a video of that single on some low-rated Cable show that was still trying to fly the New Music flag high, maybe shown on a public access channel, and finding it very lacking with Synth flutes peppering it up almost like those annoying Outback Steakhouse commercials many years later...nice tune, but not like the classic days, and something you don't even show to the elitist Goth friend who will possibly make fun of you for owning anything with the Jive label on.
...Produced by James Mtume, as well...
Fans today side by the band thick and thin, and even serious listeners understandably try to see what was good about the infamous Jive era and their standing up with a brave face although knowing that things were not going as they should have. Sometimes the band re-heckled crude hecklers in concert (One that had a beard shouting "Sell outs" was spotted and called out...the Angels never had beards!), in interviews they admitted that it was better than being a struggling band trying to find work, and that I can say was at least something as even the liner notes on 7 Day reading "We started this group five and a half years ago mainly because we enjoy playing and making a noise, also as an alternative to being on the dole". Still, with an album like Sleep No More in a band's history, it's pretty tough to convince older fans that it was either this or The Dole, but some understood well enough.
Think about this, at least it was with some push from the label itself - Jive released FOUR singles from 7 Day Weekend, but all fading possibly into the remnant bins and remaining unsold at the College record store in the hipper ares of the US. The production featured some WTF decisions including one using James Mtume (On a Comsat Angels record?!!!) producing two, the other one being "Forever Young". The album's history was plagued with forced backing vocals "Courtesy of RCA Records" (Jive was part of RCA Music), possibly forced guest musicians not credited, many arguments in the recording studio, but at least a tour that showed they were at least mature about what was happening around them. Even with a front cover photo with a good amount of makeup used (that cropped off the thinning hairline of Bassist Kevin Bacon!), it went nowhere fast, with only "I'm Falling" scraping the UK chart below the 75. In the end of the decade, it was another example of where the New Pop went sour by the Mid 80's.
Still, at least there were two CS Angels Produced songs, with some help by Chris Tsangarides, one leading the album.
You could not blame The Comsat Angels for trying to go for the 80's Gold, just as I also say that for all of the other bands that went that way - some succeeded with some great music, others fell by the wayside with either notable failures or outright junk, although thankfully here is a case of the notable failure that had shades of their sound compromised by business decisions that were so ill fitting. After three classic albums with Polydor that only achieved cult fame but very little in the way of breaking through, they were faced with a decision to move on with their music in a very competitive time. Some avid fans are also not to blame to say that they should have went Indie by this time as the majors all know that there was a big sales force in The US called MTV that was the deciding factor in molding their musicians into camera-ready forces, but after reading interviews from that time, you could see their willingness to get into some kind of fame possibly after seeing many of the Indie based bands usually compared to their sound fall into areas that would be found at the better stocked stores buried in some hard to find section of the place and playing smaller clubs that had shows complete with the few and devoted but not in the numbers to continue the admittedly expensive direction in life.
Seriously, this should have been the first Mtume-produced single. No Synth Flutes, just a good solid 80's Pop. In sounding like a Johnny come way too late, THIS should have been the first of the four singles...instead of the last.
Damned if they did, damned if they did not, they decided to sign on the paper to Jive Records, then home to A Flock of Seagulls, who were fading fast. It's possible that Jive wanted another Flock, but what they got was something more special that was forced to compromise. This was one of many examples of The 80's where a great band decides to move into the big league only to find tough times and ill fitting images: Think of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry trying to fit with Beggars Banquet trying to sell it's bands in the US through it's deal with RCA for a comparison to this case. Still, after the clearing of the damage, there are at least a few good memories to remember this era by that may have not been classic Comsats, but at least decent enough Pop music that was better than the norm of the day, especially in an era where things were going into overproduction and over-hype.
Thankfully, a move to Island provided temp relief with the 1986 album Chasing Shadows before their 1990 album as Dream Command stopped a lot of progress to crawl out of the damage done with their two Jive albums. They soldiered on until 1995 with only Fellows and Bacon from the main line-up by 1993, and then reformed on occasion.
Yes, to those wanting to know about how great The Comsat Angels are, the first three albums are really the perfect place to go to. The 4'th and 5'th albums may not be as great )Out of the two, get Land first), they at least have some pleasing moments that were good examples of those 80's Pop fumbles due to the fact that they were a damn good band who knew a good tune when they heard it despite the Producer Sheen that was applied on.
Last edited by Screen13; 06-10-2013 at 01:35 PM.
|06-09-2013, 03:20 PM||#10 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jan 2010
THE ROMANTICS - NATIONAL BREAKOUT
Year: December, 1980
Genre: Popped Out
It may not have been a C/O bin find due to Columbia/CBS association, but it under performed in the style of many cut outs.
After mentioning what they liked about you and before they talked in their sleep, the Romantics had a troubled time, but not without some good music (before their lawsuit filled other troubled time in the Late 80's). This was the mark of the death of Power Pop in The US.
The event of the Second Album drop off was a serious one in the days of record buying in stores. Create a defining first hit, in this case "What I Like About You", and be a part of a fleeting Pop Moment, in this case Skinny Tie Power Pop, and you could just imagine the public moving on when your next voice was heard. In 1980, the image of Power Pop was certainly over and done with especially when The Knack's second album went only Gold with no major hits, so for many of these bands who were either part of the Skinny Tie Brigade or just lumped in as The Romantics were with their Detroit sounds, it was time to worry even if the sound was made of stronger stuff.
Those who supported the band even before singing the contract, knowing of their support from Bomp! Magazine early on, were possibly a little worried, and those who bought this knew that their style of music was falling out of favor in the business although not the listeners at it's best. The album's cover was also not as sharp - no iconic leather suits (In Heat's cover returned them quickly to the charts), looking like a bunch of guys on the street, trying to break out from that Skinny Tie Band image even if it was better than most - may have had some say "You don't want to sell records anymore, do you?" although the listener knew better. Damned if they did, damned if they did not again, it seems, and while the vinyl was alright, you can tell the slight state they were in by that time as they tried to live up to an iconic hit.
"A Night Like This", the epic fifth song on Side One, was the album's strongest point, although it was mainly in the markets where the band was already accepted including Detroit's land of AOR Rock stations that had some influence through that time. Sadly, it was not enough to get the album noticed beyond a devoted fan base.
Recorded in a major hurry, possibly for the Christmas market, the band featuring Wally Palmer (G/Vocals) and Jimmy Marinos (D/Vocals on some songs including "What I Like About You" almost as a tribute to the Dave Clark 5) with Producer Pete Solley whipped up an album in the Summer of 1980 in NYC with a bit of over-production and some very quick decisions to the album. Listened to without knowing, it's easy to overlook what was going on, with the chords chiming in strong. Still, when it's known that "Friday At the Hideout" was a cover of the Underdogs song that was a tribute to the Detroit Teen Club of The 60's and "I Can't Tell You Anything" was the B-Side to their first local single, they screamed of quick patches to meet the deadline, although the production was a little bit on the overdone side.
Sadly, the singles for the album sounded like attempts to get the listeners to view the Romantics in a different light. They were more than the band who crashed some sharp chords and went "HEY!", and they were, but with a tight schedule, it was obvious that these moves were more self conscious than natural. "Forever Yours" was a nice tune, but a little too light in my opinion while "21 and Over" sounded like it was written after hearing Madness' "One Step Beyond" as an attempt to try a Ska flavor in their music, although it was unleashed when the Two Tone craze was dying out.
Still, you can tell that the video to "Forever Yours" hinted at a better known video three years later on...
Thankfully, there were a couple of other highlights. The opener "Tomboy" sounded very rushed with clumsy lyrics, but did have some of the crashing chords that made their early sound attractive to Power Pop fans while "Take Me Out of the Rain" was a far better ballad than "Forever Yours" with a Folk Rock influence.
Sadly, with a lot of factors stopping the album's progress out of the gate, it remained a very low selling album, and the last with Guitarist Mike Skill for a while (Their third, Strictly Personal, was that troubled Skill-less album). As it was unleashed around the first week of December, 1980, its possible that the lack of first week Radio Support in a time when John Lennon's legacy and music was being remembered after being shot on Dec. 8 (a day that effected me a lot as a kid) halted a lot of early promotion, and while that's a business minded view, it is an example of how events can change things overnight from thinking that an album recorded in the Summer of that year would continue the success of the first album to a tragedy pausing a lot of what was going on that week in the music industry, especially after the death of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham adding on to a lot of the remembrance-minded programming of that time on US Radio as well as re-issues of albums by The Rolling Stones in the wake of Emotional Rescue and Elektra's release of The Doors' Greatest Hits. The Christmas season also meant big albums by the big stars accepted on Pop Radio who were not as much on Lennon, The Beatles, Stones, or Zeppelin, including the then-latest Rod Stewart album Foolish Behavior with "Passion" (Which, by the way wound up in the C/O bins in a couple of years! Over-printing was the game, following up on his mega hit Blondes Have More Fun), so that first week of December had a lot of things going on. In a way, the cover added on to things as well with no iconic image or even a sharp one.
And then in the next week came another mega-hit that announced a change in the new music...
In the week after National Breakout's debut on the Billboard chart, on it's way to a not so magical #176, and with The Police already making waves while giving the New Music a slight Reggae-influenced style, Blondie's genre-breaking and Pop Radio played Autoamerican signified that the New Music was trying to go somewhere else enough for it to go #1. In 1981, as The Romantics were trying out a slicker image, the industry was trying new sounds for the next decade with MTV (starting up in August) sparking a few things here and there while they were selling more of the usual, leaving a lot of Power Pop in the dust for a while although a couple of quality musicians went for it in the New Wave era although not to too much success as well. In a time when AOR radio was getting used to the changes in the sound, The Romantics finally found their sound for the '80's with "Talking In Your Sleep", but it was far removed from their early days with a sharp video, and then things went out of their favor by 1985 again by their next album with the ironically titled single "The Test of Time"...well, maybe Rhythm Romance did not, but some of their music overall did.
At their best, and when one does not think about things too much, The Romantics can provide some good Pop Rock fun, and this album at least showed that despite the troubles, they still had it in them to whip up a better than average collection of songs. Two major hits that are still remembered through their years together as well as a well-respected 2Ks album is a damn good average after all these years! Ironically, and all the more cool for it considering who went #1 through 80 and 81, Blondie's Clem Bruke was also a Romantic for a while.
Wally Palmer also was in an edition of Ringo Starr's All Starr Band as well!
I still wonder if "Tomboy" was the inspiration of a B-Film made a couple of years after...
Last edited by Screen13; 06-09-2013 at 06:33 PM.