Berlin: Pleasure Victim
Before they Took Your Breath Away in Top Gun, Berlin put out one of the best synth albums of the 1980’s. The big hit was ‘Sex…I’m A…” but the other songs are even better. ‘The Metro’ and ‘Masquerade’ are my favs.
I remember exactly where I was when I heard of Blue Nile, at a bar in downtown Charleston, in the quiet area where they showed music videos [what was it called back then, The Arcade maybe, changed names so many times, before I DJ’ed there…anyway]. The song ‘Stay’ came on and I was entranced by the sound. Found the LP the next day. Paul Buchanan has one of those rough yet great voices, in line with Mark Hollis from Talk Talk. The album was recorded by Linn Electronics of drum machine fame to showcase some of their new recording equipment. Even on vinyl, the sparse yet full arrangements came through crystal clear. On CD it is amazing.
The video was ok, very 80’s, remember diving into a pool, but that was all. Never have seen it again until now. Gotta love YouTube [at bottom of post].
The tracks run from songs to sound landscapes, with interesting audio effects and engineering. Not anything you will really hear anywhere else. I do hear some Pink Floyd influences in a way, and maybe Brian Eno too. Either way, an original album.
Paul and co managed to release a new album every 6 years or so, only 4 total, and all are great. ‘Walk’ is my favorite, but their second release ‘Hats’ has their best song ever, but more on that some other time [fyi Headlights on the Parade]…. They have since split up, and Paul’s new LP is an exercise in creative listening, just him and a piano. Some great stuff there too, but a bit too much for some to handle I am sure. Regardless, ‘A Walk Across The Rooftops’ is a sure winner, and gets better with each listen.
Listen on Spotify: https://play.spotify.com/album/2UrSPDjccATKgu4CIxu8IV
Spandau Ballet: True
Of course the title track has been a staple at about every wedding for the past 3 decades, but that does not diminish this EuroPop meets Calypso music LP. The old Chrysalis cassette I had never did the album justice, the CD really did show what a great sounding collection of songs this is…..yeah, some of the songs are a bit dated, but still fun, and admit it, you know all the words to ‘True’.
I have been slowly going thru the LiveAid DVD I got a few years ago, and their performance of ‘True’ is over at youtube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a92WWnehXes
Remember buying this album [or was it cassette, both are long gone, replaced by CD] at Wal-Mart of all places in early 1983. Never heard of them, but liked the name and the cover. “Seconds’ and ‘New Years Day’ got me hooked, and by the time that ‘Live At Red Rocks’ came out, I was a fan. They held me until ‘Joshua Tree’ but after that I kinda lost interest. Strange how you remember things, I also bought a copy of Alan Parsons ‘Tales of Mystery and Imagination’, the Edgar Alan Poe album at the same time.
Worked the concession area at the U2 concert in Denver in 1992, selling t-shirts, etc, [hi Tina] I think it was the ‘Pop’ tour. Got to see some of the band live here and there, a fantastic show.
Abba: The Singles: The First 10 Years
It would become their last 10 years, only releasing a few items after this compilation. I never had any Abba LPs, just a lot of 45’s, so this double LP was quite the experience. Mainly to get better pressings of those worn out singles, this album showed me just how many great songs they had, and I do mean a LOT. 23 tracks and not one bad one in the mix. Yeah, some of them are a bit silly now, but that is part of the fun. Later it morphed into the Abba Gold CD that sold about a billion copies a decade later. Wonderful photos on the album sleeve, not sure if I still have it around……
Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams
Another record I had to hunt down before it went global. ‘Jennifer’, ‘This City Never Sleeps’, ‘I Could Give You A Mirror’, and more. Just one of those albums I could listen to every week or two and still never tire listening to it. This was one [if not the first] CD I ever purchased, but of course still have the vinyl. Also, there was a Video Album released on VHS, with claymation Annie and Dave interspersed with concert footage and music videos. Surprisingly, this was re-released on DVD, will have to get that since my VHS is showing its age 🙂
A five-track EP from late 1982, but every song is a winner. Even though ‘The Warrior’ is their biggest hit, these are about the best pop-rock songs around. All 5 tracks finally released on CD as part of a Playlist compilation. And that cover just screams 1983!