Saturday, September 6, 2014

(It's Not Nostalgia) It's the 80s Express--Pt. 13

52.  "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"--Dead or Alive

Released 1984
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  11

Buffalo Bill Sexy Pose Hour!  Abandon all senses, ye who listen here.  I can die happy never hearing this again.  Good song, don't misunderstand, but once Adam Sandler worked his throat around it, finito.

Keep It?  NO

"The Safety Dance"--Men Without Hats

Released 1983
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  3

I swore these Canadians were Russians.  Just so broad-shouldered.  In retrospect, who but our hockey-loving buddies would create such a communal joyfest about the right to pogo at concerts?  Party till you throw up on your pants, eh?

Seriously, that was a concern in those days?  What kinda jerkass security guards get all bent out of shape over motherfuckers in a crowd jumping?  Oh no, it's a gateway dance!  Suppress that shit!

51.  "Round and Round"--Ratt

Released 1984
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  12

Alpha males in mascara have all the bottle-smashing, fabric-ripping, table-testing fun in the second-greatest pop-metal song ever.

Predator and prey walk the night, side by side, each thinking they're the other.  Ah, sleazeballs converging under cover of darkness to engage in nastiness.

Ratt never wrote another song that came within 200 feet of "Round and Round" in terms of either commercial or artistic success.  Which only adds to the legend that at least two band members sold their soul to the Devil.  Or a crack dealer outside the Whiskey.

It's a cold world out there.  And it just won't stop spinning.

Keep It?  YES

50.  "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)"--The Eurythmics

Released 1983
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  1

Is it reasonable to name Annie Lennox as one of the greatest living singers of popular music?  Would a cow kill you and everyone you care about if given the chance?

Another example of androgyny freaking out the squares.  What's this on my television?  This doesn't look normal!  But what is a normal person, anyway?  A miserable pile of secrets!  Stop drop and roll the hell on outta here, and let the rest of us enjoy the music.

Keep It?  NO

"Lunatic Fringe"--Red Rider

Released 1981
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  Did not chart

"Lunatic Fringe" reeks of late July winds suffused with all the weed I'll never smoke but my friends do, so I always end up with a contact like 3-2-1.  The obnoxious rev's polluting the streets can easily be muffled by the cocksure sound I let swim around in my head till I decide to let that drown.

Written and sung by the same man who foisted "Life Is a Highway" upon the universe.  Gob.  Fucking.  Smacked.  Should be his, though, for how does one go from this to that?

49.  "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)"--Beastie Boys

Released 1986
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  7

Nope, Lionel Richie still "wins."

White rappers were still a novelty when the Beasties dumped their instruments.  White boys rapping over hard rock guitars?  Fresh and fun once upon a time, but here in the 21st century, it sounds every bit as pedestrian and puerile as Limp Bizkit's output.  Of course, the Boys proved to be far more sensitive and thoughtful than Freddy D. the Ball Cap Man, to say nothing of the talent gap, but with songs like this one and "Girls," who in 1986 would have suspected that underneath all the crotch-grabbing and beer-swilling were three innovators?

"Fight For Your Right" was apparently intended as a parody of the frat-boy mentality, but it's easy to forgive millions of listeners for letting that whoosh on by, given that the song is a pretty witless swipe.  School sucks!  Sex rocks!  Let's smoke!  Irony, bitch!  

I still dig that obnoxious intro chord.  The hot potato to close out the last verse is nice, too.  The rest gets the gas face.

Keep It?  NO

"On the Loose"--Saga

Released 1981
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  26

One of those 80s rock flares in the night.  From their first frisky seconds, those are the tracks that make me feel free in a way that nothing else replicates.  No matter the color of the sky, I can head out into the world, shoulders squared, head up high, all five senses creating tingles up and down my body.  Out and about.  Nameless and weightless.  Stay alert, and come out victorious on all close calls.  Learn a little something.   About cars, about love.  About the European flair for making humdrum actions into exceptional reactions. 

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