Monday, September 8, 2014

(It's Not Nostalgia) It's the 80s Express--Pt. 15

44.  "Cruel Summer"--Bananarama

Released 1984
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position: 9

Summer should be the season for revitalization, regeneration and the realization that life not only can be wonderful, it frequently is wonderful.  The air is sticky, no one is lonely, and the calendar is always showing 1984 in our hearts.

Summer should not be the season for regret, recrimination or the realization that life not only can be heartbreaking, it frequently is heartbreaking.  The air is dry, no one is happy, and the calender is always showing 1999 in our hearts.

Keep It?  YES

43.  "The Look of Love"--ABC

Released 1981
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  18

What compromising photos does "The Look of Love" have in its possession, anyway?  Not only did it make this list, it also made the Village Voice's Top 100 Singles of the 1980s and appears in 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die.  Check this out, once you've been ogled by a weaselly-faced guy wearing a panama with several colorful feathers inserted behind the puggaree as you're both waiting in line at Starbucks, songs like this one don't mean much anymore.

Keep It?  NO

"Poison Arrow"--ABC

Released 1982
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  25

Is it that "book by the cover/look by the lover" couplet that won "The Look of Love" all those hosannas?  'Cause honestly, this song about an obliquitous Cupid has much choicer rhymes and U-turns of phrase:  "The sweetest melody/Is an unheard refrain/So lower your sights/Yeah but raise your aim/Raise your aim!"

Really now.

Martin Fry spent a decent amount of time trying to fill the clotheshorse shoes of Bryan Ferry, and here he achieved the snuggest fit:  woeful and soulful.  Imagine Mr. Peanut bemoaning the Utz girl's treacherous ways, and you're close.

42.  "London Calling"--The Clash

Released 1979
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  Did not chart

"The Only Band That Matters" is one of the worst so-called honors that could be bestowed upon a racket-gang, more for the fans than band.  By saying a group is the only one that actually means something--instead of being the one that matters most--someone is basically implying that they have shit musical taste.

Such is why it's best not to judge a band by their fans.

"London Calling" has a killer bass line and a litany of lamentations, some now dated but most still relevant.  You can tell a song is great when thirty years on it's still getting misappropriated like a motherfucker.  Also I can get more than a hint at a tune's high quality when it wastes no time in leaping upon my back and biting down upon the scruff of my neck.

Keep It?  YES

41.  "Dr. Feelgood"--Mötley Crüe

Released 1989
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  6

Wow, the Mötley Crüe online promotional team sure got the word out.  How else to account for the presence of one of the worst offerings from the all-time standard bearers of mediocre metal music?

Here we have a sonic travesty--that Led Zep jerk-off drumbeat, a guitar riff dumb as throwing whiskey on a fire, and that nine-Camaro pileup of a chorus.  So of course, "Dr. Feelgood" is their most successful single.

My first exposure to the Crüe came courtesy of local rock station WQCM, either late '81 or early '82, when Too Fast For Love was out and "Piece of Your Action" exploded from the speakers of my brother's boombox like a trashier Van Halen (just replace David Lee Roth with a pimp who couldn't sing).  Man, a good-ass riff goes a long-ass way.  So do booze and 'ludes.  But then coke and heroin enter the picture and sell the frame.

Worst song on the original list.  Stink.  Stank.  Stunk.

Keep It?  NO

"Too Young To Fall In Love"--Mötley Crüe

Released 1984
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Peak Position:  90

Heady steady glam rock...just so we get the point.

As with the other, very few, tolerable songs the band has recorded in their thirty-year history, "Too Young" is a success despite the efforts of Vince Neil, whose vocals manage to be both high-pitched and nose-pinched, a combination right up there in the enticement stakes with getting a fist to the throat at the same time you get a fist up the ass.

The riff is serious business and makes the whole song worthwhile.  Locked in, don't look down.  Tommy Lee is still scared to dip a foot in the ocean, but that's okay...plenty of rivers around.   Get it on, bang a skank.

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