Friday, November 09, 2007

Weekend Listomania (Useless Video Edition)

Well, it's Friday and you know what that means. Yes, my Oriental manservant Hop-Sing and I are off to Las Vegas for the fabulous Blog Expo and trade show, which is apparently going to be the world's biggest pajama party. Ann Althouse in a teddy.....!!! Woo hoo -- got to be a hot one!!!

So posting by moi will be necessarily sporadic for a while.

But in my absence, here's a fun project for you all to contemplate:

Most Useless Band of the 80s!!!!!
You know -- the band that in its blithe cluelessness epitomized the worst aspects of the decade. Or the band that just had the most bad songs, ill-considered concepts, and cringe-inducing video. Or the band that you could barely remember even at the time. However you want to define useless.

Okay -- the votes are in at my house, and it's a dead heat!

And the winners are ----

1. Spandau Ballet



From the stupid name (Nazi prison chic? What the hell were they thinking?) to the insipid balladeering to the fact they thought it was cool to dress like a frat band circa 1962...these guys just screamed No Hope.

1. The Thompson Twins



Those hats, those affected vocals, the unconscious homage to the Four Seasons, the total sexlessness...if ever a band epitomized the je ne sais quoi that truly said "I don't know what" it was this Unholy Three.

1. The Housemartins



Marxist Jesus freaks. Yuck. Look up the word "twee" in the dictionary, and there's a picture of these guys. Seriously -- compared to these guys, Gerry and the Pacemakers were Black Sabbath.

Honorable Mention: Missing Persons



It would have been a four way tie, but at least MP could play.

Okay -- and your choice would be??????

41 comments:

Brooklyn Girl said...

Spandau Ballet tops my list, too.

With Culture Club right behind.

"Do you really want to hurt me?"

Yes, actually, I do.

four legs good said...

I'd never heard of the bottom two.

The Thompson Twins would definitely make my list. And so would Flock of Seagulls.

four legs good said...

Ooooh. Culture CLub.

Though I did like a couple of their songs. (well, can't be a cool centaur ALL the time.)

Mister Pleasant said...

Ditto four legs choice of A Flock of Seagulls.

Some other truly useless 80s bands I find boring beyond words:

Air Supply
Quarterflash
Men At Work

I never owned any vinyl by Missing Persons, but at least their music videos didn't send me lurching to change the channel from MTV. And I find it cute that Dale Bozzio started out as a Playboy Club bunny.

Mike said...

Borrowing one from my list last week....Mr. Mister.

Also never had any use for:

The Escape Club
OXO
Duran Duran
Milli Vanilli (worst o' them all?)

ripley said...

Asia (sorry, Thers)

NYMary said...

How can you even conscience picking on The Housemartins in a decade which produced Rick Astley, Tiffany, and the Fine Young Cannibals?

Feh. You deserve these earworms.

Twee they are, no doubt, but Paul Heaton went on to form the Beautiful South, and so I think the Zumpano comparison is key.


Pttthhhhbbbbt!

NYMary said...

And in Missing Persons' defense, they all began as members of The Mothers of Invention--Warren Cucurillo (the one with the, err, least makeup) is namechecked in the song "Catholic Girls" as a Catholic Boy.

Plus, and I wouldn't necessarily expect you to get this added bonus, but it's v., v. fun to point to Terry Bozzio and note to my teen that "this is what boys looked like when I was your age." Never fails to send her screaming.

steve simels said...

it's v., v. fun to point to Terry Bozzio and note to my teen that "this is what boys looked like when I was your age." Never fails to send her screaming.

Hah!
:-)

racymind said...

I'll start 80's uselessness off with Twisted Sister and Quiet Riot...

Throw in Huey Lewis, Toto, Loverboy...

The most useless? Heck, let's say either the Bangles or Bananarama... my memory is failing a little...

steve simels said...

Loverboy had great headbands....

And don't you go dissing the Bangles...

steve simels said...

Loverboy had great headbands....

And don't you go dissing the Bangles...

Cleveland Bob said...

Wow, so many choice.

Let's start with Asia, Loverboy, Quiet Riot, Boston, Styx, The Eagles (Henly, Glenn Frey), Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Foreigner, White Snake, Poison, Motley Crue, The Cure, Kajagoogoo, Ratt, Warrant, Bob Seeger, Billy Joel...

Gosh, I could go on all day. I know that several of these entries started out in the previous decade but they really hit the height of their popularity in the 80's

As for Men at Work, Colin Hey is a great singer/songwriter/busker. If you ever have the chance...GO SEE HIM LIVE.

racymind said...

ooo...touched a nerve. Meow!

I had that "Venus" song annoyingly in my ear... that's Bananarama. Totally useless.

The Bangles,eh, "Walk Like an Egyptian " was okay I guess... I watched the Bangles drummer make a fool of herself on Letterman once... "Eternal Flame" was smarmy. I associate them too much with the Go-Go's era to remember them fondly... for sure, it was a heavier freakier time for me.

Kid Charlemagne said...

I h8ted Huey Lewis and the News. New wave for lame-os who thought Blondie was too "punk."

Kid Charlemagne said...

And don't you go dissing the Bangles...

Sigh...

Susanna Hoffs is dreamy!

Heather said...

The Armoury Show. Portentious Twaddle.

Japan. Arty and completely unlistenable. The sort of thing you had to pretend to like in order to impress your college DJ roommate.

Spandau Ballet, absolutely, along with Kajagoogoo, Haircut 100, Naked Eyes, and a host of other deservedly forgotten synth bands.

Tears for Fears? Mawkish pop for depressed co-eds.

Slig said...

If there hasn't been a vote for Johnny Hates Jazz yet, there is one now.

(Missing Persons and Men at Work had some really great songs. And I've already defended Duran Duran in these pages. For me, it's about the songs, not the entire package.)

refinnej said...

Three words: Vinnie Vincent Invasion. Probably the worst of the 80's hair bands, which is saying quite a lot actually :)

return of the plumber said...

All of the above (with the exception of the Bangles)! But if you looked in the margins some of the greatest Rock & Roll of all time was created in the 80's, you just had to know where to look.

It was the 80's when for the first time all the above mentioned crap hid away the many musical gems which could not rise to the surface and be heard by the masses. As Sy Symms says an educated consumer.... And the consumer never heard the good stuff.

racymind said...

well, I guess I'll start googling before I post on List-o-mania... The Bangle-o-philes are circling! Aieee!


What were the bands that guy in American Psycho liked?

The Kenosha Kid said...

Juice Newton
Quarterflash
Laura Branigan
Loverboy

Now THOSE are useless bands.
I think bands like Missing Persons and the Thompson Twins who had at least a couple of enjoyable songs shouldn't be on this list.

MBowen said...

Let's not forget Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Danzig, the Misfits, and the Dead Kennedys.

MBowen said...

Oh, and Black Flag, too.

TJWood59 said...

Useless '80's bands were about a dime a dozen, as this blog indicates, most of them worthy choices. Amazing that there are still some leftovers in the mix: I'll throw in two:

Bad English (What did one expect from a band made up of members of Journey and the Babys? Genius?)

Night Ranger (Maybe you could still rock in America, but these guys couldn't)

refinnej said...

I almost forgot about Manowar. Who would have thought that the combo of animal skin costumes and Chinese opera would come across as really silly? :)

racymind said...

Well, I went a Youtubing to do Bangle's research... and while I must agree that they are teh hawt and i would drink their bathwater, Hoff's voice still grates on me, not always but often. But they are great performers.

There is some excellent live video of them in the last few years.

The Kenosha Kid said...

Joe Dolce

Jump N' the Saddle

If you were anywhere near a jukebox in the early eighties, you hate these songs as much as I do.

TMink said...

Heather wrote: "Spandau Ballet, absolutely, along with Kajagoogoo, Haircut 100, Naked Eyes, and a host of other deservedly forgotten synth bands."

I sure agree with her!

Although, Spandau Ballet had that song Work Till You're Musclebound which was annoyingly catchy.

I still have the Missing Person's record, and they can play! Nothing great, but not in line with the others mentioned here.

And I still listen to some Bangles, so I am with Steve on that one.

But Black Flag??? Wow, I do not listen to thme much, but they struck me as an important part of the indie movement.

Trey

dave™© said...

Did anyone mention Bananarama?

Neon Serpent said...

Men Without Hats. The only single that ever drove me into a frothing rage when I heard it.

Very bad.
Thank you.
~Neon Serpent~

agitpropre said...

I'm on the side of the anti Hair Metal forces Ratt/Stryper types - although Flock of Seagulls earns a dishonourable mention. But Haircut 100 had some great pop tunes! And Bananarama and the Bangles? All-Grrrl bands ALWAYS get bonus points - those are the rules. The test for me is whether a band has any demonstrable sense of irony. Men at Work? Of course. Motorhead? Undoubtedly. Air Supply? er....
The guitar tone for the first 2 bars of She Drives Me Crazy would be enough to save the Fine Young Cannibals from perdition, let alone Roland Gift's superb voice.
Lowest point of the 80's? KISS - without make-up. All together now: "Lick it UP! Liiiick it up!"

Slig said...

Men Without Hats were a genius band, except that Safety Dance got way overplayed. Flock of Seagulls also had some good songs (I Ran not being one of them). Sense a pattern here...? (BTW ditto for the last Cars album, Heartbeat City, all of the singles got old fast; the songs that got no radio airplay are more interesting; but that's just me.)

Slig said...

Actually, that wasn't the last Cars album. Second to last, I think...

Mr. Suave said...

What? The Housemartins? You've got to be kidding, they were a fantasic band if for no other reason than they spawned both Beautiful South and Fat Boy Slim. We all should be bowing down. Not to mention they had a few songs that were pretty goddam good. Twee starters to be sure, but my gawd in a decade that produce Musical Youth and Huey Lewis the Housemartins should be revered!

TMink said...

Agitpropre (way cool name btw) wrote: "The test for me is whether a band has any demonstrable sense of irony."

And a wonderful test it is! Quite twen cen plus one.

Trey

shrimplate said...

There should be some kind of one-to-ten "Irony Scale," measured perhaps in "Michael Bolton Units," to guage the suckiness of bad music.

For example, Frank Zappa's work would generally score very low on the Bolton scale, because he seemed to realize that playing slime on the video was indeed slime on the video. Zero non-irony.

Bolton himself attempting to sing Italian verismo opera would score highly, because of its unintended irony, while godawful attempts at emotional sincereity a la Celine Dion would also top the scale. Total lack of irony.

"Don't You Want Me Baby" by The Human League, since the answer to the question is a simple "no," would score 10 Boltons.

Toucari, fka cosmic tumbler said...

Culture Club. Worst. Band. Ever.

TMink said...

Interesting idea with the Boltons! Now where would Alex Chilton score? I never know just how ironic and sarcastic he is being, there are layers and layers, irony with irony, and I never know it her really means it.

I still like the music though!

Trey

steve simels said...

I must at this juncture put in a good word for A Flock of Seagulls.

As silly they were, "Wishing" is a gorgeous little pop song, and someday some very smart country band is gonna a hit covering it.

Strip away the synths and it's Buddy Holly....

dexter_road said...

I hated the Bangles, but mostly because Susannah Hoffs and Michael Cuercio (of the Three o'Clock)had already done good work on Rainy Day.
Their cover of I'll Be Your Mirror is the best arrangement I've heard of that tune.