Friday, February 24, 2012

Weekend Listomania: Special I'd Prefer a New Edition of the Spanish Inquistion Edition

Well, it's Friday and you know what means.

Actually, I am not even going to attempt a topical joke this week, having read the following in yesterday's New York Times. It seems that Ron Paul is running a new TV ad...
...directed at the youth of America, which begins with a picture of Rick Santorum. “Is this dude serious?” the announcer demands. “Fiscal conservative? Really?”

The ad then goes on to say that Santorum’s votes to raise the debt ceiling were “not groovy.”
"Not groovy."

Words, as they often do, fail me.

So without further ado, and because things will be characteristically quiet around here for a couple of days, here's a little project sure to give us all endless hours of harmless diversion:

Least Groovy Most Annoying Single, Video or Album Track of the New Wave Era

No arbitrary rules, you're welcome very much, and yes, we've probably done something like this before. I guarantee at least the number one pick is new, however.

And my totally top of my head Top Five is/are:

5. Missing Persons -- Destination Unknown

Yes, I am aware that Terry Bozzio was a technically accomplished drummer. I will also stipulate that Dale Bozzio was, as they used to say of certain WWII pinups, really built. They still sucked.

4. Toronto -- Your Daddy Don't Know

This is actually a cool song -- and I'm a huge fan of the New Pornographer's note for note cover -- but this particular video is so generically Eighties (and the band so utterly sexless) that it gives me the creeps.

3. The Thompson Twins -- Hold Me Now

It's like David Bowie trying to cover the Four Seasons, and it sucks even worse than that makes it sound. It's official, folks -- the Thompson Twins were the Most Useless Band of the 80s.

2. Spandau Ballet -- True

These guys were too dumb to know that they looked and sounded just like the band that played The Enchantment Under the Sea prom in Back to the Future, except without the soul. Or maybe they weren't. Either way, you would need a heart of stone not to laugh at them.

And the Numero Uno blah blah blah simply has to be...

1. Total Coelo -- I Eat Cannibals

Okay, I can't get this damn record out of my head. Will somebody please just shoot me?

Alrighty then -- what would your choices be?


Sal Nunziato said...

Maybe it isn't really "new wave," but the year, 1987, is just right.

Cutting Crew, "I Just die-YEEEED in your arms tonight."

Worst thing to that stupid dance move the chick in the Thompson Twins does in "Hold Me Now."

¡barangus!™ said...

Ooooh .. I 'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with there on Missing Persons. I think of all the synth bands of the 80's their songs have the most legs. Pretty much if Words comes on the readio, I'm not changing stations (or shuffle track or whatever it is the kids do these days).

Dave said...

I've always been fond of "True" -- love that piano hook. The cheesy video just makes me like it more, although to be honest, I don't remember the song being quite THIS long.

Still, the New Romantic movement spawned a better band, ABC, and a few scattered cool songs and other stuff, like Culture Club's, that I'd rather forget.

For sheer annoyance and smugness, it's hard to beat Mister Mister's "Broken Wings":

Captcha: "getyu"

edward said...

Just on principle I have to go with anything by Madonna. Followed immediately by Linda Ronstadt's venture into the New Wave.

More in keeping with the theme:

Josie Cotton: Johnny Are You Queer

The Waitresses: I Know What Boys Like

And just so it's not all girls:
J Giles Band: Centerfold

And Adam Ant: Goody Two Shoes

Shriner said...

Maybe it's nostalgia, but -- I love that first Missing Persons album. There really is some killer drumming on that album for such a pop-new wave album (although Destination Unknown doesn't show it and, really, is probably one of the weakest tracks on the album...)

And, I'm sorry - Your Daddy Don't Know rocks. The video *sucks* (and had that song come out in the pre-MTV days, it probably would have been a bigger hit -- some bands just weren't made for looking at...) And the New Pornos cover is just that much better...

And Linda Ronstadt's "Mad Love" album? It's friggin great. You need to give it another listen. *That* album has legs...

The other 3 songs -- I got nothing...

Boy George, though, I never understood.

Gummo said...

Iggy Pop's "African Man" from 1979's New Values.

I swear, there you are, enjoying one of Iggy's best albums ever, then, like a turd in the punchbowl, right in the penultimate slot, pops up this racist "joke" of a song that brings the whole record to a halt and sends a listener diving for the "next track" button.

Typical Iggy, in other words.

buzzbabyjesus said...

A-Ha "Take On Me"
Human League "Don't You Want Me"
Of course
Flock Of Seagulls "I Ran"
Thomas Dolby "She Blinded Me With Science"
Jefferson Starship "We Built This City"

Anonymous said...

count me in as supporting Missing Persons (really, the whole band was just a bunch of Zappa sidemen trying to make a buck) and i'm fond of Hold Me Now as a former soundtrack to One of Those Moments. A lot of 80's songs work that way.

I turn the dial at Billy Squier and the Saga/Night Ranger/Billy Thorpe crowd.

Anonymous said...

i despised Spandau as the worst of the new wave, also, until PM Dawn made the riff cool.

Sal Nunziato said...

OK, I might as well...the first Missing Persons single "I Like Boys," which is different from what appeared on their major label release, was a killer.

John Fowler said...

Wow, this era does seem to inspire some widely divergent views. I wonder if it has anything to do with age? This era was approximately when I was in high school/college, music occupied a huge part of my life, and many of these songs are associated with some nostalgic feelings for me.

E.g., I usually am in agreement with Steve, but I must admit to being agnostic on 2 of the 5 on his list (Total Coelho, Missing Persons), don't know the Toronto tune, and actively (still) like the Thompson Twins and Spandau Ballet tunes, as awful as they are. I =knew= that 'True' was a deplorable tune, even back then, but still liked it. Perhaps the definition of guilty pleasure?

Judgements are primarily based on the tunes, not the videos. I will agree that the Total Coelho video is over-the-top bad, but it might serve as a museum piece of the era. Was this before or after the 'Mickey' video?

My nomination for most annoying goes to Dead or Alive's "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" . I don't think any other tune makes me change the record station faster...

I'd also strongly agree that Sal's Cutting Crew, buzzbabyjesus's Starship and Dave's Mr. Mister nominations. Has there ever been a stupider band name than Mr. Mister?

A couple other dishonorable/annoying mentions:
Maneater, Hall & Oates
I Want to Know What Love Is, Foreigner

Neither of these are new wave, but are of the era. I have to say, in a direct competition, I'll take 'True' or 'Hold Me Now' over the dreck of 'I Want to Know What Love Is', any day.

And a special, so annoying & awful it's impossible to completely hate, including the undescribable video, award:
Total Eclipse of the Heart, Bonnie Tyler

Other objections:
I truly love Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science", but that is influenced, I'm sure in part, in that it's my job.
And like (to varying degrees) several of the other tunes listed as objectionable - 'Centerfold', 'Goody Two Shoes', 'Take on Me', and 'I Ran' (although 'Space Age Love Song' and 'Wishing' are better Flock of Seagulls tunes)

Anonymous said...

Til Tuesday-Voices Carry

John Fowler said...

Ok, I just checked out that Spandau Ballet video. I hereby drop my advocacy for this song.

Noam Sane said...

"The Tide is High," Blondie. I didn't know it was a cover until just a short time ago, and I don't care, it's a horrible song, the production is marshmallow-like and that woman's voice drives me up the fucking wall.

That band was every bit as pre-fab as the Monkees, but with much shittier music.

Noam Sane said...

By the way, I bought a ticket to the world. But now I've come back again.

Anonymous said...

re: Blondie

Yeah, but how do you explain "Dreaming" probably the best drumming on a hit pop single ever.

I always based my love of power pop on how much it instinctively made me play "air drums."

John Fowler said...

+1 on air drums for 'Dreaming'

and although 'The Tide is High' is not my favorite Blondie tune, I don't see how Debbie Harry's voice is anything but wondrous.

portly neighbor said...

I'd have to agree for the most part with John Fowler vis-a-vis musical eras. When Steve and Sal post stuff on the Beach Boys, I read but never listen (and often am traumatized by the very idea of listening).

And, anonymous - "Dreaming" Good God yes!

Karin said...

The whole era annoys me. I turned off the radio and didn't turn it on again for 20 years

Brooklyn Girl said...

Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", if for no other reason than it was accompanied with this beyond awful video:

And I second the choice of Spandau Ballet.

Gummo said...

So sue me, I liked "Hold Me Now."

buzzbabyjesus said...

My radio is still off.

Anonymous said...

Love the discussion. Nothing much to add except...

Mr. Fowler mentioned the Bonnie Tyler classic Total Eclipse of the Heart. I come from a good family, was brought up right, but I will proudly admit, without shame, that I dig the song. Over the top? Name another more "over". And THAT, buckaroos, takes real talent. Any other video and I think the song wouldn't have had quite the same...ummm...well, you know what I mean. Ya know, if you're gonna sing a song that whack, well...why stop with just the music? A couple of years ago, I think the song came on the radio while I was in the car with my 15 year old daughter. She'd never heard it. We listened in amazement as it unfurled from the radio in all its histrionic glory. When we got home, I you-tubed the video for her. It took all my fatherly skill to get her jaw off her lap. Loved it.

Sorry if I've hijacked the thread but I just couldn't resist.



Anonymous said... more thread hijack that was inspired by that anti-robot thing on the bottom where you have to type in these nonsensical words to prove you're human.

Does anyone here watch that tv show, The Middle? In a recent episode, the mom was trying to buy Justin Bieber tickets online for her teenaged daughter, but she kept having to refresh the screen because she couldn't make out what the hell the letters were. By the time she got a phrase she could decipher, the tickets were sold out. Hilarity ensued, but I could certainly relate. My middle-aged eyes definitley ain't what they used to be.


Sal Nunziato said...

"When Steve and Sal post stuff on the Beach Boys, I read but never listen (and often am traumatized by the very idea of listening)."

Forward all my mail to Beth Israel ICU.

John Fowler said...

RichD -

wrt Total Eclipse of the Heart

I can't say I have any fondness for the song, in reality. However, as you describe, it does inspire (still) a certain jaw-drop reaction. I'm not sure what type of song/video it is, but, whatever that type is, it is the hyper-example of that type.

I'm not really a movie guy, but, maybe there's a good analogy or metaphor comparison. Maybe it's the Transformers equivalent of an 80's love ballad?

(The 'prove you're not a robot' words have gotten much more difficult! Or, does this prove I am just becoming more like a robot as I age?)

steve simels said...

"When Steve and Sal post stuff on the Beach Boys, I read but never listen (and often am traumatized by the very idea of listening)."

Forward all my mail to Beth Israel ICU.

Anonymous Portly Neighbor:

Vis a vis Missing Persons, I am more than willing to stipulate that somebody who heard that stuff for the first time when they were in high school would, understandably, have a totally different reaction to it/them than somebody like me, who was in my late 20s/early 30s when they were MTV stars.

That said -- if you seriously prefer the collected works of Terry and Dale Bozzio to those of Brian Wilson, I'd have to say that this is less of a generation gap thing and more about, shall we say, questionable taste.

That said

portly neighbor said...

Sal: ! :)

Steve: I'm not sure if I can remember what a Missing Persons' song sounds like (I think I remember a high squeeky voice - I didn't watch/listen to the video) - my point is what sounds like crap to some is more tolerable to others if that is when a person's musical evolution (not sure what the right word is here) was happening. All I know is the Beach Boys oeuvre got defined by 6 songs constantly played over and over ( and I still can't get past that). I'll not deny Brian Wilson's genius - I just don't want to hear it.

And, like others, I, too turned off the radio after finding XTC, the Thompsons (not Twins), the Clash, etc. But it's easier for me to hear the stuff you just posted and go "Oh, I remember that," rather than "Shoot me." Cuz I do remember that and and its overshadowed by all the other great stuff I was discovering.

Didn't mean to offend/sorry about the rambling explanation - I can do pithy better than succinct.

GLLinMO said...

I was always confused by "the new wave era". The term "new wave" was a commercial way to sanitize "punk" - try to make it more marketable / $$$ by corporate suits to the unknowing masses. Thus all of the songs in this list really fall into the "sucky pop" category. Really, not the target for this highly esteemed blog.

steve simels said...

Portly Neighbor:

I was just being difficult.

steve simels said...

Oh, and incidentally, New Wave mostly means songs with bass lines in eighth notes.

Sal Nunziato said...

"Oh, and incidentally, New Wave mostly means songs with bass lines in eighth notes"


buzzbabyjesus said...

And terrible drum sounds, if they're drums at all.

"We Built This City" is sucky pop with "edgy" accessories, but really isn't New Wave as it has no punk bloodlines at all. It's the crassest corporate bullshit I can think of.

Billy B said...

I must have questionable tastes as I've always liked Missing Persons. Especially the first album.

steve simels said...

Billy B said...

I must have questionable tastes as I've always liked Missing Persons. Especially the first album.

UNCLEAN!!!!! UNCLEAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Billy B said...

say who?

portly neighbor said...

Steve- Thanks for letting me stop digging. :)

Brooklyn Girl said...

Okay, I am now about to torture Simels:

Complete with subtitles, in case you weren't sure what the words were.

And no, it's not Bowie ... :-)

Marsupial said...

As curator of the Inland Empire's Largest New Wave Collection (TM), I am going to try not to take all of this personally. However, I will say that, putting aside Dale's voice, plastic outfits, pink hair, etc., the four guys behind her in Missing Persons were/are incredible musicians. Before the band, as a whole, was stunted by over-the-top synthesizers and electronic drums, they were fantastic.

Jerry Lee said...

"Don't You Forget About Me" hey hey hey hey oooo oooo whoa aohhhh, from that movie The Breakfast Club, starring a few people who didn't do much after that. I don't remember who the band was, don't want to either, so don't remind me please.

buzzbabyjesus said...

On the flipside, I've always had a weakness for Debbie Gibson's "Only In My Dreams". I like to hear it as

buzzbabyjesus said...

On the flipside, I've always had a weakness for Debbie Gibson's "Only In My Dreams".

Marsupial said...

And another thing...! The first time I became aware of the Spice Girls, in 1990-whatever (it was a bad time), I remember turning to my wife and saying "My God, they've created a new Toto Coelo!" (Or Total Coelo, depending on where you lived.)