Sunday, September 18, 2011

Listening Notes: 1983 Part the Last

The Police - Synchronicity

There's no point in denying that these are catchy songs and expertly arranged. However, even 28 years ago, I didn't need an introduction to Jung or Paul Bowles from a self-important rock star. Which goes to show that you can take GS Sumner out of the classroom, but you can never take the classroom out of GS Sumner.

U2 - War, Under a Blood Red Sky

I loved "War" 28 years ago, but I must have been listening past the filler. The hits still work for me, which is why I now prefer the live mini-album. More hits, less filler. I don't have much interest in their striving, but they work as a big rock band.

Tom Waits - Swordfishtrombones

I'll admit I've never been a big fan, but this was the album where he figured out that ugly rock and roll would serve his ugly voice much better than ugly tin pan alley. Still, allow me my prejudices. His disdain for the square life is an affection, a pandering to what he expects his audience wants to hear.

Paul Young - No Parlez

Seriously, I liked this back in the day, and I'm still fond of it. It's weirder than you'd think, full of experiments that don't quite work. ("Love Will Tear Us Apart" as blue eyed soul?!?) That's the problem with trying to make everything new. I have to think his career would have been better if he'd just sung dull versions of standards.


Husker Du (sorry no umlauts) - Metal Circus: Two great Grant Hart songs surrounded by Bob Mould ravers. Minutemen - Buzz or Howl Under the Influence: None of the above. OH-OK - Furthermore What: Indeed, quite so, and charming to boot. DFX2 - Emotion: Nice stonesy songs, but emotion, I don't think so. Los Lobos - And a Time To Dance: Just getting warmed up.

Subjects for further research

Joining Pablo Moses in the one play is just not enough is Pylon's "Chomp" and Nile Rodgers' "Adventures in the Land of Good Groove". In case anyone ever reads this and wants to know what's going on, head over to Robert Christgau's Expert Witness site where the regular commenters are conducting a poll on the best albums of 1983. This was my relistening list. I didn't include Lou Reed, the Blasters or REM because I regularly relisten to them. There were another 40 albums I could've included here, but I couldn't get my hands on a legal copy in the time allotted. It's not like this is my job or I have any special expertise. This is supposed to be fun.