Thursday, January 31, 2019

#68. "Stand Back" - Stevie Nicks (1983)

Looking back, I remember Debbie Harry (Blondie) and Pat Benatar were my first celebrity crushes.

But that was before Stevie Nicks started appearing on my TV screen in the early 80s.

"Stand Back" is a fast and furious funk rocker from a powerhouse sparkplug that demands your complete attention. Stevie Nicks shows off her range with an honest and dynamic delivery that is simply captivating.

Add in those big synths and you have a masterpiece albeit somewhat derivative.

Fun factoid: Stevie was inspired to make "Stand Back" after hearing Prince's "Little Red Corvette". In fact, Prince surprised her by showing up in the studio one day and playing the keyboard track.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

#69. "Rapture" - Blondie (1981)

We all remember "Call Me" and "Heart of Glass" from those K-tel compilations albums but it's "Rapture" that I keep coming back to almost 40 years later.

Blondie is one of my fave American artists, born from the new wave/punk scene of New York City in the mid to late 70s as artists congregated from around the globe and transformed music.

"Rapture" is just so cool and original. The soothing vocals, driving bass line, funky guitar and ambient horns create a groovy trance-like quality. It's like slow disco, even somewhat ambient.

Then seemingly out of nowhere the tune turns hip-hop near the end with Debbie Harry rapping about the man from Mars. 

"Rapture" became the first song with some rap in it to hit #1. The lyrics borrows from the classic The Sugarhill Gang "Rapper's Delight' that came out a year earlier­. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

#70. "Under Pressure" - Queen with David Bowie (1981)

"Under Pressure" is simply a classic: a heartfelt anthem that takes stock of the essence of life itself.

The tune magnificently showcases two of the greatest trailblazers and front men in the biz, forever reminding us the power of collaboration. 

This is also a test: the artist you first recognize when you hear that magical opening bass line will tell you how old you are.  

Just ask this guy:

Monday, January 28, 2019

#71. "19" - Paul Hardcastle (1985)

This ironic dance floor hit from the spring/summer of 1985 had a very political message.

Lyrically, Paul Hardcastle's anti-war song "19" had two main takeaways: 1. the obvious being 19 as the average age of an American combat soldier in the Vietnam War, and 2. the harsh reality of PTSD.

Musically, "19" introduced many electronica innovations to the mainstream: sampling haunting sound bites from a Vietnam War documentary, re-dubbing bugle calls and synthesizing the classic "nineteen" stutter. 

Combined with a captivating video clip, the single reached #1 on the UK and US charts (and #2 in Canada). 

I'm always conflicted when I hear "19": my mind wants to pay attention to the message while the body wants to move. 

I read somewhere on the internet that when the song was played in the clubs people would stop dancing and listen to the lyrics. Now that's powerful.

Fave lyric: not really a favourite per se, more insightful: "Eight to ten years after coming home / Almost eight-hundred-thousand men Are still fighting the Vietnam War"

Sunday, January 27, 2019

#72. "Monkey Gone To Heaven" - Pixies (1989)

Lyrically, "Monkey Gone to Heaven" by the Pixies tackles serious subjects like God and the growing environment issues of the day e.g. pollution, ozone depletion and the greenhouse effect.

Musically, the tune sounds breezy and cool with a folky chorus, although it does have a somewhat menacing bassline.

The alternating loud-soft verses preceded and influenced Kirk Cobain and Nirvana's sound from their 1991 album Nevermind

The breakdown could possibly be the first time that the alt-rock talk-scream trademark vocal was delivered: 
"If man is 5 / Then the devil is 6 / And if the devil is six / Then god is 7"

So in summary, the Pixies were creating grunge before the official grunge era kicked in.

Another equally popular single from the 80s had been resurrected in the 2009 (500) Days of Summer film soundtrack:

Saturday, January 26, 2019

#73. "Big Time" - Peter Gabriel (1986)

I've always preferred "Big Time to "Sledgehammer".

The song kicks off with Gabriel's "Higher" vocal then takes us on a relentless ride into his vivid imagination.

"Big Time" is the 80s in a nutshell: a brash and bold sound with bombastic lyrics that satirize the 'American dream'. Watching the creative claymation video provided a natural trip back in 1986. It still captivates today. 

And the track grooves with a driving, even funky, bass. In fact, the bass was played by two band members to achieve the unique percussion sound using funk fingers. A more detailed explanation can be found on Wikipedia: 

"Using one of Levin's fretless basses, Levin handled the fingerings while Marotta hit his drumsticks on the strings, which is why the bass part sounds percussive. Inspired by this sound, Levin later invented funk fingers, which were little drumstick ends that could be attached to the fingers to achieve a similar bass guitar effect in concert."

And for good measure, The Police's Stewart Coupland plays the drums. So much larger than life. Big Time.

Friday, January 25, 2019

#74. "Bust a Move" - Young MC (1989)

We take it for granted today, but tracks like "Bust a Move" by Young MC (along with "Funky Cold Medina" by Tone Loc) vaulted hip hop to the mainstream in the late 80s.

Rumpshakin' tomfoolery is guaranteed by this old school club tune that will fill the floor with a motley crew of party animals from all the sociodemographics. 

If you ain't bustin' a move to this groove then you're  probably doing it wrong. But since my name appears in the lyrics, I may be a little overprotective about this catchy number.

Fun fact: Flea from the Chili Peppers is responsible for that peppy bass line.

Move it boi!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

#75. "Synchronicity II" - The Police (1983)

"Synchronicity II" is a tune where the guys let loose and rock. 

It also star's Sting on the soapbox to share an important message.

While teetering and swinging amid a futuristic apocalyptic garbage heap, an especially  intense Sting describes in the verses how our so-called modern society, in the pursuit of material possessions and hellish suburban commutes, ultimately destroys our relationships and the natural world.

One of my fave lyrics of all time, "packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes", really drives the message home. By the end of the clip, a Loch Ness monster has been awakened "many miles away" and apparently on its way to settle the score.

I used to think a lot about "Synchronicity II" when I moved back to Clare from Halifax in spring 2003. My alternative interpretation of the lyrics made me appreciate the serene lake view that symbolized the Scottish loch “many miles away” from soul-sapping suburbia. 

Not to be confused with Synchronicity the album, "Synchronicity I" the song is another high energy offering from a group that ended up disbanding soon after, arguably still in their prime years.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

#76. "Dreamworld" - Midnight Oil (1988)

I typically enjoy a long sweeping opening but in this case it makes sense to hit us straight over the head with a powerful intro. 

The no-nonsense pro-environment rocker "Dreamworld" gets right to the point: the development of theme parks, hotels and condos along the coast will ultimately result in its destruction. 

Australia's Midnight Oil set the bar for political bands: lead singer and wild dancer Peter Garrett doubled down and ran for office in his homeland after years of making albums and public protests.   

"Beds Are Burning" is a pretty good tune, too: 

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

#77. "Left of Center" - Suzanne Vega (1986)

"Left of Center" by Suzanne Vega is the second of three from the iconic Pretty in Pink film to appear on my chart. 

There is a lot to like here: the glimmering guitars, poignant piano and melodic hooks complement the silky, almost folky vocals of the always classy Suzanne Vega. 

The lyrics are memorable, articulating the perspective of an 'outsider' on the periphery of popularity. It's a perfect track aimed at the 80s high school and university demographic.

Fave lyrics: And if you want me/You can find me/Left of center/Wondering about you

The tune has aged well too, and I find I still play it regularly. 

The only regret from our 2012 London trip: not going to see Suzanne Vega play at The Barbican Theatre. Blame it on fatigue from going all out during the days and from already taking in a George Michael show earlier in the week. Maybe next time.

In spite of a slew of solid singles from 1987's Solitude Standing including the title track, "Luka" and "Tom's Diner", "Left of Center" may very well be her finest work. 

Fun fact: Joe Jackson plays the piano on the track, best known for his 1982 single "Steppin' Out".

Monday, January 21, 2019

#78. "Bring on the Dancing Horses" - Echo & The Bunnymen (1985)

The soaring intro on "Bring on the Dancing Horses" is an easy sell. Ian McCulloch's smooth vocals seal the deal. 

This is one of those songs where I prefer the verses to the chorus; the bass just so effortlessly glides along. It shimmers.

Often compared to U2, Echo and the Bunnymen didn't sell nearly as many albums to match their critical acclaim. Influenced by Bowie and Iggy Pop, Echo & the Bunnymen were still a popular UK post-punk band that didn't quite reach the same level of popularity of groups like Depeche Mode and The Cure.

Before "Bring on the Dancing Horses" appeared on the Pretty in Pink soundtrack (1 of 3 on this countdown), Echo & co. had success with "The Killing Moon" in '84 and later in '87 with a cover of the Doors' "People Are Strange" on The Lost Boys soundtrack. 

My second fave Echo tune is a toss up between the rocker "Lips Like Sugar" and "Bedbugs & Ballyhoo". Since I still can't decide, here are both of them:

Sunday, January 20, 2019

#79. "Johnny Come Home" - Fine Young Cannibals (1986)

Members from Birmingham UK's The Beat dissolved and formed two new groups: The Fine Young Cannibals and General Public.

Before the Fine Young Cannibals ruled the charts in 1988 with “She Drives Me Crazy” and “Good Thing” they kicked off their career with a catchy groove showing off their ska roots called "Johnny Come Home". 

A breath of fresh air, this infectious tune with boss vocals, great arrangements and cool horns sounded like nothing else at the time. 

The single only reached #16 on the Canadian charts which is sheer lunacy. I'm pleased to report I fixed the error as it climbed to #3 on my own chart from May 1986 (see photo below from binder salvaged from parent's attic). 

But the question still remains: why did Johnny leave home?

In 1984, General Public churned out the infinitely catchy "Tenderness" on radio and video channels, later featured on the soundtrack of the nerd Weird Science film.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Bonus 20: the songs that just missed

Full disclosure: Picking 100 favourite songs from the 80s is not an easy task! 

After compiling the original list of over 200 awesome tracks over the Christmas holidays, the whittling process began. Following descents into neverending YouTube rabbit holes and gleaning over paper hard-copies, I unearthed several forgotten gems that barged their way onto the countdown, usurping a few classics. A reminder of my selection criteria: song had to be a single and or have a video. No deep album tracks. 

Although the order of the rest of the countdown is still changing, the next 80 songs are now entrenched. This brief interlude in the countdown is a good time to reveal these tunes since there is a noticeable gap in affection for the next batch of tunes to come.

Note that any of these 20 tunes could have easily replaced the first 20 songs already revealed in slots 80 to 100. 

The "bubbling under 100" are revealed below and ordered by year of release:

Whip It – Devo (1980)
Nerdy new wave tomfoolery

Ride Like The Wind – Christopher Cross (1980)
Epic classic from one of first albums I ever owned

Eye In the Sky – Alan Parsons Project (1982)
70s sound brings back childhood nostalgia

I Ran – A Flock Of Seagulls (1982)
A classic and one of the last to be cut.

Subdivisions – Rush (1982)
Brooding synths accompany lyrics of soulless suburbs

It’s A Mistake – Men At Work (1983)
A cold war classic, simple yet catchy chorus

Jeopardy - Greg Kiln Band (1983)
Infectious bass line

Modern Love – David Bowie (1983)
Rip-roaring and brash 

Photograph – Def Leppard (1983)
Big chorus hints at a new wave vibe 

Forever Young – Alphaville (1984)
Sweeping synths and a message of living in the moment

Smalltown Boy – Bronski Beat (1984)
Melancholic synths and haunting vocals

Smooth Operator - Sade (1984)
Soulful jazz-pop, but as a geographer I always winced at the "Coast to coast, LA to Chicago" lyric...

The Ghost In You - Psychedelic Furs (1984)
Shimmering and cerebral

Welcome To The Pleasure Dome – Frankie Goes To Hollywood (1984)
Shameless glam excess and supernovas and an ace bass line

Summer of ‘69 – Bryan Adams (1985)
I think everyone loved this one

Cities in Dust – Siouxsie and the Banshees (1986)
Punk group nails new wave 

La Isla Bonita - Madonna (1987)
Timeless Latin and pop fusion

Little Lies – Fleetwood Mac (1987)
Fave song from the Tango In the Night album with vocals by Christine, Lindsay and Stevie; "Everywhere" a close second...

Monkey - George Michael (1988)
Intense and funky groove

Suedehead - Morrissey (1988)
First solo effort with Marr-esque jangle guitar still better than most of The Smiths catalogue

Friday, January 18, 2019

#80. "Round & Round" - New Order (1989)

By the end of the decade, New Order had shed its Joy Division punk rock roots to become an iconic pioneer of electronic music made for the dance floor.

In 1989 the band went on a working holiday to Ibiza to record Technique, arguably their greatest album. 

Lyrically, the songs are stormy, stemming from lead guitarist/singer Bernard Sumner's divorce and the souring relationship with their record label Factory.

Musically, most of Technique is reflective of the emerging acid house scene of Manchester's Haçienda and the dance floors of Ibiza clubs. 

The result: an excellent blend of dance and rock and New Order at its creative peak.

The disco / techno inferno "Round & Round" was the second single released, stirred by Peter Hook's driving bass. Combined with the sunny synth and guitar melodies, the music act as a foil to Bernard's subdued vocals and biting lyrics.  

Fave lyrics: "The picture you see is no portrait of me. It's too real to be shown to someone I don't know."

Thursday, January 17, 2019

#81. "Everything Counts" - Depeche Mode (1983)

I'd only 'discovered' Depeche Mode when the "People are People" single charted in summer 1985. So I had some catching up to do with the back catalogue. 

Even early in their career, Depeche had produced a plethora of moody ear worms ranging from the light and poppy "Just Can't Get Enough" to the darker synth of "Lie to Me".

Then there's "Everything Counts", with its pulsating synths, powerful chorus and political lyrics "Grabbing hands, grab all they can" about the state of corporate greed in 80s England. 

The tune also provides musical hints for the future "People are People" single that paved their way for even more success during the mid and late 80s. 

And yes, there will be more from DM in the upcoming weeks...
Also from 1983, "Get The Balance Right" showcases a similar sound with a video taking place in an arcade. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

#82. "Talking In Your Sleep" - The Romantics (1983)

"Talking In Your Sleep" by The Romantics is vintage 80s and pure ear candy. 

The tune is a fusion of classic rock and the British Invasion. It's both a classic with a slice or two of cheese. A summary of the salient highlights:

- A fantastic 30 second intro. 

- Jangle guitar interplay and catchy bass slide. 

- The echo/reverb effect vocals complement a strong chorus. 

Fun fact: the 2016 single "Secrets" by The Weeknd features samples vocals from "Talking in your Sleep". 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

#83. "Back on the Chain Gang" - The Pretenders (1982)

Two words: jangling guitars! 

"Back on the Chain Gang" by The Pretenders is like good home-cooking.

The tune will always take me back to road trips with my parents in the family station wagon where I sat in the back seat behind Dad, enjoying tunes like this while counting license plates en route to PEI.

Chrissie Hynde's smooth and soulful vocals perfectly complement those magical guitars.  

How good is this song? Well, some chap named Morrissey has covered it:

Monday, January 14, 2019

#84. "One Step Ahead" - Split Enz (1980)

In the early 80s New Zealand's Split Enz created a lot of atmospheric and melodic pop with a dash of dark. 

"One Step Ahead" is downright hypnotic.

One of the first videos ever shown on MTV, "One Step Ahead" sounded several steps, even light years, ahead of its time. I especially enjoy the funky and at times sinister organ that runs in the background during the verses.

Fave lyric: "Love is a race won by two"

Fun fact: at 1:58 in the video you will see the keyboardist leave his instrument and perform the pantomime illusion walk, a sort of 'frontwards' moonwalk, and a move that would later inspire Michael Jackson to do the actual moonwalk and a parade of hit singles. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

#85. "Saved By Zero" - The Fixx (1983)

Maybe, someday...I'll get the meaning of "Saved By Zero" by The Fixx.

I'd always been intrigued by the lyrics (was it an homage to algebra?) when released back in 1983, however at the time could only appreciate the haunting yet soothing icy cool guitar/ bass and intricate arrangements. 

The theme seemed to be a desire for a life of less stress but as a 14 year-old I couldn't really get it other than having to wait another week to watch the video.

I finally found out what singer songwriter Cy Curnin had in mind upon reading this extract from an interview in 2008:

"It was about looking at your own life, not so much about amassing material things but about experiences that lend you to be blissful... The song was written from the point of view of the release you get when you have nothing left to lose. It’s sort of a meditation. It clears your head of all fears and panics and illusions and you get back to the basics, which is a Buddhist mantra, which I practiced back then, and which I still do. The idea of the song is how great it is to get back to zero."

Très cool...I knew it was always a great tune to chill to.

The Fixx had a quite few solid songs over the decade, including "One Thing Leads to Another" and "Are We Ourselves?". More recently on satellite radio stations I appreciate the underappreciated "Red Skies".

Saturday, January 12, 2019

#86. "What’s On Your Mind" - Information Society (1988)

Sounds familiar, right. Kinda like The Human League...Duran Duran, perhaps. 

I had to Google a little information about the Information Society to discover I was not enjoying a British new wave dance hybrid, rather an outfit from Minnesota, that breadbasket of American music innovation.

This slickly-produced frenetic one-hit wonder ended up being pure energy reaching #1 on the dance charts. It still sounds fresh today, not as an easy feat for any song born in the 80s. 

Fun fact 1: the track included a vocal sample of Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) from Star Trek, saying "pure energy", hence the official song title "What’s On Your Mind (Pure Energy)".

Fun fact 2: "What’s On Your Mind" was re-released in the US in 1998 and again in 2001!

The zany video always reminds me of the wacky hijinx in the 1987 summer hit "Right on Track" by the Breakfast Club. Still a smooth groove.

Friday, January 11, 2019

#87. "Pump Up The Jam" - Technotronic (1989)

And what a jam it was! 

Part hip-hop, part house, "Pump Up The Jam" filled the floors at all the clubs on Argyle Street (The Dome, Rosa's, Bogart's) every weekend in the fall of '89. 

It was also a sneak preview of what was to come. 

We may not have quite realized it at the time but this little eurodance floor stomper became the template for the 90s dance music revolution featuring the likes of C & C Music Factory, Black Box... 

It didn't matter what you listened while at home or in the car, this tune demanded your attention at the club. And if you weren't getting busy on the floor, you were most definitely watching the proceedings.

I'll never forget the cool hippie who used to set up shop along the perimeter of Bogart's sunken dance floor and grooved on the spot shaking her booty and tambourine for hours to jams like this: the very epitome of 'dance like no one is watching.' 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

#88. "Desire" - Gene Loves Jezebel (1986)

Gene Loves Jezebel has been classified as 'Goth' but they are also most definitely new wave. Another term I've seen bandied around: Rockwave. Whatever.

One thing's for sure: their signature song "Desire" is a great groove. The high vocals are off the charts and drive the tune. Also a decent guitar solo. 

In the video, the twin brothers that form the core look as if David Lee Roth hooked up with Platinum Blonde for a festival gig. 

I don't remember "Desire" charting when it was released in the mid-80s in Nova Scotia but I used to hear it in the clubs when I moved to Vancouver in the early 90s. 

Unmistakenly 80s, it's a fun trip with some nice production worthy of a spin every once in a while.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

#89. "Love Like Blood" - Killing Joke (1985)

"Love Like Blood" by Killing Joke sounded more like the future than an 80s song, heavily influencing the early 90s 'Nirvana' sound. It could also be what you'd expect to get from a jam between The Cure and Motley Crue.  

The tune is so tight: the driving bass and powerful drumming lead the way with an intense rhythm supported by sparse guitars and synth to produce a moody, industrial vibe. 

This is not background music and must be cranked to fully appreciate. A great track for your playlist for a road trip at night.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

#90. "To Live and Die in L.A." - Wang Chung (1985)

The only band I'm aware of that has a verb named to honour it, you wouldn't expect a synth-pop outfit like Wang Chung to produce the title track to the gritty crime film "To Live and Die in L.A."

Turnout to be a perfect fit: Wang Chung perfectly captures the icy cool atmosphere with an under the radar tune to go with an equally underrated movie. 

Fave lyric: "I wonder why we waste our lives here. When we could run away to paradise".

Bonus video #1:

Everybody Have Fun Tonightis a light-hearted slice of sprinkles and rainbows and a must play at 80s retro parties. Be careful not too stare too long at the seizure-inducing video or your night may become curtailed. 

Fun flashback: "Everybody Have Fun Tonight" was playing on the video screen when I sneaked underage into Bogart's on Argyle St. and ordered my first rum and coke. It's also when I learned about the concept of tipping: after having pocketed the four quarters I got back as change. What a noob!

Bonus video #2:

Wang Chung's first single and new wave classic "Dance Hall Days" from 1983 almost made my top 100. I only later discovered years later after a Google search that I'd been singing the lyric "We were cool and crazed" incorrectly. In actuality it is the even more ridiculous: "We were cool and cries"... and probably why the tune was scuttled off the list altogether...

Monday, January 7, 2019

#91. "Hold Me Now" - Thompson Twins (1984)

The first single from the 1983 Into the Gap album,"Hold Me Now" has an incredible melody. 

The track features a unique array of instruments: a piano, a xylophone and a plethora of cool percussion (check out the setup of noise-makers behind Alanah Currie: cymbals, bells, rattles and tomtookas!). 

The final chorus drives it home with some really nice vocal harmonies. 

"Hold Me Now" is also the first of six from the epic The Wedding Singer soundtrack to appear on this chart.

The Thompson Twins were no stranger to movie soundtracks. Soon after "Hold Me Now" hit the charts in North America, the ballad "If You Were Here" from Sixteen Candles solidified their standing as household names in the mid-80s.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

#92. "Things I Do For Money" - The Northern Pikes (1987)

The second single "Things I Do For Money" by Canadian rockers The Northern Pikes is a far cry from the more radio-friendly and upbeat vibe of "Teenland" and most of their singles in the 90s.

The song shows off the band's depth: I'm a fan of the sparse instrumentation and the moody yet melodic arrangement. The mysterious intro makes it hard to figure out where the tune is heading. In fact, the song starts with minimalist verses that build slowly, before it simmers, dazzles then crashes into a terrific crescendo before the fade to end.

The lyrics are powerful, even chilling, and a perfect match to the dark music.

Fave lyrics: "I used to be quite practical but now I find I'm tactical". 

For comparison, check out their debut single; the more peppy and poppy "Teenland".

Saturday, January 5, 2019

#93. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" - The Proclaimers (1988)

Irresistible. Contagious. Ridiculous. And a bloody good time. 

Who hasn't belted out these lyrics after a couple in public at least once? 

Not only a popular pub number, this catchy little singsong has a petition out there lobbying to make "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by The Proclaimers the national anthem of Scotland.

And educational. 

It's a bonus that we get to learn a new word in another language. 

As in:

“And if I haver, yeah I know I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be the man who’s havering to you.”

Haver: To talk nonsense, gibberish; to speak rubbish. For the nerds, read more here

Friday, January 4, 2019

#94. "The Promise" - When in Rome (1988)

If the one-hit wonder "The Promise" by When In Rome doesn't make you think about tetherball, then you missed out on one of the best movies of the 00s. 

Like The Wedding Singer years before, the classic indie film Napoleon Dynamite dipped into the 80s for its soundtrack. 

"The Promise" has an undeniably wondrous chorus. It exudes an appropriate level of sappiness without overdoing it compared to many of the ballads that topped the charts in the 80s ("Sara", "The Power Of Love" and anything by Air Supply and Whitney Houston come to mind).

An important new wave factoid: released in 1988, "The Promise" was one of the last gasps from the golden age of synth before the domination of rap, R & B and eventually the grunge. Incidently, the glam metal "hair" bands of the 80s followed a similar rise and fall during the decade. Guess it was time for a change.

There was another decent track in the 80s called "The Promise".

In 1985 following their ascent to global domination of the singles charts, Duran Duran took a break and split in half to pursue side projects. Bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor went off with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson to form the rock/funk supergroup The Powerstation (more on them later), while vocalist Simon LeBon, drummer Roger Taylor and keyboard wizard Nick 'The Controller' Rhodes created the synth-driven art rock  outfit called Arcadia. 

Arcadia's So Red The Rose album produced four singles including the #1 hit "Election Day", but for me it's the haunting "The Promise" that stands up the best. Featuring some sweet guitar work of David Gilmour (yep, Pink Floyd), and backing vocals from some Sting fellow Simon ran into during Band-Aid, "The Promise" is a slick piece of production reminiscent of vintage Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry that shows off LeBon's underrated vocal range.