Showing posts with label 1985. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1985. Show all posts

Friday, April 2, 2021

5/100 Video - "The Perfect Kiss" - New Order (1985)

 

New Order are often best known for their unique blend of rock and electronica, and in my opinion, "The Perfect Kiss" is the best high-end example of their trademark sound. 

The video is a 10-and-half minute epic and a must-see. 

In the mid-80s, the band was known for avoiding making videos, music media interviews and for not being on their album covers. Here the 4 members are awkwardly revealed, notably the first two minutes of this intimate and claustrophobic performance video where there's no place to hide. And does the music ever shine.

Directed by the late great Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), the video shows close-ups of the four band members playing various instruments. 

Although all four are bringing it, I think the excellent bass work is Peter Hook's finest moment.


The video also demonstrates how the group excelled at constructing a song piece by piece until it becomes a cohesive whole.

The diverse instrumentation and versatile musicianship is clearly on display:

- lead singer Bernard Sumner plays cow bells (along with usual lead guitar)
- bassist Peter Hook plays the drum machine
- the (usual) drummer Stephen Morris plays keys
- Gillian does her magic on the synths

The song has several intoxicating builds until a thrilling two-minute-long bass and synth finale wraps up one of the most exhilarating climaxes ever produced.

"The Perfect Kiss" also features samples of Amazonian tree frogs croaking and sheep bleating.

The music is complex yet the quartet look to be barely breaking a sweat. They were good.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

17/100 Video - "Take On Me" - a-ha (1985)


The video for a-ha's 
"Take On Me" used a pencil-sketch animation / live-action combination known as rotoscoping, in which the live-action footage is traced over frame by frame to give the characters realistic movements. 

Approximately 3,000 frames were rotoscoped, which took 16 weeks to complete. The video cost $150,000 USD, which was significant at the time in 1985.

Actress Bunty Bailey, who played singer Morten Harket's love interest, went on to star in the band's follow-up video, “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.,” and had a real-life romance with Harket.

The iconic music video for “Take On Me” has reached one billion views on YouTube, a feat very few artists have accomplished. 

Friday, March 12, 2021

26/100 Video - "You Spin Me Round" - Dead Or Alive (1985)

 

Back when I was a 16-year-old and glued to Video Hits every weekday at 5 pm, my mom would often cruise into the living room to catch a glimpse of the latest hits.

"Geez, Boy George is looking kinda rugged these days!"

"Yeah, Mom. He's a pirate now. Pretty cool, huh?"


This video demands your attention with its vibrant colours, the disco ball, rotating band members and Pete Wagg wagging fingers and swaying hips across the screen.

And what a track! From the opening beats, "Yo
u Spin Me Round" by Dead or Alive is a relentless assault on the senses. The dance inferno didn't sound like anything else charting in the spring of '85. 

The "You spin me round like a record, baby" chorus is equally inane and brilliant, the groove catchy and cheesy, and the whole production over the top. No wonder The Wedding Singer embraced it. 

I'll also always think of Corey Mock from our Dartmouth High days when I hear this iconic dance track. Corey absolutely loved this tune, the only guy I knew who enjoyed it more than I did! I can still see him grooving on the dance floor to it. RIP buddy.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

29/100 Video - "Money For Nothing" - Dire Straits (1985)

The innovative video for "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits was one of the first to feature computer-generated animation.

Apparently the characters were supposed to have more detail, like buttons on their shirts, but they used up the budget and had to leave it as is. 

The video was directed by Steve Barron, who describes below how it was an ironic video for MTV.

"The song is damning to MTV in a way. The characters we created were made of televisions, and they were slagging off television. 

Videos were getting a bit boring, they needed some waking up. And MTV went nuts for it. It was like a big advertisement for them."

This clip won Best Video at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

34/100 Video - "Slave To The Rhythm" - Grace Jones (1985)

I stumbled upon this video the year it was released one Friday night on a late night program. Like really late. In real time, I think I only saw it played twice.

It makes sense.  

"Slave To The Rhythm" by Jamaican-born Grace Jones is one badass video from the 80's. It's adventurous, amusing, bizarre, warm and provocative. 


I'm not going to give away any details, but there over a hundred imaginative clips. Some are things that you make you go "hmmmmm"

You just gotta hit play.

The tune itself is equally stunning, a smooth groove you can dance to or enjoy Trevor Horn's mind-blowing production (also see: Frankie's Welcome to the Pleasure Dome album). 

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

49/100 Video - "Raspberry Beret" – Prince (1985)

"Raspberry Beret" by Prince is easily of Prince's best singles. 

It's also one of his most creative videos. 

Wearing a blue suit with white fluffy clouds reminiscent of the intro from The Simpsons, Prince's outfits flashes and glows throughout this catchy slice of psychedelia. 

It's a goofy video with a gaggle of backup dancers clapping and grooving along with Prince and the Revolution

Prince seemed to always be surrounded by women, and this video is no exception. 

Some of them played in his band which was rare for the 80s. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

71/100 Video - "Would I Lie to You?" - Eurythmics (1985)

 

The Eurythmics had already produced a number of synth-pop records and hit singles before the release of their 4th album Be Yourself Tonight.

The album also showcased the amazing range of vocalist Annie Lennox, like in the angelic "There Must Be An Angel" and the soulful "It's Alright". 

The first single (and video) "Would I Lie to You?" was a veritable head-turner: the track features a large horn section and Motown backup singers. 

But most of all, the single illustrated the queen of new wave could also rock. Feisty, even. And if you watch the clip, you'll see she's a pretty good actress, too.



In the video, Lennox sings from the perspective of an angry girlfriend who walks out on her cheating lover. 

However her anger was not directed at Stewart, although they were a romantic couple before forming Eurythmics, but inspired by the breakup of her first marriage, to a Hare Krishna named Radha Raman.

At the beginning of the clip before the band hit the stage, I love how David offers Annie a piece of advice that was the title of their current album: "Be Yourself Tonight."

You may have most recently heard "Would I Lie to You?" on TV, as it's the theme song for Border Security: Canada's Front Line. 

Monday, January 25, 2021

72/100 Video - "Running Up That Hill" - Kate Bush (1985)


"Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush was one song I missed during my top 100 fave 1980 songs countdown from two years ago.

In fact, I should have switched "Cloudbusting" to the videos list, rather than including it in the songs. Okay, I'm done with the crying.


"Running Up That Hill", my introduction to Kate Bush in 1985, gave us a memorable and epic video in itself. 

Kate wanted the video to be more of a classical performance, compared to in her mind, the more trivial videos of the era.

She certainly delivered the goods.

The choreography of the video's interpretive dance is outstanding between Kate and dancer Michael Hervieu

The haunting synth and the hypnotic drum beat go along perfectly with the moving visuals. The beat also makes this a great running track.

There are a couple of bizarre scenes near the end when Kate and Michael's intimate dance is interrupted by the masked extras in the tunnel, but they do fit in with the lyrics. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

73/100 Video - "A Criminal Mind" - Gowan (1985)


The debut single Canada's Gowan certainly grabbed my attention when I first watched it on Video Hits

Set in the fictional School of Reform for Budding Arch Criminals, the video is part animated comic strip and part dark musical. 

While the song was a slow burner for me, the video was bold and mind-blowing. The imagery paces well with the piano bits and other instrumentation. 

For the next few years, the vivid imagination of Gowan never failed to take us on a cool trip, with amazing singles such as "Strange Animal;", "Cosmetics" and Moonlight Desires".

Saturday, January 23, 2021

74/100 Video - "Summer of '69" - Bryan Adams (1985)


Yeah, this one is overplayed a tad. But for us Gen-X-ers who grew up with it, when we replace '69 with '89, it now hits us a little deeper.

One of the ultimate nostalgia anthems, "Summer of '69" by Bryan Adams is a tune I've grown to appreciate more as time passes. 

I wasn't much into wistful reflection as a 16 year-old, preferring more adventurous tunes about ruling the world, or dancing into the fire than a generic tune about bygone summer days at a drive-in I'd never seen.


The song is just a straight ahead rock and roller peppered with clich├ęs about "summer's that last forever", back when we were "young and restless" during the "best days of our lives". 

But those are also the same reasons why we love it. 

Iconic tunes bring us all together at a party or on a road trip and a few are essential for any top 100 list.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

77/100 Video - "L'Affaire Dumoutier (Say To Me)" – The Box (1985)

I've always enjoyed the mini-movie video of a criminal investigation and trial in rural Quebec accompanying the descriptive narration-style vocals for "L' Affaire Dumoutier (Say To Me)" by The Box.

The scene forever burned in my brain: the man walking down a country road while balancing on the white line in an apparent state of amnesia while the lyric "Walking, walking... on the tightrope of insanity walking, walking on the verge of loosing mind".

The video doubled as an after-school lesson in Qu├ębecois French with dialogue scattered throughout the clip. I even learned a few new phrases including non-culpable (not guilty).

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

78/100 Video - "Out of Touch" - Hall & Oates (1985)

 

There are times when all you need is a little comfort food to make you smile. 

Hall & Oates always delivered the goods, one of those quality artists that appealed to almost everyone at some point along the way. 

"Out of Touch" is irresistible with soulful verses, a spectacular chorus and a timeless melody.



The cheesy video showcases the big, bam, boom 80s production, as established artists during the mid-80s had enormous budgets for their videos.

The video was directed by Jeff Stein, who also did the surreal videos for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Don't Come Around Here No More" and The Cars' "You Might Think." 

The imagery fit well with the song's meaning, best illustrated when we see the giant drum roll over Hall and Oates, then later on when we see them trapped inside it, a metaphor for the feeling of isolation expressed in the lyrics.

It's obvious the boys had a blast making this video. Some of the best "white guy" moves ever made appear from 1:27 to 1:30, as Darryl and John shuttle off in opposite directions. 

In fact, I'll make the argument that "Out of Touch" is John Oates's shining moment; his backup singing and dance moves 
come to the forefront, including a cart wheel!

Sunday, January 10, 2021

87/100 Video - "A View to a Kill" - Duran Duran (1985)

A band known for its hooks and looks, "A View to a Kill" by Duran Duran was just another grand video to add to its growing repertoire

Recorded as the theme for the James Bond film of the same name, the clip is stylish and slick, featuring the boys playing roles as spies and assassins while lurking around the Eiffel Tour.

I love the low budget 80's cheese of the clip, especially the "flying camera getting shot out of the sky" effect.

And at the end of the video, Le Bon does a parody of James Bond, smarmily introducing himself as "Bon. Simon Le Bon."

According to Wikipedia, Duran Duran was chosen to do the song after bassist John Taylor a lifelong Bond fan, approached producer Albert Broccoli at a party, and somewhat drunkenly asked "When are you going to get someone decent to do one of your theme songs?

"A View to a Kill" was the last song recorded by the original five-member lineup until the band reunited in 2001.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

1985 - "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - Tears For Fears


I have strong memories of songs sounding better in the spring of 1985. It may have something to do with turning 16 and learning to drive, cruising around the 'burbs in Dad's Escort hatchback, giddy to be charge of the radio dial and cassette deck. I abandoned coke-bottle glasses for contact lens and remember jamming to this after the fitting. 

Still, the songs that spring seemed 'sunnier'. Other anthems of optimism littering the charts were the "Walking on Sunshine" ear worm, the uplifting "Things Can Only Get Better", Madonna's best "Into the Groove", Duran's "View to A Kill" and Phil's "Sussudio". The opening "Welcome to your life, there's no turning back" gets your attention while the infectious arrangement and ambitious lyrics keep it on top as a great driving track.

"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears For Fears is one of Gen X's greatest anthems, this stunning song is a bit cynical yet also ambitious and optimistic.

One of those rare tunes with a near-universal appeal, it resonates with just about everyone. Is there a catchier song from the decade that also touches on the issues du jour like the environment, yuppies and the Cold War? 

From the profound and ambiguous lyrics that make you think, the vocals, and of course the incredible arrangement. The short but captivating vocal bridge is out of this world just before the sweeping synths and guitars kick in for a longer instrumental one.

The uplifting vibe of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" puts me in a great mood despite the lyrics being a bit on the cynical side. The song only reinforces the type of music I love best: melodic music and dark lyrics.

The lyrics challenge us to live life to the fullest (at the time it was during the Cold War of course) by taking full advantage of its pleasures and liberties before the true nature of the world, war and turmoil, come back again as per the history books.

One of the best driving songs ever made, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" always makes me want to put the top down and hit the gas. Even in the winter.

The classic video features Curt Smith driving an antique sports car around Southern California interspersed with shots of the full band performing the song in a studio.

When I hear this song today I still get that same feeling. So I'm destined to never, ever tire of this tune. That's some powerful nostalgia.

Other favourites from 1985: 

"Things Can Only Get Better" - Howard Jones

"The Perfect Kiss" - New Order

"Some Like It Hot" - The Powerstation

Saturday, March 30, 2019

#2. "Things Can Only Get Better" - Howard Jones (1985)

Just hearing the first few seconds of "Things Can Only Get Better" by Howard Jones releases the dopamine and always puts me in a great mood.

The song is one of my favourite cheerleading anthems, a reminder that adopting an optimistic attitude towards whatever the problem may be is half the battle.

It's also a reminder of how great music was in the 80s. 

And whoever said that synth has no soul has obviously never heard of this tune.

The rambunctious beat, the bursts of brass and an uplifting falsetto chorus are the obvious highlights. But it's the "Whoa, whoa whoa whoa oh oh-s" in the refrain that liberates us from all our worries.  

Fave lyrics: "It may take a little time a lonely path, an uphill climb / Success or failure will not alter it"

Friday, March 29, 2019

#3. "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" - Tears For Fears (1985)


"Everybody Wants to Rule the World" by Tears For Fears is one of Gen X's greatest anthems, this stunning song is a bit cynical yet also ambitious and optimistic.

One of those rare tunes with a near-universal appeal, it resonates with just about everyone. Is there a catchier song from the decade that also touches on the issues du jour like the environment, yuppies and the Cold War? 

From the profound and ambiguous lyrics that make you think, the vocals, and of course the incredible arrangement. The short but captivating vocal bridge is out of this world just before the sweeping synths and guitars kick in for a longer instrumental one.

The uplifting vibe of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" puts me in a great mood despite the lyrics being a bit on the cynical side. The song only reinforces the type of music I love best: melodic music and dark lyrics.

The lyrics challenge us to live life to the fullest (at the time it was during the Cold War of course) by taking full advantage of its pleasures and liberties before the true nature of the world, war and turmoil, come back again as per the history books.

Fave lyrics: all of it is so thought-provoking. But if I have to choose it's the universal truth of the opening line: "Welcome to your life / there's no turning back...".

One of the best driving songs ever made, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" always makes me want to put the top down and hit the gas. Even in the winter.

The classic video features Curt Smith driving an antique sports car around Southern California interspersed with shots of the full band performing the song in a studio.

My deep affection for the track has a lot to do with the timing of its release. In the spring of 1985 I'd just gotten my contacts and in the midst of a personal re-branding of sorts: I had the feeling I could do anything I wanted to in life. After getting my license days later, it was one of the first songs I cranked in Dad's Ford Escort hatchback. 

When I hear this song today i still get that same feeling. So I'm destined to never, ever tire of this tune. That's some powerful nostalgia.

Friday, March 15, 2019

#20. "The Perfect Kiss" - New Order (1985)

New Order are often best known for their unique blend of rock and electronica, and in my opinion, "The Perfect Kiss" is the best high-end example of their trademark sound. 

Lyrically, the song is apparently about the AIDS epidemic that swept through New York clubland in the early 80s. Musically, it was inspired by the club scene in New York which had heavily influenced them.

This 10-and-half minute epic and captivating video is a must-see! 

Directed by the late great Jonathan Demme (Silence of the Lambs), the video shows close-ups of the four band members playing various instruments. Although all four are bringing it, I think the excellent bass work is Peter Hook's finest moment.

The video also demonstrates how the group excelled at constructing a song piece by piece until it becomes a cohesive whole.

The diverse instrumentation and versatile musicianship is clearly on display:

- lead singer Bernard Sumner plays cow bells (along with usual lead guitar)
- bassist Peter Hook plays the drum machine
- the (usual) drummer Stephen Morris plays keys
- Gillian does her magic on the synths

The song has several intoxicating builds until a thrilling two-minute-long bass and synth finale wraps up one of the most exhilarating climaxes ever produced.

"The Perfect Kiss" also features samples of Amazonian tree frogs croaking and sheep bleating.

The music is complex yet the quartet look to be barely breaking a sweat. They were good.

Monday, March 11, 2019

#24. "Some Like It Hot" - The Powerstation (1985)

This song almost got me hooked on playing the drums. A few years ago I received drumsticks in my stocking and graduated to playing air drums for a few days. But since I sucked at the playing part, the dream quickly evaporated.  

"Some Like It Hot" was the first single of supergroup The Powerstation, composed of two parts Duran Duran (bassist John Taylor and guitarist Andy Taylor), vocalist Robert Palmer and Chic's drummer Tony Thompson. You may recall that Duran split into two side projects: Simon, Nick & Roger went off in the opposite direction with the uber-synth Arcadia.

Featured in the dream sequence in the European Vacation film, the song is a barnstormer from the start to finish. It all begins with that epic drum intro. The polish and energy are through the roof as all the main ingredients roll on and off. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

#30. "Into The Groove" - Madonna (1985)

Madonna became an 80s pop icon through sheer will and charisma. 

In 1985 she summoned us to join her on the dance floor with the irresistible "Into The Groove", demanding your attention in what may just be her greatest song, pure pop that's both fluffy and forceful. 

The stuttering synth and staccato bass drive the proceedings while Madonna's coming out party articulates the power of the groove' as 'music' is a 'revelation' and a 'sweet sensation'.

"Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free" reveals Madonna is in charge of her life.

"Tonight I wanna dance with someone else" is another powerful moment and a saucy invitation. 

"Into The Groove" will also be remembered as the pivot when the underground dance music scene moved to the mainstream. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

#31. "Head Over Heels" - Tears For Fears (1985)

Timeless may be an overused word to describe music, however that descriptor totally fits here. 

The third single from the deep Tears For Fear's Songs From the Big Chair album sometimes gets lost in the shuffle. Only peaking at #7 on the Peach chart in Sept. 1985 (see below), I seem to enjoy the warm & fuzzy "Head Over Heels" more every year.
Perhaps it's the full-on nostalgia of watching a video set in a library devoid of computers and mobile devices. Or maybe it's the memories of hearing this played on the radio in PEI with my parents in search of a cabin? (should have called ahead, right Dad?).

I dig the high production and passionate vocals, and the balance of the cerebral lyrics with a playful video. The arrangements are stellar, starring a divine synth riff around 01:30, well-placed harmonies, the "4-leaf clover" bridge and "la-la-la, funny-how-time-flies finale".

Pure Magic.