Monday, August 24, 2020

Five 80s Albums I Can't Believe I Bought!

Swing Out Sister - It's Better To Travel 

Come on, who didn't think "Breakout" was a catchy little jam and that their CD collection could stand a little class & sophistication? Who knows, you might have someone classy & sophisticated over for Hot Pockets and Bartles & Jaymes!

At the time, there was a mad rush by every label in the UK to turn the "New wave '80s" into The "Hey, let's re-hash all those Motown songs you're sick of, but with white folks and drum machines" Decade and this camper was having none of it. Forced to choose between Simply Red and not Simply Red, we made the right choice and stick by it.


Rolling Stones - Sucking In The '70s

I grew up with my old man's Stones records, but, oddly enough, did not follow the Stones on their country-tinged '70s adventures, but, a few months before my parents got me Tattoo You for Christmas, I grabbed this compilation during my high school lunch break and then had t wait the rest of the day to get it home and listen to it.

Maybe in those three hours of watching the clock instead of my teachers, my expectations became too great because what I heard when I finally got off that damn school bus was a supreme disappointment.

Thing is, I can't put my finger on exactly why. The track listing is a mix of semi-hits and deep cuts, some performed live, but perhaps it is the slap-dash nature of the tracks assembled here and the seemingly random mix of studio and live cuts that has absolutely no continuity whatsoever.

Is it really possible to wreck a teenage boy's life via "poor sequencing"? Perhaps PTSD should also stand for "Poor Track Sequencing Disorder" and be taken more seriously.


The Roadie Soundtrack

Ugh, I can still feel the Massive Letdown when this long-awaited movie and soundtrack finally hit the streets, but if you blinked at the wrong time, you might have missed it because neither the film nor the soundtrack were around for long.

For months and months and months, every rock mag on the planet had been hyping the project because Cheap Trick had "written a song" for the movie with Beatles producer George Martin, Blondie contributed a live version of "Ring of Fire" to both film and soundtrack, and Alice Cooper makes a cameo at the end! What, that's not enough for you?

Aside from Cheap Trick and Blondie's contributions, the soundtrack was so absolutely forgettable that I almost forgot about the Teddy Pendergrass, Jerry Lee Lewis and Yvonne Elliman tracks! Zzz. 

As for the film itself, just think: A major movie studio pinned their financial hopes and dreams for their entire third quarter on, uh...Meatloaf, what could possibly go wrong!

What chaps my hide is that I bought the entire TWO ALBUM SET just to get ONE Cheap Trick song and then Epic Records wound up GIVING THE SONG AWAY with copies of the band's specially-priced EP Found All The Parts!

Have I seen the film, you ask? Not on your life, buddy.

Platinum Blonde - Alien Shores

Now, it might debatable as to whether Canada's answer to both The Police and Duran Duran was ever cool in the first place, but this kid thought the band's debut album was a lo-fi new wave masterpiece, but when I saw the Maybelline make-over and clown outfits the band were sporting on the cover of their eagerly anticipated follow-up, my heart sank.

But wait, isn't that Kenny Maclean from the Deserters?! Now I know why there haven't been any new Deserters albums! Well, then maybe this album won't be as bad as it looks like it might be.

Wrong!

If you ever want to hear every shitty '80s production bell & whistle compiled all in one place for easy mocking, this is the album. Sure, I have told myself (and members of Platinum Blonde) that it wasn't so bad, but it was. Even the album's best song would have been the one you skipped over had it been included on their debut.

Thing is, as bad as it was, Alien Shores is Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band compared to the album they released next, Contact, which this writer avoided until I could pick it up for a couple bucks.

I still love the band, though, and am glad that they reunited and have been tearing up the nostalgia circuit in Canada lo the past decade or so.


The Romantics - Rhythm Romance

Anytime a key member leaves a popular band, not only are the fans eager to hear the band's next album to see if they somehow managed to find an adequate replacement and actually make a noteworthy record, but I always imagine that the member who left is also eager to hear what they sound like without them - kind of like seeing who an old flame is going out with now.

In the case of the Romantics, I just imagine Marinos getting an advance copy of the band's new album and speeding down the highway in a jet black Mustang laughing his ass off. Sadly, Marinos' own output left much to be desired, but at least it had some fucking energy.

Rhythm Romance, on the other hand, is just the limpest wet noodle of a rock album, which is weird because the only change made to the formula between In Heat (two massive Top 40 hits, including "Talking In Your Sleep") and Rhythm Romance was to piss off the songwriting/singing drummer so much that he left. 

Also, if your little one refuses to go sleep, just play them the Romantics' cover of "Poison Ivy" and you'll be checking for a pulse before the song is done.

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