Thursday, December 20, 2007
Listening Post (New Wave Edition Part 2: Hidden Gems)
It was pretty damn cool to hear that old Heaven 17 and Human League stuff yesterday, so I'm going to keep the 80s vibe going for another couple of days.*
There were plenty of one-hit-wonders from that era that honestly never deserved to be (e.g., Frankie Goes to Hollywood is of course remembered for Relax, but their second album, Liverpool, was much better than anyone gave it credit for). If you spent a lot of time listening to what was considered Alternative back then, you probably knew that what was being played on the radio and on MTV rarely represented a band's best work.
So here now, two songs from separate bands who each had one radio-friendly smash that defined them -- but shouldn't have.
Everybody remembers I Melt with You; it was possibly the most overplayed and overrated anthem of its generation. But Modern English cranked out several other equally catchy and far better songs during their career. This is one of my favorites: Ink and Paper.
Like most people, I'll be happy if I never hear I Touch Myself again. This is a far cry from my feelings -- specifically the ones in my nether regions -- when I first heard it. The reason it made me turn to Jello back in 1991 had nothing to do with the fact that a gorgeous woman was singing about touching herself; it had everything to do with the fact that Chrissy Amphlett was singing about touching herself. In the years leading up to the release of that song, I'd spent a substantial portion of my teenage years releasing the product of my lust for Chrissy into various sweat socks. She was -- and looking back on that period still is in my mind -- one of the hottest women ever to grab a mic and sing rock n' roll (1988's Temperamental remains among my all-time favorite albums).
This song is proof of her hotness and of the Divinyls' awesomeness.
From 1983, it's Boys in Town.
(*Deal with it.)