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.

Modern English

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.)


largo said...


Haven't heard Ink & Paper in years. I loved that song, and of course Itunes doesn't have it.

Anonymous said...

chez check out MY 80's hit (posted today)

mike m said...

hows this for an early 80's line up? at the philadelphia civic center, very early 80's ( I forget the year) I saw, The divinyls, the psychadelic furs and beleive it or not, grandmaster flash and the furious 5 on the same bill.
back then, there was a new wave radio station that did odd shows like this. another one of the thier shows (WXTU 92) featured this lineup, The Bush Tetras, split enz (later crowded house), Black Uhuru (brit reggae), some other philly reggae band and headlining the show, Duran Duran, with a maybe 20 year old Simon Lebon. it rocked

Chez said...

Those kinds of shows are always great. Back in the early 90s, I interviewed Public Enemy backstage at a concert that included them, the Sisters of Mercy, Warrior Soul and (holy shit) Gang of Four.

It was an unreal show.

Zarba said...

Mike M:

I saw that tour! The P-Furs and the Divinyls in Oxford, Mississippi in 1982 or 1983.

For some unknown reason, I wore a polo shirt with "PERVERT" scrawled across the chest in magic marker.

Richard Butler has tremendous stage presence, and his voice was in great, gritty form that night. The Divinyls were still in their Aussie punk phase, before "I Touch Myself" got huge, and they were very, very good.