So the spring has brought lots of showers which has me mowing more than I would even like. Good news, more Rock Mower posts! (NOTE: Pretty much all my exclamation points are sarcastic.) Staying in the 80’s theme I hit my iPod playlist and brought up these gems. I have split my 80’s alternative into American and non-American as I don’t feel they blend that well. That was my problem about college radio in the 80’s. The Smithereens and Smiths didn’t seem right to my ears following each other. Good tunes here, but I will admit they don’t help you mow a yard as AC/DC or Billy Squier.
As I’ve noted before, I just link the youtube videos for the more obscure. If you don’t know the song, I recommend you seek it out, if no youtube version is here.
How Soon is Now? – The Smiths
I know this is blasphemy to some, but I’m not a big Smiths fan. This song though might be my favorite of any tune from the 80’s.
Love My Way- Psychedelic Furs
There is a half-dozen Furs song I could use here. I love the use of xylophone’s tinkling to add a unique percussive bonus to it.
The Whole of the Moon- Waterboys
Why John Hughes never made this the ending theme from one of his movies I will never know.
Lips Like Sugar- Echo and the Bunnymen
I only like 3 songs by this band, but this is one of my favs of the 80’s.
I Melt with You- Modern English
There was no song that made women at my University in the late 80’s run to the dance floor faster. I bet this guy got laid by cool chicks from just this song at the same clip that Bret Micheals did playing Every Rose Has it’s Thorn. Where’s this guy’s VH-1 dating show?
Don’t Change- INXS
This was the 2nd place song that girls I went to college with would fall apart over after they had a few Bartles and Jaymes wine coolers. Oh did that sentence make me feel old. Hard to believe this was from 1982. U-2 had to be influenced by it.
In Between Days- The Cure
This song to me bridges the gap between early Cure and later Cure, as it had more of rock/pop feel.
Strangelove- Depeche Mode
This song does the same as the above did for Depeche Mode.
True Faith- New Order
They were the best dance band of the 80’s.
Forever Live and Die- OMD
Dreamy dance pop.
Did you know this bands lead singer helped Bob Geldof get the whole Band Aid thing started? Atmospheric, but still pretty.
Mad World- Tears for Fears
I liked their more poppy records, but this was the great track from their debut record.
I Don’t Remember- Peter Gabriel
While he became a star off of the record So, his early solo stuff was pretty amazing and very groundbreaking. Hard to imagine Phil Collins replaced him in a band. Very talking heads-esque.
Cuts You Up- Peter Murphy
I was never goth enough to really get into Bauhaus, but on this solo track Murphy writes the song Bowie probably wished most he would have during the 80’s.
Infected- The The
Very cool tune that mixed dance rock beats with a Johnny Marr’s like guitar sound.
Kundalini Express- Love and Rockets
Before they went for more of a poppy sound, Love and Rockets had more of a psychedelic edge like on this one.
Love Kills- Joe Strummer
My fav post-Clash song, which was used on the Sid and Nancy soundtrack.
Mandinka- Sinead O’Connor
Sinead is kind of forgotten now, but I think she was crazy influential for so many female singers that followed her from Alanis to PJ Harvey and many in-between. Might be Sinead’s most rocking song. Bonus: Lip Sync video from Grammys with Billy Crystal intro-ing.
She Sells Sanctuary- The Cult
I can remember the first time I heard this. It was the first time I could recall new wave dance meet classic hard rock.
Stand of Fall- The Fixx
When this came out, remember U-2 was not a world-wide sensation yet. You could have argued to me that the Fixx would be just as big. Mixed Bowie-influences with rock chops.
Two Hearts Beat as One- U-2
If this song would have been released and recorded during their Joshua Tree days I think it would’ve been a top 10 hit. Passionate and romantic with a punk spirit.
Strength- The Alarm
Sure it was very U-2ish, but I hear the desperate plea of Eric Burdon in it, as well. Still works today.
Up on the Catwalk- Simple Minds
Remember the 6 months when these guys might have been the biggest selling rock band in the world? Well this was a more nervy tune before they hit their sales peak.
Whisper to a Scream- Icicle Works
A great one-hit wonder from the early MTV generation.
The Dead Heart- Midnight Oil
Another band that seems forgotten now, but was pretty great for a few records. Lead singer Peter Garrett was a great live frontman, as I recall when I saw them in concert.