Sounds Like the 80s
College Rock, Alternative Music, and More

Thursday, December 1, 2016

"Radio Free Europe" by R.E.M.
I can't say I jumped on the R.E.M. bandwagon early on, but I was least aware of the band near the beginning of its career. During high school I subscribed to the late great Trouser Press magazine and one issue included a flexi-disc of "Wolves, Lower" from R.E.M.'s 1982 Chronic Town E.P. I liked the song, but didn't give the band much thought beyond that. While I must have heard the debut album at some point during the following year, it didn't stick. Then, as the spring semester was ending in 1985, I slipped into my college radio station and recorded the Murmur and Reckoning LPs on a cheap Radio Shack Concertape cassette. I listened to that cassette dozens of times over the summer and was all-in on R.E.M. from that point on, at least through the early 1990s. (For years this was the personal anecdote I'd use to refute the "home taping is killing the music industry" claim, as that dubbed cassette resulted in my spending hundreds of dollars on R.E.M. LPs, CDs, and concert tickets.)

The band's debut single, as re-made for the Murmur album in 1983:


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Saturday, September 3, 2016

"Just Like Heaven" by the Cure
I never saw the Cure live, but have very fond memories of watching a local band (The Angry Neighbors) perform an excellent cover of this Cure track at a Springfield, IL bar in either 1989 or 1990. At the time, I was recording a demo tape for them in my basement studio and they also included a cover of my band the Beyond's song "Like This" in their set. As far as I know, that remains the sole cover version of a song I had a hand in writing!


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Friday, September 2, 2016

"Ashes to Ashes" by David Bowie
A belated R.I.P. to Mr. David Jones:


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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

"Oblivious" by Aztec Camera
This might have been my favorite album released in 1983:


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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Chamber of Hellos" by Wire Train
You really can't wrong with a song that repeats "Hello, Hello, Hello, Hello..."


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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Space Age Love Song" by A Flock of Seagulls
The hair might have tarnished the band's legacy, but A Flock of Seagulls had a few great songs. Including this one:


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Saturday, January 3, 2015

"What Difference Does It Make?" by the Smiths
How did I take so long before posting something by the Smiths?


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Friday, January 2, 2015

"Catch My Fall" by Billy Idol
I heard this song on satellite radio in a rental car a few weeks ago -- it sounded better than I remembered! However, having grown up in a non-MTV household, I didn't see the video until 2014:


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Monday, September 8, 2014

"New Year's Day" by U2
I can't help thinking there's a parallel universe where U2 broke up in 1983 and the band is best known today for the airplay this song receives every January 1st:


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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

"Drive Somewhere" by the Vulgar Boatmen
After moving to Chicago in 1990, I'd swear I heard this song every day on WXRT, hence my assumption that it came out that year. But the song (and album) was actually released in 1989, so it makes the cut for this blog!


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Saturday, August 30, 2014

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers
This song was on a mix CD we took on a recent vacation, so I heard it at least 20 times over a two-week period. Two thoughts: 1. For a track from 1988,* the production has aged VERY well. 2. If you overdubbed shouts of "Hey!" and "Ho!" throughout the song, it'd sound downright modern.



*While released in 1988, this song is probably considered by most listeners to be a 90s song, as it gained a wider audience when it was used in the 1993 film Benny & Joon.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

"Going Down to Liverpool" by Katrina and the Waves
The Katrina and the Waves version of this Kimberley Rew-penned song wipes the floor with the Bangles' cover version:


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Thursday, August 28, 2014

"The Unguarded Moment" by the Church
While I was aware of the Church before the band's 1988 breakthrough hit "Under the Milky Way," I didn't discover this gem (from their 1981 debut album) until a few years ago:


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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"I Melt with You" by Modern English
As a parent, I don't want to turn into this guy, but I'm thrilled that my daughter loves this song:


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Gloria" by U2
U2's 1981 sophomore album is generally considered inferior to the band's 1980 debut release. But it was the first one I owned and -- probably because of the purchase order -- remains my favorite:


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Monday, August 25, 2014

"Don't Change" by INXS
Still my all-time favorite INXS song:


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Sunday, August 24, 2014

"Years Later" by Cactus World News
A 1986 single from an Irish band that should have been much, much bigger:


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Looking for some 1980s music? Search by year:

1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989

Or search by artist:

Aztec Camera, David Bowie, Cactus World News, The Church, The Cure, A Flock of Seagulls, Billy Idol, INXS, Katrina and the Waves, Modern English, The Proclaimers, R.E.M., The Smiths, U2, The Vulgar Boatmen, Wire Train

Listen to every song posted on this blog in a Spotify playlist.

Links
Electronic 80s
Pitchfork's Top 100 Albums of the 80s
Slicing Up Eyeballs

Recent Posts
"Radio Free Europe" by R.E.M.
"Just Like Heaven" by the Cure
"Ashes to Ashes" by David Bowie
"Oblivious" by Aztec Camera
"Chamber of Hellos" by Wire Train
"Space Age Love Song" by A Flock of Seagulls
"What Difference Does It Make?" by the Smiths
"Catch My Fall" by Billy Idol
"New Year's Day" by U2
"Drive Somewhere" by the Vulgar Boatmen


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