Friday, July 28, 2006

Warm sun and a place to lay

Wherein not that I expected anything less

Prodding XWL to discuss why he thinks Prince's Parade is the best album of the 1980s, he shocks and surprises. With a list of amazing breadth and reasoning, XWL provides the top 14 albums of the 1980s.

I won't argue with his list, even though two of my favorites didn't make his cut--Let it Be, Replacements and More Fun In The New World, X--instead let me point out a few things.
  1. I love that he mentions Wendy and Lisa. A valuable part of Prince's Revolution, their solo album is a mostly forgotten gem. Frankly, I lost track of them after their debut album, which is a shame. Turns out, Wendy and Lisa have kept busy. That site is a big ball of satanic Flash, but I'll let it slide.
  2. He lists Altered Images and Aztec Camera. I have two EP imports for Aztec Camera, no albums. But one is Jump, one of the great songs of the 1980s. How many albums did Altered Images produce? I have two and XWL somehow lists one I don't have. That's fookin' weird. Altered Images and Bow Wow Wow is what I was listening to when my best friend gave me a Boston album as a birthday present. I still have that Boston album and it's never been unwrapped. Always worth mentioning is that Clare Grogan also appeared in the movie Gregory's Girl.
  3. Oh, the Violent Femmes. Once overheard someone saying they'd outgrown the Femmes. How the hell does that happen? To me, they still sound as fresh as the day I heard them. Actually happened into a Hallowed Grounds concert without really knowing who they were (they were playing 1st Ave and I was at a party at 7th St. Entry, they connected and we could walk into the main room). Blew me away. A few years later, I got to ride a Mississippi paddle boat while they did an acoustic concert from Minneapolis to St. Paul and back. That was fun.
  4. Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul. Really thought this was the direction hip-hop was going and I was excited. Turns out I suffered from premature speculation as the West coast gangsta rap ruined everything. For a comparison and contrast of how far we've fallen since the late 80s and early 90s, I recommend getting the Slick CD, The Art of Story Telling [iTunes]. Slick Rick spins circles around acclaimed rappers such as Outkast, Nas, and Snoop Dogg. Recommending individual tracks, get Memories and the Doug E. Fresh bonus tracks.
  5. Then there's the song-by-song breakdown proving why Prince's Parade is the greatest album of the eighties. And the argument is compelling. It's one of Prince's best albums, so by default it has to be considered

A brilliant, well considered list. If I were to consider making my own list, it would probably differ a bit. Aside from the two mentioned earlier, Dexy's Midnight Runners' Don't Stand Me Down would have to make the cut. I'd like to consider a spot for the Jazz Butcher. Then there's the compilations: Sun City: Artists United Against Apartheid, Red Hot + Blue: A Tribute to Cole Porter, and Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films. Get those last three and you'll have a good start on what was good about the 1980s.


Blogger XWL said...

Never having seen X in concert is one of the shames of my life. Living and growing up in Los Angeles (I mean, Loooos Angeeeeeleeeeeees like Exene would say), I always assumed I'd see them the next time they play somewhere, and that dragged on for a decade or two. Now I think they're pretty much broken up for good, or way too old to rock as hard as they used to.

and you should change songs to albums in your link to my list.

But anyway, thanks for the prodding, it lead to something interesting, I suppose.

All lists are intensely personal, and open for interpretation, and subject to the vagaries of geography, age and experience.

Mainly I listened to funk, 30s jazz (especially Fats Waller), English New Wave in all its variations, and local stuff (which in the 80s was a lot of the 'paisley underground' bands), back in those formative junior high / high school years during the 80s.

I'm probably very lucky in that respect, had I been born female and in New Jersey and five years later, my formative musical icons would have been Paula Abdul, Tiffany, and New Kids on the Block (*shudders*)

Also, my understanding of Wendy & Lisa being the core of the Revolution and why Prince sounded so differently after they left might have been 'borrowed' from a review of their third album Eroica (a beautiful album by the way). Saw them in concert at the HOB on Sunset about a month or two after Wendy's (and of course her twin sister Susannah, who also played cello for the Revolution, and played with Wendy & Lisa on tour) brother, James, died from an OD while he was working as a backing musician (keyboards I think) for Smashing Pumpkins. Was a wonderful concert, Wendy seemed still a bit raw and emotional, and she just channeled that into her music, beautiful night that was.

7/29/2006 12:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

X is currently touring and Billy Zoom is playing with them:

7/29/2006 09:08:00 AM  

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