just what the world needs, another 80’s mix, but here it is. i’ve realized in the past three years or so that the vast majority of the music i listen to is from the 90’s or later. i suppose this isn’t too unusual; or maybe it is? in any case originally i’d intended to make a “pre-90’s” mix to collect all the pre-90’s songs that i do love, but as i got into it i was using more and more 80’s songs until eventually i decided to focus on that. (i’m going to have to start doing research on the 60’s and 70’s.)

i think in a lot of people’s minds the 80’s is very campy and cliche, but as i worked on the mix i realized there was a lot to enjoy and a lot that’s very worthwhile even today. (for no particular reason, “human” is a track that hits me right in the gut, much like “what becomes of the broken-hearted”. i find the synths (and vocals) on that track to be really warm despite the surface cheesiness. i know i’m a sap.) my first self-imposed limitation was to focus on the 80’s synth/drum pads sound, thus ruling out some of my favorite people who were active in the 80’s like the cure and the smiths. but w/in that limitation i found there were still many, many diff types of 80’s music.

there were a lot of tracks that were complete one-hit wonders. those inevitably get the emphasis on many an 80’s compilation, so i decided to restrain myself and only include a few. i found songs that i’d completely forgotten about, but i tried to focus on ones that i enjoy outside of that incredibly powerful nostalgia factor.

then there were people who worked in the 80’s idiom but had been doing and later did a lot of other things as well. for ex, the kate bush track sounds very 80’s but on that same album are many tracks that aren’t at all. and of course joni has worked in many, many idioms. also, the track from the musical chess totally sounds like an ABBA track to me, and they were around long before the 80’s. “wake me up before you go-go” would’ve been another good choice b/c it totally sounds like a motown track (even has similar chords to “heatwave”), but i decided not to include it.

i guess the rest of the tracks are single tracks that i’ve come across (usu. courtesy of andy haha) or random bands that i’ve gotten to know through chance. for the latter i mostly tried to pick slightly more obscure tracks (e.g. the devo and talking heads tracks, the latter of which is one of my fav talking heads tracks ever). one thing that really amazes me is when you hear a song that “everyone” knows, and you sit down and listen to it carefully and realize what an incredible piece of work it is. in particular i’m thinking of “like a prayer”. it’s so cliche, but the arrangement is simply amazing. one of the few uses of a gospel choir in pop music that actually -works-. and madonna has almost never sounded better as on that track.

okay that was prob. too much info. a few more comments: i included the track by carl’s bro, daniel, to show that the 80’s sound is still much alive today (erasure just put out an album this week). plus it’s a great track that i’ve been trying to put on a mix for a while. also, i have to say that tori’s failed 80’s album is one of my favorite albums of hers (and much better than her newest imo), although i suppose many would disagree. lastly, while i was thinking about one of my fav 80’s tracks, a-ha’s take on me, i watched the video for the first time. it’s really great (and the guy’s kind of cute); def. worth looking up.

now i’m dancing: 80’s mix

1 devo . freedom of choice (1980) . cold war
2 michael jackson . thriller (1982) . billie jean
3 kate bush . the dreaming (1982) . sat in your lap
4 prince . 1999 (1982) . lady cab driver [edited]
5 talking heads . speaking in tongues (1983) . this must be the place
(naive melody)
6 shannon . party monster (soundtrack) (1984) . give me tonight
7 deniece williams . footloose (soundtrack) (1984) . let’s hear it for the boy
8 arthur russell . calling out of context (c. 1985?) . make 1, 2
9 scritti politti . cupid & psyche 85 (1985) . perfect way
10 joni mitchell . dog eat dog (1985) . lucky girl
11 erasure . wonderland (1986) . heavenly action
12 elaine paige, ulvaeus and andersson/rice . chess (1986 london
concept cast) . the american and florence (nobody’s side) [edited]
13 human league . crash (1986) . human
14 y kant tori read . self-titled (1988) . on the boundary
15 billy ocean . tear down these walls (1988) . get outta my dreams, get into my car
16 carly simon . working girl (soundtrack) (1989) . let the river run
17 big audio dynamite . megatop phoenix (1989) . 80 ways around the girl
18 madonna . like a prayer (1989) . like a prayer
19 daniel tashian . young love (c. 2003) . lifestyle

close but rejected:
wham! . make it big (1984) . wake me up before you go-go
rick astley . whenever you need somebody (1987) . together forever
new order . technique (1989) . fine time
dirty dancing (soundtrack) . i’ve had the time of my life


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