I Really Do Love the 80s…III

Quote of the Day: “I’m always willing to learn/When you’ve got something to teach…” Depeche Mode, “Strangelove”

In honor of the Ipod Nano I’m treating myself to next week, I built myself a sprawling 80s mix encompassing some of the faves that I like to share with peeps—both folks who were there then but don’t remember or know a song and the new heads, like the 23-year-old I’m currently obsessed with who thought The Killers came up with the gorgeous riff and melody of “Mr. Brightside” all by their pretty lonesome (that is, until I forced him to sit thru Blondie’s gorgeous “Dreaming” to teach him a thing or two)…You’ll see that my 50-song mix is no “Greatest Hits of the 80s”. No. As much as I love singles, I’m a real “album-track” kid at heart, a dig-into-the-set type who likes to discover what everyone else is ignoring. And even though there are some “hits”, this isn’t even “My Favorite Hits of the 80s”. This mix is a just-over-3-hour blend of euro-pop, classic rock standards, post-disco dance stuff, college radio legends and a bit of everything else that first and foremost, just sound good together–the first rule of any mix. But they’re also a bunch of songs that touched me in the 80s or, at best (or worst?), provided a splendid little sonic landscape against which I did a lot of dancing and crying and studying (or not studying) and sulking and cruising and obsessing to. Hope it conjures some memories for you…or leads to something you never knew or heard or liked before…enjoy…

1. Androgynous — The Replacements
2. Wish You Were Here — Simple Minds
3. Big Sister’s Clothes — Elvis Costello & The Attractions
4. Rain — Terence Trent D’Arby
5. Carnival Of Sorts (Box Cars) — R.E.M.
6. Smalltown Boy — Bronski Beat
7. Robert De Niro’s Waiting — Bananarama
8. Bloc Bloc Bloc — OMD
9. Suburbia — Pet Shop Boys
10. Slit Skirts — Pete Townsend

11. Pieces Of Ice — Diana Ross
12. Stir It Up — Patti LaBelle
13. Synchronicity II — The Police
14. Pop Life — Prince And The Revolution
15. Johnny and Mary — Robert Palmer
16. Back On the Chain Gang — The Pretenders
17. Shelter — Lone Justice
18. The Bugle Sounds Again — Aztec Camera
19. Outstanding — The Gap Band
20. Island Of Lost Souls — Blondie

21. Tumble And Twirl — David Bowie
22. Fadeaway — The Bodeans
23. Boy — Book of Love
24. The Wanderer — Donna Summer
25. Sex Crime — Eurythmics
26. Duel — Propaganda
27. Don’t Cry — ASIA
28. Sister Christian — Night Ranger
29. Invincible — Pat Benatar
30. I Need You Tonight — Peter Wolf

31. Appetite — Prefab Sprout
32. Easy Lover – The Phils, Bailey & Collins
33. Borderline — Madonna
34. I Believe — R.E.M.
35. Hang Fire — The Rolling Stones
36. Baby Jane — Rod Stewart
37. Dead Giveaway — Shalamar
38. Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others — The Smiths
39. Last Time Forever — Squeeze
40. My Ever Changing Mood — The Style Council

41. Never In Your Sun — Stevie Wonder
42. These Early Days — Everything But The Girl
43. The Last Time — Eurythmics
44. Lonely In Your Nightmare — Duran Duran
45. The Promise — Arcadia
46. Every Word Means No — Let’s Active
47. Mrs. Green — The Three O’Clock
48. Romeo and Juliet — Dire Straits
49. Empty Garden (Hey, Hey Johnny) — Elton John
50. Forever Young (Special Extended Mix) — Alphaville

Liner Notes: Specific memory reasons some songs made the mix—Track 44 makes me think of my high school buddy Seiji, the biggest Beatle fan I knew up to that point. I can remember being with him in Mr. Silverman’s physical science lab talking about the fact that John Lennon had been shot…Track 40 reminds me of the first music review I ever wrote in college, of Stevie’s In Square Circle album, my sophomore year…Track 9 reminds me of the day my pops took me to buy my first SONY CD player, right before I went back to school for my junior year; the first 2 CDs I bought were Prince’s Parade and the Pet Shop Boys debut…Track 30 is the very first song that I searched the Internet for, because it wasn’t on CD, and feeling like the most modern boy in the world when I found it…Track 36 is the song that made me want to be a music journalist because it was the first song that I heard by an artist I liked that got bad reviews every where I looked, yet I loved it, and I figured that my opinion was as good as the rock-culture czars at Rolling Stone and Musician and Creem (same applies to Tracks 11, 20, and 21—all got bad reviews but I loved them—either I had the worst taste in the world–which I readily accept with a sorta twisted badge of honor—or those music critic guys from up on high just didn’t have the ears they were being paid to have). Come to realize it’s all an opinion game anyway, right? I loved Bob Christgau and Nelson George, just to name two of the heads who I read regularly, but that didn’t mean I had to agree with everything they wrote. And so (for better or worse) a music journalist was born. So that’s why I get to say that Tracks 1, 3, 10, 16, 19, 28, 31, 33, 46 and 48 are all, in their own individual ways, ten of the finest pop songs ever written.

Or that I’ve ever heard.

Or of the decade.

Or…ah fuck it, they’re just songs, right?…

Yup, they’re just songs, and they mean the world to a dude like me.


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