Thursday, April 3, 2008

12" Delights

Before I write even a word about the music, can I just say that this girl on the record looks like Demi Moore in the 80's. I mean really that photo on the back is like a dead ringer.

Okay, I got that out of my system.

If you are any sort of fan of the 80's this record is kind of like a wet dream. This is a great collection of 80's dance tunage. Bowie makes two appearances here. Two! Count 'em. Two. Sure if you are a fan of the 80's you probably have a lot of these songs, but you may not have a few of these remixes.

I think I'll take a moment now to comment on remixes in general and 80's remixes. Remixes are a usually hit or miss. A lot of times you have some producer or DJ trying to improv on a song that an artist carefully crafted into q 3 or 4 minute pop tune. In my opinion they usually fail as songs to listen outside of a club. When you are in a club and you want to just dance the night away it is great to here some 8 or 9 minute version of some song you love, but on the ole i-pod, not so much. I'm impatient and just want to get through the song.

80's remixes are an interesting breed. I can't say this for sure, but I think the idea of the remix really was invented or at least became really popular in the 80's. The funny about the remixes though is that because they didn't have all the fancy technology that we have today the remixes were fairly simple and in some respects repetitive. A lot of times lyrics or musical phrases just get repeated at what sometimes seems like random points. Back in the day I'm sure this seemed like a break through for dance music. Today, not so much. Today I think it has a sort of kitschy nostalgic quality to it. At times you are listening asking yourself, what were they thinking. The Naked Eyes Remix here isn't a total failure in this respect, but it does have it's moments of musical weirdness. The Kajagoogoo song at the end definitely falls into the category of "why?" You'd have to be in a club, hit up on some chemicals to want this one extended to six and a half minutes, but maybe you're into that.

Whew that sucked up a lot of pages space and I haven't even really talked about the music. Here's how it breaks down for me. The best track is "Rio" by Duran Duran. Yes, above Bowie and yes it isn't exactly news to anyone that the track is great. I'd say this is in the top 3 or 4 all time Duran Duran cuts.

The one track everyone should listen to is "The Peanut Vendor". Why? Because it doesn't sound like anything else on the record and it is infectious and extremely upbeat. The song has a latin vibe to it, but then this horn section kicks in that seems more ska/islandy that Latin. In the end steel drums kick in. The song sort of reminds me of an updated "Herb Alpert" in a good way. There is a driving rhythm track that could get monotonous, but the layers over it are always changing and keeping things interesting. The song sort of reminds me of an oil painting slowly evolving and changing. For me it is a stand out as far as a quirky find.

The next highlight is the Thomas Dolby track. If all you know of Thomas Dolby is "She Blinded Me With Science" then you should listen to "Europe And The Pirates". It is nothing like "She Blinded Me With Science", which is basically a weird novelty song. "Pirates" is an actual honest to goodness legitimate good song. It sounds like it should have been in a John Hughes film.

The last really good track is "Muck It Out". It starts out with a great "New Order" type drum machine thing going on. In fact there is a lot of New Order in this track, but with a little Erasure thrown in to the mix. If you like either of those groups I think you'll like this song.

And the last thing I have to say about this record is that "Hang On Now" isn't a very good song, but it does start off with a very Kool And The Gang "Celebration" guitar riff. Listen and see if you agree. It kind of makes me laugh.

So get out your favorite 80's cloths or pieces of nostalgia and put this record on. Most of the songs are "club" length and so make sure you have good dancing shoes on.


01 Let's Dance - David Bowie
02 Always Something There To Remind Me (Remixed Version) - Naked Eyes
03 Rio - Duran Duran
04 Forever And A Day - Classix Nouveaux
05 Europa and The Pirates - Thomas Dolby
06 Hang On Now - Kajagoogoo
07 Muck It Out - Farmer's Boy
08 China Girl - David Bowie
09 The Peanut Vendor - Arriba
10 Ooh To Be Ah (Construction Mix) - Kajagoogoo

Here's the whole thing 12" Delights.


Matracas said...

I am a big 80's fan (as you know) and these last few years I have "discovered" a lot of 80's music which I missed during that decade. These last few years I have also been searching and obtaining as many 12" songs as possible. I understand your point of view about not wanting songs running so long on your ipod but; for me, it is refreshing to listen to a different version of a song you know by heart and have heard a zillion times before. Also, for me, there are 2 kinds of 12"; the ones labeled "Extended" and the others are "Remix", The extended versions are basically the same song just with longer instrumental bridges or chorus repeating more than usual whereas a remix could have a different beat, different instruments, sound effects or even slighly altered lyrics not found on the original tune.

Thanks for sharing.

Spencer said...

Totally agree with you about the "remix" vs "Extended" thing. You do have a better chance of finding something new and fun with a remix over and extended mix.

By the way this past week I picked up a bunch of 80's new wave records at a thrift store. I plan on digitizing them and eventually getting them on the blog as well. The one I was really excited about was Josie Cotten's 12" single of Johnny Are You Queer? A lot of the records I found are from the Valley Girl soundtrack. It must have been someone's collection who also loved that movie.

Anyways, thanks for reading. I see that you check in just about every day. I appreciate the support, even if it only to feed my ego.