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1,001 songs to listen to before you die...


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631.      

‘State of Shock’, The Jacksons featuring Mick Jagger (1984)

Influenced by: State of Shock • Ted Nugent (1979)   

Influence on: Hooked on Polkas • “Weird Al” Yankovic (1985)   

Covered by: DJ Flash & King MC (1984)   

Other key tracks: Torture (1984) • Body (1984) • One More Chance (1984)

There are many things about this I didn’t know. I wasn’t aware that Michael Jackson still recorded with his brothers after his breakout as a solo artist, nor did I realise that he had ever done a song with Mick Jagger. As mentioned in the book, their vocals largely complement each other pretty well, though I don’t think much of the track as a whole. It seems to be here for the novelty as much as anything, although I guess it is another example of rock encroaching on more urban styles of music.

632.      

‘Private Dancer’, Tina Turner (1984)

Continuing the theme of things I didn’t know, this was a song that was originally written by Mark Knopfler and destined for Dire Straits. However, the lyrics didn’t fit a male vocalist and it ended up passed onto Turner instead. With Jeff Beck taking over from Knopfler on lead guitar but the rest of the band involved, Turner produced a song that thrust her – as a solo artist at least – into stardom. This is a pretty good song and I’ve always liked how Turner sound like she is throwing her vocals out into the world; it doesn’t sound like it comes naturally in the same way as some of the women on the list so far, yet works great for a song like this. If anything, it could all be a little bit punchier in places, but I can see the allure all in all.

633.      

‘Freedom’, Wham (1984)

The first of what I assume will be a couple of songs from either Wham or George Michael, this came from their second album and launched them internationally. This was chosen over ‘Wake Me Up…’ and ‘Careless Whisper’, which I find interesting, though the book explains it as the song that best encapsulated what Wham offered musically. Upbeat pop clashing with earnest vocals and lyrics from Michael was the tone set by the band and while this isn’t my favourite song by them, it isn’t hard to see the appeal of this tune and the band as a whole. This is earworm pop.

634.      

‘I Want You Back’, Hoodoo Gurus (1984)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but I was pleasantly surprised. Sounding like a song that could have easily been released in the 90s or 00s, this power pop/garage rock (whatever label you want to apply) came out of the gates fast and maintained a happy mixture of noise and catchiness that it maintained all the way through. This is really good in my opinion – that’s all there is.

635.      

‘Sally Maclennane’, The Pogues (1985)

I love The Pogues. I’m going to attribute that to my Irish heritage, though that would be doing their raucous brand of Irish folk-rock-punk (again, whatever you want to label it) a complete disservice. When they land, the Pogues create some of the best, feel good – even when generally lyrically less than happy – music I’ve ever come across. Grab a drink, grab a friend, and singalong. This is another example of their being better songs by the band in my own opinion, but ‘Sally Mclennane’ is a stormer from start to finish.

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1984

1984 is considered the greatest year in pop music history, which I guess is why the book chose so many songs from it. I can understand why critics feel the way they do. There were some great albums released in '84, many of which aren't represented on the list like Minutemen and Husker Du. However, for me, '84 represents a shift away from the early 80s music I enjoy (post punk, funk, boogie), so I'm not as high on it as the critics. 

I thought the book missed a trick by not including a Cyndi Lauper song. You'd think Madonna would have made an appearance by now as well. 

Aside from When Doves Cry, I would have also included this in the book:

As usual, I'll dump the stuff I like here:

Spoiler

One of New Zealand's finest pop bands:

Warning: this is noisy

I never realized how high I am on David Sylvian, but apparently I am:

 

And one for the wrestling fans:

 

Edited by ohtani's jacket
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Hip Hop was still firmly tied to the electro scene in '84.

There was some decent stuff, though. 

1984 dance music is disappointing, however. Things got a bit too electric without everyone trying to sound like a computer. 

Spoiler

NSFW video

 

Best song you didn't know Michael Jackson sang on?

 

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636.      

‘Voices Carry’, ‘Til Tuesday (1985)

Influenced by: Only the Lonely • The Motels (1982)   

Influence on: I Touch Myself • Divinyls (1991)   

Covered by: Gang Green (1986) • Morella’s Forest (1995) • Vitamin C (2005) • Toxic Audio (2005) • Tiffany (2007) • MGMT (2009)

I’m somewhat conflicted by this. As I was listening and reading the book at the same time, I didn’t care too much for what I was hearing until the entry spoke to how the music tonally fit the narrative of the lyrics. I guess that was pretty cool, as was the idea that this was originally written about a lesbian relationship. However, it doesn’t really do too much for me in the grand scheme of things. Aimee Mann does have a pretty good voice, yet I don’t care really about the rest. If it takes the book explaining something for me to show any interest, that isn’t a great indicator of my enjoyment. I’ve heard worse, but I’ve heard a lot better.

637.      

‘The Sun Always Shines On T.V.’, A-ha (1985)

Influenced by: It’s My Life • Talk Talk (1984)   

Influence on: Beautiful Day • U2 (2000)   

Covered by: Hubi Meisel (2002) • Delays (2006) • Atrocity (2008) • And One (2009) • Nadja (2009)   

Other key tracks: Hunting High and Low (1985) • Take on Me (1985) • Train of Thought (1985)

The argument here will be that they probably should have gone with ‘Take on Me’ in this spot, but this is arguably a better song. It was also a more successful song, at least here in the UK as it hit Number One (I can only assume the other song didn’t). There is a punch amidst the melancholy pop that I like – perhaps I’ve just heard ‘Take on Me’ much too much over the past three decades, so appreciate the opportunity to enjoy a different song by the band. I’ve not heard loads by them, but I have always thought Morten Harket’s voice is sleek and works well to anchor the band.

638.      

‘Get Into The Groove’, Madonna (1985)

Influenced by: Ain’t No Big Deal • Barracuda (1983)   

Influence on: Don’t Wanna Lose This Groove • Dannii Minogue (2003)   

Covered by: Ciccone Youth (1986) • Mina (1988) • Dale Bozzio (2000) • Superbus (2002) • Missing Persons (2005) • The Medic Droid (2008)

I think Madonna crosses into that group of musicians where it is hard to argue that she hasn’t had a few absolute tunes in her time. To me, ‘Into The Groove’ doesn’t hit the highs of some of her other music, though it is a good chunk of disco-y pop that very much showcases what she had to offer in the mid-80s. I don’t have much more to offer really – you either like it or you are pretty much ambivalent to it when it comes to Madonna in my experience.

639.      

‘Running Up That Hill’, Kate Bush (1985)

Influenced by: No Self Control • Peter Gabriel (1980)   

Influence on: Speed of Sound • Coldplay (2005)   

Covered by: Blue Pearl (1990) • Elastic Band (1994) • Distance (1998) • Faith & The Muse (2001) • Placebo (2003) • Within Temptation (2003) • Chromatics (2007) • Little Boots (2009)

To me, this song all is about the chorus as much as anything else. The meandering about around it works less for me, yet when Bush launches into those few lines, it really begins to take off. Claims in the NME from the time that this was the best single by a British, non-black artist sounds like a bit of stretch to me, but I think if you are really into Kate Bush – something I’ll admit I am not – this could very well be a song you place on that type of pedestal.

640.      

‘West End Girls’, Pet Shop Boys (1985)

Influenced by: The Message • Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five (1982)   

Influence on: Jump • Madonna (2005)   

Covered by: My Morning Jacket (2005) • The Hotrats (2009)   Other key track: Rent (1987)

I’ve always enjoyed what little I’ve heard from the Pet Shop Boys and this is no outlier to that. It is a very good song that has a lot going on, between the talk-rapping, the synth and percussion driving things along, and Marc Almond’s earnest chorus delivery. Apparently, ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order was eventually the song that encapsulated the sound Neil Tennant wanted for the Pet Shop Boys, and you can hear that within ‘West End Girls’ in places. This won an Ivor Novello award for the song of the decade from 1985-1994, so it definitely was lauded by some and the synth/percussion didn’t particularly date and/or age the sound either.

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I've never head Voices Carry or The Sun Always Shines on TV before. I like the chorus in Voices Carry, and I thought the a-ha song was one of the better examples of the book opting for a lesser known song from an artist. It's a good song, but Take On Me is one of the definitive tunes of the 80s in my books. I've never listened to a-ha's debut record before. Now seems like a good time. 

Into the Groove is a fun song. 

I guess Kate Bush has two definitive entries into the pop cannon -- Wuthering Heights and Running Up that Hill. Both are great songs, but I prefer Wuthering Heights personally. That Placebo cover did a lot to entrance a new generation to the song, IIRC. The verses are great, IMO. They build a tremendous amount of tension heading into the chorus. 

A lot of people think West End Girls is some kind of pop masterpiece and one of the best songs of the 80s. I don't really hear it. I've always been partial to Opportunities myself. Still, 1985. What a great time to be alive. 

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641.      

‘She Sells Sanctuary’, The Cult (1985)

Influenced by: Dazed and Confused • Led Zeppelin (1969)   

Influence on: Available • The National (2003)   

Covered by: Britt Black (2005) • Keane (2007) • The Dandy Warhols (2007)   

Other key track: Love Removal Machine (1987)

I love this song. It was a song my Dad introduced to me and has therefore got a higher position in my musical interest than it might deserve. However, I’d also argue that it has a lot going for it. Billy Duffy’s guitar is the driving force behind the song as a whole, though I’ve always enjoyed the wailing delivery of Ian Astbury on vocals. There is hooky earworm momentum throughout, with all of the parts building up to one very enjoyable tune.

642.      

‘Close To Me’, The Cure (1985)

Influenced by: Jimmy Mack • Martha & The Vandellas (1966)   

Influence on: So Human • Lady Sovereign (2009)   

Covered by: Dismemberment Plan (1995) • The Get Up Kids (1999) • -M- (1999) • Kaki King (2008) • I Was a Cub Scout (2008)

This was a strange one for me as I couldn’t have told you what the song was – I know a fair few by the Cure – yet I was immediately aware of it when the opening breathing and simple keys came over the speakers. What that tells me is that this has some interest for me, yet not enough for me to have ever been bothered to remember what it was called. There is a charming simplicity to the tune, and who doesn’t enjoy the excuse for a good rhythmic handclap? However, there are better songs that the band has produced which I hold in a higher regard than ‘Close To Me’.

643.      

‘Under Mi Sleng Teng’, Wayne Smith (1985)

This gets on the list due to its influence it would seem as this was an early success in the world of ‘digital’ reggae. The song is undoubtedly catchy, though it is interesting to hear a backing tune that has no live instruments involved…not that I can tell anyway. This was apparently a slowed down rock and roll preset that gave them this tune; whatever it was, it created the foundation for an ode to Smith’s love for marijuana.

644.      

‘Cruiser’s Creek’, The Fall (1985)

I have people that absolutely swear by The Fall, yet I’ve never heard a single song of theirs and couldn’t have even guessed what type of music they were. Some take on rock or indie was always my guess, for the record. Mark E. Smith has vocals that will be divisive from the very beginning, but the overall tune is pretty catchy whether you like him or not. The driving guitar melody in particular gives it a hook that makes this – according to the book – about as commercial as The Fall ever became. This is perfectly fine, yet it doesn’t have me rushing to Spotify to check out any more from them if I’m being honest.

645.      

‘Life in a Northern Town’, The Dream Academy (1985)

Influenced by: The Thoughts of Mary Jane • Nick Drake (1969)   

Influence on: Sunchyme • Dario G (1997)   

Covered by: Voice Male (2003) • Neema (2006)   

Other key tracks: Test Tape No. 3 (1985) • Poised on the Edge of Forever (1985)

As soon as I saw the ‘influence’ section, I was waiting to hear something I knew as it rang a bell. Indeed, the song ‘Sunchyme’ liberally reworks the chorus chant to create a chart-topping hit. Thus, this song feels out of place for me even if it really isn’t – I can’t look past the idea of a 90s dance track. It is an odd dichotomy between the largely muted sound away from the chorus….to the chorus itself. It allows the song to finally kick into gear, though perhaps wouldn’t be as effective without the more subdued moments to create an engaging dynamic. An interesting choice as much as anything else.

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I absolutely adore The Fall, but I think they're a band where you need to fall into a rabbit hole of listening to all of their albums instead of getting hooked on their singles (though Cruiser's Creek is a neat tune.) If you don't like hearing pop music pulled through a shredder then definitely stay away from them. 

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On 9/20/2020 at 3:42 AM, Liam said:

631.      

‘State of Shock’, The Jacksons featuring Mick Jagger (1984)

Influenced by: State of Shock • Ted Nugent (1979)   

Influence on: Hooked on Polkas • “Weird Al” Yankovic (1985)   

Covered by: DJ Flash & King MC (1984)   

Other key tracks: Torture (1984) • Body (1984) • One More Chance (1984)

There are many things about this I didn’t know. I wasn’t aware that Michael Jackson still recorded with his brothers after his breakout as a solo artist, nor did I realise that he had ever done a song with Mick Jagger. As mentioned in the book, their vocals largely complement each other pretty well, though I don’t think much of the track as a whole. It seems to be here for the novelty as much as anything, although I guess it is another example of rock encroaching on more urban styles of music.

 

Victory is essentially The Jacksons' White Album. The songs are essentially solo songs that the brothers didn't work together on much. State of Shock was initially meant for Thriller, and had Freddie Mercury instead of Mick Jagger. It was never finished. A demo leaked in the early '10s.

 

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646.      

‘The Whole of the Moon’, The Waterboys (1985)

Influenced by: 1999 • Prince (1982)   

Influence on: N17 • The Saw Doctors (1989)   

Covered by: Terry Reid (1991) • Jennifer Warnes (1992) • Human Drama (1998) • Mandy Moore (2003)   

Other key tracks: Don’t Bang the Drum (1985) • This Is the Sea (1985) • Fisherman’s Blues (1988)

I don’t think I’ve ever heard this song properly. When I say that, it doesn’t mean I don’t know it – a random friend of mine bursting into the chorus at random times almost twenty years ago covered that at least. It isn’t hard to see what appealed to him, as this does feel pretty epic in terms of the production and sound. Fitting for a song talking about the whole of the moon, really. As I listened, I was just waiting for it to tip beyond sounding nostalgic to sounding dated and twee…I think it fell on the right side of that divide, but not by much.

647.      

‘Marlene on the Wall’, Suzanne Vega (1985)

Influenced by: Help Me • Joni Mitchell (1974)   

Influence on: Marlene Dietrich’s Favorite Poem • Peter Murphy (1989)   

Covered by: Underwater City People (2005)   

Other key tracks: Neighborhood Girls (1985) • Luka (1987) • Tom’s Diner (1987)

The book notes that Vega was an interesting proposition in a time period where every girl (fan and singer) was inspired by Madonna. An ode to a poster that doubles as a chance to chart the exploration of a young woman on a journey of self-discovery, this gets some kudos from me primarily for being a fair bit unlike a lot of the female-fronted music that has been on the list. It is all very pleasant, if a little underwhelming though if I’m being entirely honest. If you were looking for tunes from a female singer-songwriter during this time, I could definitely see the allure.

648.      

‘How Will I Know’, Whitney Houston (1985)

Influenced by: Who’s Zoomin’ Who? • Aretha Franklin (1985)   

Influence on: Waiting for a Star to Fall • Boy Meets Girl (1988)   

Covered by: Dionne Warwick (1985) • The Lemonheads (1996) • Hit the Lights (2008)

Whitney Houston is one of the greatest singers I have ever heard. There. Not only did she have the voice, she also had writers and producers who could spot a tune from a mile away. This is a perfect slice of pop, made all the better for Houston’s then-early 20s vocals that were already something special. This has always been a song that I think is hard to dislike due to the joyous infectious delivery of both the lyrics and the melody, and that belief hasn’t dimmed as I listen to it now in the bleak days of 2020 and as impending middle age leaves me ultimately at my most cynical about ‘nice’ things.

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649.      

‘Manic Monday’, The Bangles (1985)

The first thing I might as well throw out there is that I had no idea that this was written by Prince. When you listen to it with that knowledge, you can definitely feel his fingerprints. It was originally written for another band, but was passed onto the Bangles when the initial plan didn’t work out. There is a sunniness in tone that is pleasing alongside a pretty simplistic chorus that makes it eminently singable. As ‘classic’ songs that I feel a lot of people know goes, it is fairly low down on my list, but it is a perfectly crafted pop tune and would probably place higher for many others.

650.      

‘Sun City’, Artists Against Apartheid (1985)

It is only in recent years that I have realised just how many protest songs have been pumped out into the world. Not all are created equal however, and this was one that largely didn’t achieve its goals when it came to bringing about the end of apartheid. It is debatable that it was one of the more interesting stabs at cultural awareness and politics within this type of ensemble song as rappers and rockers united to create a musical hybrid during a time when that mesh of sounds was still in its infancy. This was also a more diverse selection as Miles Davis, Bruce Springsteen and Hall & Oates were amongst the large cast adding their voice. It lacks the overall hookiness of the other notable protest songs, yet the chorus definitely gets burrowed inside your brain.

651.      

‘Kerosene’, Big Black (1986)

This is definitely something. It sounds like the prototype for bands like Godflesh and that ilk as the overall sound feels like someone was putting a guitar through a grinder as much as anything else. Lyrically controversial – some people linking the lyrics to gang rape, apparently – this is definitely a song that is unsettling in the sound that is created. As someone who is a fan of the heavier and more alternative musical genres, I definitely ‘enjoy’ this, if that is the right word. It won’t be for everyone, but for me it was beautiful noise.

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Wow, REALLY surprised that a Big Black song made the cut. Even though it might be my least favorite (it is really fucking repetitive) that's still cool. 

I've never heard anything about gang rape. I always thought it was just as Albini explained it: bored rural kids committing arson. 

EDIT: Maybe it is after all

Quote

Riley explained that the song was about the effects of boredom in rural America: "There's only two things to do: Go blow up a whole load of stuff for fun, or have a lot of sex with the one girl in town who'll have sex with anyone. 'Kerosene' is about a guy who tries to combine the two pleasures."[29]

 

Edited by Curt McGirt
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652.      

‘Ay Te Dejo En San Antonio’, Flaco Jimenez (1986)

This seems to be a choice based on including as many different styles and genres as possible, the song being more indicative of the whole. Apparently Jimenez was a well-considered artist in the Conjunto style of music, a Tex-Mex mix, so much so that he was a session guitarist for a number of famous bands including the Rolling Stones. This is what it is and if you like it, you like it. I’m not a huge fan, but it is a cultural thing as much as anything – it is outside of my frame of reference in a way that makes it hard to really engage with it past the fact that it sounds lively and interesting enough.

653.      

‘Time Of No Reply’, Nick Drake (1986)

I like Nick Drake, but I do feel that placing three of his songs in a list like this is overkill. This was unearthed for a posthumous collection, so is also weirdly placed as it very much wasn’t a song recorded in the 1980s. A emotive acoustic song with lyrics that hint at the darkness that he was to succumb to, it is a very good tune, but it isn’t as good as Northern Sky in my opinion. That they’ve included two songs that largely are there to emphasise the depressive thoughts that ultimately ended his life seems unnecessary as either song makes the other redundant.

654.      

‘Wide Open Road’, The Triffids (1986)

This has movie soundtrack written all over it. Well, at least until the singer starts to relay his tale about a lover’s desertion. Another Aussie entry – a country that maybe is a bit over-represented compared to some other places, primarily because I assume the language – this is pleasant enough, but doesn’t set the world alight for me. It is almost so ok to be non-descript, which is probably one of the worst things you can say about music. Yeah, I don’t get it.

655.      

‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’, The Smiths (1986)

Influenced by: There She Goes Again • The Velvet Underground (1967)   

Influence on: Losing My Religion • R.E.M. (1991)   

Covered by: The Divine Comedy (1996) • Neil Finn (2001) • The Ocean Blue (2002) • The Magic Numbers (2006) • Noel Gallagher (2009)

Another song I could probably claim as being my favourite of all time at some point in my music fandom. It has fallen a little since my early 20s when this might have been the case, but it is still an absolute belter of a track. Sure, it is all overwrought and maudlin, but I love the juxtaposition between the negative and the positive, the darkly comic lyrics and Morrissey’s delivery throughout. I’ve not listened to the whole of The Smiths’ back catalogue and I’ve often heard it can be a bit hit and miss in places, but this is the band as I like to hear them – the serious and the silly in close proximity.

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1985

1985 was a great year to be a metalhead. Unfortunately, I was busy playing with Transformers, but it's crazy how much good shit there was. '85 might be the first year, for me, where metal becomes to the most interesting genre in music. I figure most people with an interest in metal know about Slayer, Overkill, Kreator, Megadeth, Exodus, Celtic Frost, Destruction, and all the other great bands that were putting out music at the time. Here's some more random or obscure stuff I've come across:

Spoiler

 

I don't really have a lot to add to the picks the book made. Most of the stuff I like from '85 falls in either the Gothic Rock category or Polish Coldwave. I probably would have included my favorite Siouxsie song;

And something by the Jesus and Mary Chain:

As well as this Art of Noise song:

 

Here's a bunch of other random stuff:

Spoiler

 

 

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1985 Cont.

As far as hip hop goes, I really love LL Cool J's Radio album.

I also like this Schoolly D track:

Mantronix:

And probably the most famous track from '85:

There's not a lot to love about funk, soul, and r&b from '85 outside of Prince. I do appreciate the job Cameo did of surviving into the 80s, however, and I adore some of the Prince knockoff acts:

Spoiler

 

I love this Bobby Bland tune from '85 too:

And let's not forget:

 

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656.      

‘Some Candy Talking’, The Jesus and Mary Chain (1986)

Influenced by: I’m Waiting for the Man • The Velvet Underground (1967)   

Influence on: Teen Age Riot • Sonic Youth (1988)   

Covered by: Richard Hawley (2006) • The Caulfield Sisters (2006)   

Other key track: Never Understand (1985)

Here are a band I always felt I should check out, if only for their name, yet never did. To be fair, it wasn’t just because of the name – the style of music that was attributed to them largely sounded like something I would enjoy as well, and this is borne out by the song ‘Some Candy Talking’. I’m always a huge fan of noise coupled with a sense of melody, which is the crux of this song. Waves of feedback burst out of the speakers, but it is accompanied with a pretty conventional ‘pop’ sensibility. A worthwhile song for the list and one for me to listen to.

657.      

‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’, The Beastie Boys (1986)

I’ve liked the ‘big’ Beastie Boys songs, but have never really dallied with them beyond that. Naturally, ‘No Sleep Till Brooklyn’ fits into that category and is a fun slice of what they were offering: white guy rappers with a rockier edge. I’m not a music historian but I think they came along at the right time if this list was anything to go by – that style of rock/rap crossover had become a more common thing as the 80s rolled on and they manged to incorporate the two better than most. It isn’t my favourite song by them, yet it was one of the most notable songs on the first American Chart topping rap album, so deserves its place here.

658.      

‘Raining Blood’, Slayer (1986)

The second Kerry King song in a row (he did guitar duties on ‘No Sleep…’), ‘Raining Blood’ is easily one of the best metal songs in my opinion. This is primarily due to my general aversion to Slayer; I wouldn’t say I don’t like them, I’ve just never really wanted to delve much deeper into their catalogue based on what I have heard. However, ‘Raining Blood’ rises above my general apathy for the band and firmly slaps me in the face every time I hear it. The atmospheric opening, the galloping drums, the shredding guitars: it manages to be both ‘extreme’ sounding and interesting, which says a lot I think. Alongside all of this, the guitar riffs make it so damn catchy. Top work.

659.      

‘First We Take Manhattan’, Jennifer Warnes (1986)

Influenced by: Masters of War • Bob Dylan (1963)   

Influence on: Democracy • Leonard Cohen (1992)   

Covered by: R.E.M. (1991) • Warren Zevon (1991) • Joe Cocker (2000) • Tyskarna från Lund (2003) • Sirenia (2004) • Maxx Klaxon (2005) • Boris Grebenshchikov (2005)

Knowing Jennifer Warnes only from her soundtrack work, I was looking forward to hearing what else she had to offer. This was written by Leonard Cohen on an album by Warnes that covered several other Cohen songs. The book spends a lot of time talking about Cohen’s lyrics which cover ideas about fascism and narcissism amongst other things, but what interests me is that Warnes’ voice sounds somewhat at odds with such a politically interesting song yet it still works. Her warmth is very much a soundtrack-style of vocal for the most part. However, it is this warmth that makes things work as it turns the lyrics – some that people even consider advocating terrorist ideals – into something ‘normal’.

660.      

‘True Colors’, Cyndi Lauper (1986)

Influenced by: Bridge Over Troubled Water • Simon & Garfunkel (1970)   

Influence on: Shining Through • Fredro Starr featuring Jill Scott (2001)   

Covered by: Leatherface (2000) • Sarina Paris (2001) • Erlend Bratland (2008)

I don’t think I initially realised that this was a song by Cyndi Lauper when I first heard it, as it sounds somewhat at odds with the songs that had made her famous. To Lauper’s credit, her production that saw things stripped back from some of the more frenetic pop work of her debut album rewarded her with a chart topping hit. I never overly consider Lauper as a ‘great’ singer, but her vocals here do the job and are left to stand on their own due to the sparseness of the backing music. As an interesting aside, this was written by the same duo who wrote ‘Like A Virgin’ for Madonna.

661.      

‘Move Your Body’, Marshall Jefferson (1986)

A banger that heralded the start of a new musical movement. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this before, but I couldn’t help but bop along as I wrote this paragraph. Jefferson had disliked the commercial sensitivities of disco, before discovering an altogether ‘dirtier’ genre of music that spoke more to his interests when it came to filling the dance floor. ‘Deep house’ and ‘house’ are the terms used by the book, genres I’ve either not heard of in the former or don’t overly care for in the latter, but it isn’t hard to see the allure of this tune on night in the club in the 80s. The piano – a rarity in this style of music apparently – is an excellent addition that adds a further layer to enjoy.

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Cohen's version is much better:

If they wanted to include a Lauper ballad, Time After Time is better. What they should have really chosen is a song everybody needs to hear before they die:

Which is a cover of one of my favorite songs:

 

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I guess I can accept them putting "Raining Blood" instead of this, but it wouldn't be my choice. I mean, it's "Angel of Death", the most popular song they ever wrote. Not their BEST song (that would be "At Dawn They Sleep"), but close. 

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662.      

‘Rise’, Public Image Ltd (1986)

Lyrically, this song takes a swipe at the treatment of people in apartheid-era South Africa, especially when it begins to describe some of the torture techniques used by the powers that be. I much prefer this song to the previous entry from the band, though I still don’t particularly care for John Lydon’s overall…presence…on things. The presentation of this song in a case marked ‘Single’, taking a swipe at consumerism, was something that was interesting enough and gives it perhaps a wider significance on top of the topical lyrics. I am a big fan of the mix of lighter music with darker lyrical tone so this was always going to be more up my street than some offerings on this list, even if it isn’t top tier for me.

663..      

‘Love Can’t Turn Around’, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk (1986)

Influenced by: I Can’t Turn Around • Isaac Hayes (1975)   

Influence on: Flowerz • Armand Van Helden (1999)  

Covered by: BustaFunk (2000)   

Other key tracks: All Acid Out (1986) • The Funk Is On (1986) • It’s You (1987)

The song – or at least the backing music – was a source of great controversy as the ex-housemate of Farley claimed that it had been appropriated. However it came to find its way out there, it is a pretty catchy little number. It was topped off by the almost literally larger than life Darryl Pandy, who I can only assume is the plus-sized mullet on legs that is showcased in the video. It is a strong look, I’ll give him that. Not my sort of music, but it was hard not to get carried away with the overall boppiness of the track. Can imagine this easily filled a dancefloor or two.

664.      

‘Dear God’, XTC (1986)

Influenced by: God • John Lennon (1970)   

Influence on: One of Us • Joan Osborne (1995)   

Covered by: Sarah McLachlan (1996) • Tricky (2003)   

Other key tracks: Making Plans for Nigel (1979) • Generals and Majors (1980) • Ball and Chain (1982) • Senses Working Overtime (1982)

According to the book and Colin Moulding, the bassist for the band, this was a song that saved XTC as they were days away from being released by their record label when this became an unlikely hit. A song that is anti-religion in its lyrics, it caused some controversy but was also gaining airplay enough to see it get placed as a B side for a single. I don’t mind the song as a whole, though I think it speaks volumes that I actually like the bit sung by the little girl at the start the most out of everything else, at least up until the lyrical freakout towards the end. A decent offering, if less impactful for being heard several decades later.

665.      

‘Don’t Want To Know If You Are Lonely’, Husker Du (1986)

I’ve only heard the odd bit from Husker Du before, but what I have heard only left me thinking that a band with that name should be heavier. I don’t know why, it just sounds like a metal band rather than one that plays heavy rock. I perhaps got my answer from the book as they were originally a punk band, though their ‘best’ work tended to be when they added in more in the way of pop sensibilities to go with their capable aural onslaught. The entry goes on to mention Nirvana and the Pixies and I can definitely see the fingerprints of this song on what those bands released in the years to come. In the recent entries, this is by far the best song that I’ve never heard before.

666.      

‘Kiss’, Prince & The Revolution (1986)

A song that the record label didn’t want to relase as it sounded too much like a demo, this became the third Number One in the U.S. for Prince. Apparently, this was developed by Prince and Mazarati, with it originally being the bones of a song Prince was willing to let go, only for him to be subsequently impressed by the potential once he heard a fuller, fleshed out version the following day. I say fleshed out, because it is pretty sparse going as Prince songs go, but it allows the simple lyrics and delivery to do the talking. There is something effortlessly cool about most of what Prince does and it might be best highlighted by ‘Kiss’ – it isn’t his best song, but it wouldn’t necessarily work with any other musician.

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