Somehow, I didn't feel like I completely captured the era in my first blog, so I opted to put together this second one. As one reader of the previous blog pointed out both the Hoodoo Gurus and Simply Red put out albums in 1985. Also, so did The Long Ryders, Green On Red and a bunch of bands whose albums I didn't buy.
25) The Dream Academy--The Dream Academy: "Life In A Northern Town" was a moody, cool single that was supposedly about Nick Drake. Apparently, "The Edge Of Forever" was in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but I've never watched that entire movie, as there is usually a home fix-up show that demands my attention, so I don't actually know this. The best way to approach the 1980s was often to pretend it wasn't happening.
24) Katrina And The Waves--Katrina And The Waves: Guitarist Kimberly Rew was once in the Soft Boys and their Canadian releases on Attic Records were pretty cool power pop. I never bought the American releases, but I remember hearing some remixing and extra instruments that didn't help. Their music was like Pizza Hut, where you take an already decadent meal and add more salt and more cheese, like it needed it. Do these b-sides make me look fat?
23) The Hooters--Nervous Night: OK, kid, you want to talk about how great the 1980s were? Start here and start explaining. (Hint: these guys were serious.)
22) Heart--Heart: I didn't mind them in the 1970s, but this incarnation frightens me. At least until 1989 or so when they cut "All I Want To Do Is Make Love To You" and followed it with a music video that should set the standard for those who aspire to such heights.
21) John Cougar Mellencamp--Rain On The Scarecrow: If the critics hadn't created Bruce Springsteen, they would've opted for this guy. As it is, he's had to settle for second-string even though his music is often just as good. Since he's a moody dude, he even opted to drop out and paint. I see people on FB want him to run for political office in Indiana. Since it's all a popularity contest and he has a great heart (well, a great conscience, the heart has seen better days), I think he should do it.
20) Suzanne Vega--Suzanne Vega: Singer-songwriters never die. They just show up every few years with their dreams, acoustic guitars and English degrees. I feel their pain.
19) The Mekons--Fear And Whiskey: The Mekons recorded two dozen albums and this is the one people swear by. I don't argue with people.
18) Camper Van Beethoven--Telephone Free Landslide Victory: The album title sounds like what happens when you mix The Fall with Guided By Voices. The music sounds like what happens when you mix R.E.M. with the Grateful Dead.
17) Sting--The Dream Of The Blue Turtles: When not having sex for eight hours at a time, Sting was often found in the recording studio pleasuring himself with the best studio musicians money could buy.
16) Sonic Youth--Bad Moon Rising: The world's most unusual Creedence Clearwater Revival cover band outdid themselves with this most noisy and unusual tribute. (Is "Society is a Hole" a CCR B-side or something?)
15) John Fogerty--Centerfield: Speaking of CCR, lots of older critics got extremely excited when John Fogerty released this long-awaited solo album. Fog's old manager, Saul Zaentz, got even more excited by the idea that the album's opening track, "The Old Man Down The Road," sounded like Fogerty's old tune "Run Through The Jungle," which Saulie owned. Saulie also liked the idea that Fog wrote a song called "Zanz Can't Dance," which meant Saulie could find more reasons to sue. I've known people who have had some odd hobbies, but litigation?
14) Rush--Power Windows: There is no List Of The Day without a gratuitous mention of Canada's most famous export, besides hockey. Readers have come to expect it and I do not wish to let them down.
13) Red Hot Chili Peppers--Freaky Styley: There was a time when the RHCPs were considered a pretty "out there" group, unlikely to ever gain more than a stoner-slacker following. Further proof that no one can foresee the future. (If I could, I wouldn't spend it predicting musical acts, I'd focus on lottery numbers and commodities trading.)
12) Frank Zappa--Frank Zappa Meets The Mothers Of Prevention: Remember when people thought Frank Zappa might run for President? Or when he showed up in Washington, D.C. to prove that politicians didn't know anything when it came to music? Remember when he was alive to make these records? Do you think Zappa had too much I.Q. to be doing all this? Like maybe he should've spent his life pursuing science?
11) 'Til Tuesday--Voices Carry: Aimee Mann has gone on to become a vocal critic of the way the music industry works and a successful independent artist as a result. But she had to get her start somewhere.
10) The Judds--Rockin' With The Rhythm: Family acts often give me the heebies. Wynonna went on to her own successful solo career while her mom retired after a rough patch of Hepatitis C.
9) Mission Of Burma--The Horrible Truth About Burma: Their reunion hasn't been a disaster. MOB have actually pulled it off pretty convincingly. But it was still cooler when their myth was more contained.
8) Descendents--I Don't Want To Grow Up: The Descendents were the precursor to punk-pop bands like Green Day, Nirvana, Weezer and any other band west of the Ramones. But they don't have the bank accounts to prove it.
7) Megadeth--Killing Is My Business...And Business Is Good: The band's misspelling aside, Megadeth also pioneer the powerful use of...
6) Prince--Around The World In A Day: The follow-up to Purple Rain was bound to receive lesser reviews. Prince had become mega-famous--finally--after all those years of great reviews and deserved stardom. So, of course, the first thing people do is resent the fact that their hero is now everybody's hero. It's one of the reasons all those perennially unsuccessful performers should be glad they've never caught on. It's like Dylan said, "you'll find out when you reach the top, you're on the bottom." To which I wonder, is there another "bottom," I'm not aware of?
5) Bryan Ferry--Boys And Girls: David Gilmour played guitar and Ferry used to be in Roxy Music. But in 1985, I'm not sure what mattered more to music fans. It was such an odd time to be alive.
4) Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds--The First Born Is Dead: The Birthday Party were hugely entertaining. On his own, Cave decided to work on his Elvis fixation. This usually results in better reviews, since rock critics are supposed to worship Presley without question. Except, Cave sounded like he was murdering the blues. I wouldn't want to go down to the Southern Hemisphere and start poking around their heroes, unless it's Kylie Minogue.
3) Dire Straits--Brothers In Arms: With Brothers In Arms, Mark Knopfler returned his band into a hit-making machine. His neo-trad ways suggested he'd never become hugely popular. It didn't work for Bert Jansch, while should it work for Markie? Sometimes the universe does things to screw with us. I predict in 2011 Bruce Cockburn will be hugely popular for no reason.
2) Phil Collins--No Jacket Required: Rock n' Roll has always stood for rebellion. Here is where it decided to sit.
1) Freddie Mercury--Mr. Bad Guy: Since a loyal Yahoo! Music blog reader noted that Queen without Freddie Mercury would be like the Y! Music Blogs without John Kordosh, I felt I should draw further attention to that salient point.