Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday 80s Flashback for May 18, 2012

[This Flashback Has No Theme] -- The first few Friday 80s Flashbacks (posted back in September 2010) had no theme tying the featured songs together. Since then, every Flashback has had a theme which guided my song selection. Until today. Well, that's not entirely true. There is no stated theme for today's Flashback. But there is something that logically, perhaps loosely, bonds today's three tunes in holy flashback matrimony. Perhaps you can guess the theme after you sample today's offerings. If so, submit your best guess in the comments. But there is no need to play the guessing game to simply enjoy the tunes. All you really have to do is read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"Been running so long | I've nearly lost all track of time | In every direction | I couldn't see the warning signs."

Our first flashback of the day comes from The Go-Go's, the first all-female band that wrote their own songs and played their own instruments to top the Billboard album charts. Yes, folks, there were several "girl groups" with writing and playing chops before The Go-Gos, but none of them cranked out hits quite like these ladies. They have three studio albums that charted in the top 20, with two of them going Gold or better. And seven of their 11 singles peaked in the top 100. "Head Over Heels," the first single from their third studio album, Talk Show (1984), peaked at #11 on the US Billboard. Although the album was critically well-received, it was a commercial disappointment. And it marked the last time the original lineup would record an album together ... until 2001. I have a special fondness for this music video because I love the 60s aesthetic they're pulling with the band performing on that multi-color set. (And, aside from the instruments, there is no audio equipment shown! No amps, cords, mics, etc.)

Flashback #2"I've been looking so long at these pictures of you | That I almost believe that they're real."

According to interviews, our second flashback of the day was inspired by a fire in the home of Robert Smith, the Cure's lead singer (and chief proponent of dishevelled black hair). Smith was going through the remains of his home and found his wallet which had a few photographs in it, including a photo of his wife. "Pictures of You" was released as the final single from Disintegration (1989), the Cure's eighth studio album. Much to the delight of longtime Cure fans, Disintegration saw the band return to their gloomy, gothic, and introspective sound of the early 80s. The album sold very well and received primarily positive reviews (but I don't know if that improved Smith's disposition at all). Disintegration is often mentioned in best-of lists of one type or another. I do love it, and The Cure is among my favorite bands from the 80s, but I cannot rate Disintegration quite so high in my personal list of favorite albums. Still, it is a fine example of the Cure still doing what they did best.

Flashback #3"Crack that whip | Give the past a slip."

Devo is considered a poster-child for 80s music, but they actually formed in 1972 and began their recording career in 1975. They just didn't achieve real visibility until 1980 when they released their best-known single, "Whip It," which peaked at #14 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and is still considered one of the greatest songs of the 80s (at least by VH1). "Whip It" was the lead single off Devo's third studio album, Freedom of Choice. And although they released four more studio albums in the 80s, they never achieved more than a cult following and just cold not duplicate the popularity of "Whip It." Devo's name refers to de-evolution, which states that mankind is actually regressing rather than continuing to evolve. As I look at some of what passes for entertainment today, I'm afraid they could be right about that. 

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the archives. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

Remember, if you want to guess this week's unstated theme, leave a comment. After the weekend, I'll try to post an update with the answer. 

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!


ursula williams! said...

i think the theme is somehow about vision, like bad eyesight, or something!! o_0 yeah?!!!

Brainwise said...

Not a bad guess, but it's not the correct theme. Still, I'm so glad you tried! (You are one of only two who actually submitted a guess).

The correct answer can be seen in this post: