Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday 80s Flashback for June 24, 2011

[Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap (Part 3)] -- Two weeks ago, I started a journey, sharing the songs on a mixtape from my college days. The first six songs are covered in the flashback posts for June 10 and June 17. Today we will wrap up Side A of the compilation. If you haven't enjoyed this exploration as much as previous flashbacks, worry not. I'll return to the more standard themes  next week. As this series has not proven to be very popular, I do not have any plans to cover the tunes on Side B of "Be Fast, Be Clean, Be Cheap" in future flashbacks. That could change, but only if there are sufficient requests for a return visit.

For now, if you're ready to learn what three tracks close out the first side of this mixtape, you can read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1: "The wrong torch may light many candles."

The San Francisco-based dance-rock band, Until December, was active in the early 80s. They released several 12" singles in 1985 and a self-titled album in 1986. Our first flashback of day, and seventh track on my mixtape, comes from that eponymous album. "No Gift Refused" is not Until December's most popular song, but it does exemplify exactly what the openly gay band was known for: pulsating beats, tight guitar licks, and not exactly coy lyrics.

Flashback #2: "You spurn my natural emotions | You make me feel I'm dirt ."

Our second flashback artist of the day took their name from a 1960 film starring Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood. The Fine Young Cannibals formed in 1984 and remained active into the early 90s. Their 1988 album, The Raw and the Cooked, contained their highest charting hits as well as this song recorded for the Jonathan Demme film, Something Wild (1986). "Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)" -- a cover of a song originally recorded by the Buzzcocks in 1978 -- reached #9 on UK charts and #11 on US dance charts. The music video features lead singer, Roland Lee Gift, singing while working in a movie house. Clips from Something Wild are interspersed along with scenes of the movie house patrons. Gift's voice usually grates on my last nerve, but I find him to be in fine, listenable form on this particular track.

Flashback #3: "It's a dirty job but someone's got to do it."

Moving back to San Francisco for our our final flashback of the day, we find the 80s harbinger of funk metal at the start of their recording career. Briefly known as Sharp Young Men (at the inception of the band) and then Faith No Man (for the release of their first single), Faith No More assumed their recognized moniker during the recording of their debut album, We Care A Lot (1985). The title track of that album was re-recorded for Faith No More's second release, Introduce Yourself (1987), which enjoyed a much wider distribution and is therefore considered the band's true debut album. In 1988, "We Care A Lot" reached #53 on the UK singles chart. PopMatter lists it as one of the 65 Great Protest Songs, actually calling it an anti-protest song and hailing it as a "smirking account of everything that pop and political culture shoved down our throats at the height of the Reagan revolution" [Lundy, Zeth; Berman, Jarrett. PopMatters: "Part 4: Heaven 17 to N.W.A. (1981-1988) - PopMatters Picks: Say It Loud! 65 Great Protest Songs"].

And just look at this video! Has any other band rocked dreadlocks, pastel colors, and a paint-splattered stage as hard as these guys? I think not.

Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. I've made my three offerings, so 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.

I'll see you in seven!

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