Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday 80s Flashback for March 29, 2013

Fun Is Just Over There - by brainwise

[Highs and Lows] -- I'm still at the Cleveland Clinic with my father (17 days and counting). And this week (like much of his stay) has had its share of ups and downs. At one point, we were told to prepare ourselves for "this may be as good as it gets" (Dad on ventilator and bed-ridden for however long). And then we were told that, even without a specific diagnosis, there are things that can be done to ween Dad off assisted breathing and even strengthen his other muscles. So, this week's Flashback reflects the highs and lows we have felt here rather than the upcoming Easter holiday (though I am sure holidays also have their fill of ups and downs). Today's image comes from my own collection on Flickr. I figure the Ferris Wheel is a good model of the cyclic nature of ups and downs. If you want to know what tunes are playing on my Ferris Wheel this week, just read and hear more after the break.

Flashback #1"I'm caught up in a whirlwind and my ever changing moods."

Café Bleu (1984) was the Style Council's debut album. In the US, it was renamed after its successful first single, "My Ever Changing Moods." The Style Council was formed by Paul Weller of The Jam fame, and it usually featured around three or four main members as well as a cast of studio artists and touring help. The Style Council was often overtly political in their lyrics, but their jazz-soul-pop sound helped those messages go down easy even in their native England. In the States, most of their messages went right over the heads of the music buying audience. "My Ever Changing Moods" was more of a relationship song, and it peaked at #29 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US.

Flashback #2"Watching me tearing myself to pieces."

Like our first Flashback, our next tune is also a relationship song. However, I feel it fits todays theme for two reasons. First, the words "high and low" appear in the lyrics as well as the title. Second, the main thrust of the lyrics -- that of "hunting high and low" -- is exactly what is going on as we try to get to the bottom of Dad's condition. For example, right in the chorus, the Norwegian band A-ha sing: "There's no end to the lengths I'll go to | Hunting high and low."

"Hunting High and Low" is the title track, but final single, from A-ha's 1985 debut album. The album sold well internationally and all four singles charted within the top 40 of most countries' music charts. Their first two singles broke the top 20 in the US with their debut single, "Take On Me," becoming a #1 hit. "Hunting High and Low" did not chart in the US Billboard Hot 100, but it did chart within the top 10 in both the UK and Ireland as well as many other European countries. It remains one of the band's most recognizable songs. Hunting High and Low peaked at #15 on the United States Billboard 200 (album chart). A-ha was nominated for, but did not win, the Best New Artist Grammy in 1986, making A-ha the first Norwegian band nominated for a Grammy.

Flashback #3"A thousand skeptic hands | Won't keep us from the things we plan."

Although this week has put me and my family through an emotional ringer (while I'm at the clinic with my parents, my goddaughter -- and my parents' only grandchild -- had surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid), I would be remiss in ending the Flashback on a down note. I must hold to the optimism of the 80s and my youth! Therefore, our final Flashback of the day comes from Howard Jones, a true purveyor of upbeat pop gems. As I have previously mentioned, Howard Jones' debut album, Human's Lib (1983), was my very first compact disc purchase, and I owned it before I even had a CD player of my own! This time around, however, we'll dip into Jones' second album, Dream into Action (1985). Dream into Action hit #2 on the UK's album charts and did well internationally with five hit singles. For our final Flashback of the day, I chose the album' first single, "Things Can Only Get Better," to infuse some needed positivity. After released, it continued Howard Jones' success from his debut album. It hit #6 in the UK Singles Chart and #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. The all-female singing group Afrodiziak helps Jones' out on backing vocals, really lending a refreshing boost to the chorus. And although I chose this song for its positive message, I appreciate that it does not veer too far from practicality. Note the lyric, "And do you feel scared? I do. But I won't stop and falter." Yes, I won't falter in my support of my parents, or any member of my family, no matter how difficult it becomes. I am looking for that glimmer of hope.

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.

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

I'll see you in seven!

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