Monday, January 6, 2014

Music From The 1980's That Dazzled Me In 2013 (A Strange Year-End List)

This is a very different sort of year-end list. 

As they say, what's old is new. The 'Retro Active' outlook with which I began this blog is my standard. Still, 2013 stands out. It was a year of 1980's (re)discoveries that felt incredibly fresh & vibrant. Some of these I already knew but hadn't seen or heard in a while; some I'd yet to experience. Each has made an imprint on my life & I'm happy to carry these gems with me into 2014 & beyond.

6. The Belle Stars | Sign Of The Times
People talk about girl power. This band is comprised of girls, girls, & more girls. There are so many ladies working together in this group, it's impressive. This song should've had more airplay, stateside, back in its day. (I'm not sure it did.) Glad I've begun to enjoy it now, I've listened to it at least 30 times. (I have some catching up to do!)
5. Banarama | Aie e Mwana
According to the Guinness Book Of World Records, (their Wikipedia page has pointed out), Banarama still holds the title of all-female group with the most chart entries in the world. I did not know that! I also did not know their first hit 'Aie e Mwana'. This one I heard on iTunes Radio, a recent godsend for new discoveries. The lyrics –– aside from the title (which is said to be nonsense) –– are sung in Swahili. The intro is long, but it's all so worth it. Listen & enjoy. 

4. Adam Ant | Strip
I'd somehow forgotten about this! I'll remember it from now on. 
3. Talk Talk | Life's What You Make It
This 'bass piano' knocks me out. The song just floors me. Who focuses their bass on piano? Works really well for the mood of this song. ('Everything's all right.') And the video is beautiful.
2. Heaven 17 | Penthouse and Pavement
This next one was a thrilling discovery for me –– again, first heard on iTunes Radio. I've enjoyed many Heaven 17 songs, but their 'Penthouse & Pavement' was new for me in 2013. Now it's my favorite of theirs. I'm not sure how many times I've listened to it by now; it gets better every time. I'm baffled (and dazzled) by the fact that this is from 1981. This band was ahead of its time. The video also captures the early 80's mood very well. 
This TV performance of 'Penthouse & Pavement' is also worth watching. I suppose they had to have a fill-in for the female vocalist whenever they performed it (the original singer was a session performer.) When I first saw this video, I was blown away by the fabulous gal who performs with them –– she's so charming –– so I was a little disappointed to find out she isn't the actual singer. But it's fun to watch her OWN the song during this performance.
1. Wham! | Ray Of Sunshine
When I listened to my Wham! Fantastic cassette tape as a kid, I'd often fast forward and rewind to listen to a few songs in particular. I enjoyed 'A Ray Of Sunshine' –– just not nearly enough. I heard it after having had quite some time away from it in 2013. This tune is so sadly overlooked –– and it's rare to hear it anywhere. It didn't even appear in an extensive Wham! karaoke song list, I recently discovered –– but again, iTunes radio was my friend in 2013 & there they played it. Since then, I keep listening to it and loving it. It's made it's way into my all-time favorites list. 'Ray Of Sunshine' is literally, very possibly, one of my Top 10 favorite songs of all time. What a huge leap this song has made into my heart :)
I have to include this video, with footage from the Wham! film 'Foreign Skies' set to 'Ray Of Sunshine'. No other piece of media in 2013 (aside from the many, many adorable videos of non-humans) charmed me quite as completely –– and utterly –– as seeing this! 
I should add that in 2013 I watched three very significant movies from the 80's for the very first time in their entirety: 'E.T.', 'Poltergeist' & 'Gremlins'. I also watched 'A View To A Kill' in its entirety after not having watched it for many years –– and realized how worth revisiting that Bond film happens to be (much more on that soon!) 2013 certainly was a good year to be inspired by the 80's.