Thursday, March 10, 2016

My Ten Favorite New Wave Tunes

The new wave movement was a direct result of the disco and punk music that flourished in the latter half of the 70's and waned in the early part of the 80's.  Shades of glam rock from even earlier times also reappeared to work their way into the mix as the video age of MTV paved the way for artists to express themselves visually.  This new genre of music blended the rebelliousness of punk rockers with the dance floor affability of those who mourned disco’s loss.  Much of it was silly, but danceable and fun, and sparked not only a musical craze that defined a decade, but a pop culture craze as well.

I grew up in the 80's and I feel fortunate to have done so.  Much of the new wave music from that time is an indelible part of the Soundtrack of My Life.  Listening to many of those tunes brings me back to a time when I really didn't know all that much about life, but I was enjoying it like no other time.

That's me on the left in some new wave gear 
from a Halloween party somewhere in the mid-80's

Since it's New Wave Month, I thought I'd share ten of my favorite new wave songs.  It's difficult to narrow it down to just ten because there were so many good tunes back in those days that still bring me back and make me move my feet.  So many acts contributed their fair share to 80’s music and are an indelible part of that Soundtrack of My Life, like Duran Duran, Divo, Culture Club, Blondie, the B-52’s, Depeche Mode, Erasure, Dead or Alive, A Flock of Seagulls, and many more.  I guess that's why I've been devoting a whole month to the genre.  

Anyway, here’s my personal choices for the ten best new wave songs.  I hope you enjoy...

10- Lies - Thompson Twins

Lies is a magnetic track that’s got a typically new wave feel.  With synth sounds, catchy lyrics, and ethnic musical samples added in for fun, this one is a classic of the genre.  Here's a clip of them performing the tune on an old music program you may remember called Solid Gold...

9- Private Idaho - The B-52’s

This early B-52’s smash from their Wild Planet record is a fast moving, dance inducing, and utterly silly tune that’s classic B’s sound.  Love, love, love this one...

You're living in your own Private Idaho
Living in your own Private Idaho
On the ground like a wild potato...

8- Blue Monday - New Order

This song was a club smash for the group off of its 1987 album Substance.  It had been a smash earlier in the UK and was reincarnated several times during the decade and beyond only to reach the charts again.  This seven-plus minute song is a bass-heavy, haunting track that oddly contains no traditional chorus.  The tune is dance floor friendly and irresistible to sing along to.  Check it out on John's Music World;s Song of the Day post from last September right here.

7- I Know What Boys Like - The Waitresses

This case of naughty girl cockiness was a one hit wonder for this new wave group.  The tune was featured in the 80’s teen comedy The Last American Virgin and the sound is all 80’s, and a lot of fun!  I just posted it the other day and you can check it out here.

6- Goody Two Shoes- Adam Ant

Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do you do?

This catchy ditty was a radio smash for Adam and unforgettably fun for us.   Check it out...

5- Here Comes the Rain Again - Eurythmics

The Eurythmics, a duo made up of Dave Stewart and Annie Lennox, were one of the more successful groups of the genre and of the decade.  Included among their string of top 40 hits was this haunting tune, and video, taking the listener on a hypnotic journey through Lennox’s desolate emotions. Relive this one right here...


4- You Spin Me (Right Around) - Dead or Alive

I just posted Dead or Alive the other day because they were such an underground sensation during the new wave era who spurned a loyal following, myself among them.  In what was their largest success to date, You Spin Me (Right Around) filled dance floors all over the place with its captivating rhythms and chorus.  The tune was sampled by Flo Rida a couple of years back, but before that it would become the first of a string of hits for the group, which still maintains a devoted fan base to this day. Get ready to dance...

3- Situation - Yaz

Originally known as Yazoo, this duo comprised of Depeche Mode songwriter Vince Clark and vocalist Alison Moyet released two classic albums during the new wave era.  Their debut, Upstairs at Eric’s, is a classic album featuring the #1 US dance hit Situation.  This one nears the top of this list for its uniquely identifiable keyboard-based track and Moyet’s powerful vocals.    

2- I Ran (So Far Away) - Flock of Seagulls

Two things come to mind when I think of a Flock of Seagulls; I Ran (So Far Away) and bad hair!  This one’s a classic, with catchy lyrics and signature eighties synth-pop rhythms.  It's so iconic of the era that I posted it as Song of the Day right here.

1-Rock Lobster - The B-52’s

With a hypnotic guitar melody and nonsensical lyrics, Rock Lobster seduced a legion of music lovers and became an instant classic in the new genre of music that would come to be known as “new wave”.  Fred Schneider’s one of a kind vocals, paired with the harmonious duo of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson, play off each other in perfect synch here.  “Rock Lobster” is the ultimate in frenzied fun!  Check it out...

So there you have it!  If you were around in the 80's, you're sure to remember virtually all of them. Have other favorite new wave tunes?  I'd love to hear what you love in the comments below.  In the meantime, stay tuned for more New Wave Month...

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