Saturday Night Video: Brits, 80s

Joy Division, “Love Will Tear Us Apart Again”

It’s no secret what the Brits did for us musically in the 60s and 70s.  But it’s  important to remember also what they were doing for us in the 80s, which was to push at the boundaries of pop music in all directions.  Joy Division (above), who begat New Order, being a major case in point. (I opted for a high quality audio version of the song with footage from the film about Ian Curtis, Control.  You can see the original band video with, unfortunately, inferior sound quality, here.)

Yaz, “Ode to Boy” (The most frankly erotic song of the period from a still newly liberated female sexuality:  “In his face age descends on youth / Exaggeration on the truth / He caught me looking then / But soon his eyes forgot”)

The Smiths, “How Soon Is Now?” (This video cannot be embedded.  Click on the image and then hit the YouTube link — worth the effort: this song is considered by many to be the best alternative track of the 80s.  “I am the son and the heir / Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar / And son and heir / Of nothing in particular”)

Psychedelic Furs, “The Ghost in You” (Perhaps one of the most sweetly-disposed love songs to be produced by the melding of pop and New Wave: “A man in my shoes runs a light / And all the papers lie tonight / But falling over you / Is the news of the day”)

Kate Bush, “The Sensual World” (Kate may be the first fully realized female genius of pop-alternative: if you weren’t listening to Kate Bush in the 80s, you just weren’t paying close enough attention.  Note that the song interpolates Molly Bloom along the way: “He said I was a mountain flower, yes / But now I’ve power over a woman’s body, yes / Stepping out of the pages into the sensual world”

Stone Roses, “Fool’s Gold” (From the heart of Madchester, baby: the obsessive-compulsively chuckling guitar riff; the accelerated heart beat of the snare drum; the hushed, affectless rendition of the virtually incomprehensible lyrics; and the narco-hypnotic effects generally.  This song may be why they invented all night raves, glow sticks, and MDMA in the first place.)

The Cure, “Lullaby”  (The original Goth rockers by way of punk, New Wave, and traditional English music hall: “I spy something beginning with s / On candystripe legs the spiderman comes / Softly through the shadow of the evening sun”

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