Tuesday, August 30, 2005

pure joy

It's a question of perception. If you watch telly and a reference is made to the eighties you will get archive footage of city traders in red braces sitting in wine bars braying into their brick sized mobile phones, greed is good wasn't it all superficial and shit? Well I'm here to tell you it wasn't...not musically anyway. The '80's was the last time major label bands had control over their music and image. Duran Duran, Spandau, Haircut 100 all looked ridiculous but because they chose to look ridiculous. Bands were able to develop and refine their sounds over a number of albums. Punk swept the boards clean and allowed art school chancers like Human League and Soft Cell to bring minimalist electronic music to the top of the charts. Songwriters with genuine and sometimes embarrasing passion like Weller and Kevin Rowlands could have number one singles.....yes there was still shit in the charts and the creative fires had burned out of the mainstream by the end of the decade (compare Simple Minds early 80's output with the bombast they peddled by the end) but for a time the charts were...great.

Which brings me round to this weeks post, they looked silly...check, they had a background in punk...check, they got THEIR music made on THEIR terms into the charts...check....THE TEARDROP EXPLODES. Both of these tracks are from their 'difficult' second album 'Wilder'. I think it is a psychedelic masterpiece, it unravelled the band and unhinged Julian Cope, his excellent book 'Head-On' tells the tales of drug addled madness of recording in Wales and a disastrous US tour. 'Tiny Children' is so naked in it's emotional honesty and simplicity, it reminds me a little of The Beatles 'Julia' in the way it connects to childhood. It's like a lullaby. This was a SINGLE!

The Teardrop Explodes- Tiny Children

The Teardrop Explodes- Passionate Friend

'Passionate Friend' was a hit but does anybody remember it?. 'Passionate Friend' finds Julian Cope gloriously and optimistically English in his vocals, where Ian Mac had studied cool, Julian was boundlessly enthusiastic. This tune sounds like The Turtles on happy pills with sitar guitars, trumpet fanfares and ba, ba, ba's. It is absolutely one of the most hook laden singles of all time and along with X.T.C.'s Senses Working Overtime goes to show that great guitar pop was alive and well in the 80's.

Buy The Teardrop Explodes- Wilder
Find out more about the Arch-Drude Cope here

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