Absolute 80’s acceptable? Absolutely.

The UK’s only 80’s radio station blares that bloke from the IT Crowd.  Is it?  They make the same claim for their 70’s cousin but that is not true as Smooth 70s have popped up from behind a cloud of bubbling mud on DAB and made two a crowd.  What the fuck was it with the 80s?  How could a decade that started with so much musical promise end up completely losing its way?  Well for a start its not its fault its only an arbitrary span of ten years and does not have free will or an understanding of good and evil.  But it still gives the appearance of having a nervous breakdown in 1985 and returning a completely different character like your mate coming out of a coma speaking French and doing sculpture.  The station succeeds in nostalgia terms though because the music of the first half is never less than interesting and often brilliant while they wisely seem to be shunning chart stuff from about 1986 onwards.  So its the controller’s version of events which conspicuously fails to acknowledge the existance of Kylie and Jason.

I have been suckered, you can’t argue with all the hits of your youth and listening in runs less risk of social humiliation than a night at school disco.  But if you are under about 35 and are wondering what the hell happened during the 80s to create so much stone-washed big haired mythology, the following selection of songs may help you understand the decade that made Phil Collins a star.  They are interesting, slightly obscure and even if a bit dated, they capture this most problematic of eras.  Him? You know, drummer in Genesis, bald, bad suits, wife left him for a decorator, lives in Switzerland, has the largest collection of Alamo memorabilia in the wooooooorld…

Killing Joke – Eighties (1984): Furious post-rock about the era as it happened.  Later came as it was to a Nirvana concert.

Then Jerico – Muscle Deep (1987): U2 became the touchstone for so many groups who longed to fill stadiums.  This huge anti-apartheid anthem never reached the back rows.  Looking like A-ha on roids wasn’t much help.

The Quick – Rhythm Of The Jungle (1982): Exotic pina Colada soaked pop of this kind was very popular in the heyday of 18-30.  This is an even slicker cousin of Club Tropicana but is anyone else reminded of Jungle Rock and similar package tourist fare?

New Musik – The Planet Doesn’t Mind (1981): Synth pop, rap, electro its all in here.  I could hear Michael Jackson doing this.  Not a hit.

Mega City Four – Miles Away (1987): The muffled production lets it down, you’d never get this released today but the energy shines out and John Peel played it a lot.  Represents everyone battling on underground during the darkest days for guitar based music.

Nash The Slash – Swing Shift (1981): Loony in bandages takes goth to new electronic extremes shock!  Or basically Monster Mash for the Batcave crowd?  You decide.

Dubsex – Swerve (1989):  Excellent dub rock with very northern overtones and surprisingly meaty drums.  However the band were not shall we say easy on the eye and never graced TOTP.

Interferon – Get Out Of London (1983): Hyperactive dance pop track about the daily grind.  Almost Costello like stream of wity invective and it samples an old BR train horn.

Icicle Works – Evangeline (1988): If you were playing rock in the late eighties you had to pump up the chouruses, sing a bit deeper, add blingy keyboards and still airplay was hard to come by.  This retelling of the Phantom Hitchhiker legend by the Liverpool band works the fomula without losing its soul.

World Domination Enterprises – Funkytown (1988): Yes they totally destroy the Ceasars Palace classic with smashed drums and grinding guitar noise, this was before post-modern irony made such gestures pointless.

So that’s the eighties innit.  They’ve not played any of these on Absolute but give ’em time.


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