It’s day 3 of the Now! reviews!
Now! #3 was released on 23rd July 1984, so hopefully its summer release means that there won’t be any Christmas music on this one.
Track 1: Duran Duran – The Reflex
What was it I said yesterday? Yeah. Insert daily ‘I love Duran Duran’ statement here. This one, as ever, is brilliant from start to finish – the backing vocals, the slightly mad lyrics, the chant-along bits on the chorus. Love it.
Track 2: Nik Kershaw – I Won’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me
I find this one a bit repetitive. Not Nik Kershaw’s most exciting song.
Track 3: Sister Sledge – Thinking Of You
Not hugely keen on the disco stuff that was still kicking about in the ’80s anyway, and this one’s not even danceable in my opinion.
Track 4: Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark – Locomotion
Love me some OMD. This one’s a bit bouncier and dafter than their usual stuff, but that’s no bad thing.
Track 5: Ultravox – Dancing With Tears In My Eyes
Good song – that short guitar intro is great, as is the tune in general – but the nuclear-war-themed video is really depressing!
Track 6: Howard Jones – Pearl In The Shell
Nice upbeat intro, nice synth line, nice vocals, and I do love a sax solo! Fairly standard Howard Jones.
Track 7: Blancmange – Don’t Tell Me
Great synthpop track – and I would expect no less from Blancmange.
Track 8: Phil Collins – Against All Odds (Take A Look At Me Now)
Boring ballad. Westlife and Mariah Carey did an even worse version of this in 1999, a pointless ’90s cover* if ever there was one.
Track 9: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
Great party song! Another nuclear-war-themed video that I find tough to watch despite its cleverness, because the Reagan and Gorbachev impersonators are really ‘uncanny valley’. I guess we know what was on everyone’s minds in 1984. This is the reason I decided to illustrate these posts with family photos rather than current events of the time.
Track 10: Grandmaster Flash and Grandmaster Melle Mel – White Lines (Don’t Do It)
A good head-nodder, with a great vocal, but not really my kind of thing. I do quite like the fact that ostensibly anti-drug songs were a big thing in the ’80s (especially in comparison to the endless, boring and crass drug references in modern-day chart music), though I’m not sure how tongue-in-cheek this song’s message was.
Track 11: The Specials – Nelson Mandela
Another one that was used to good effect in Britain’s Got The Pop Factor. This one always makes me think of the time in 1989 when my parents took me to the ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ march on Glasgow Green (I still have the badge).
Track 12: Womack & Womack – Love Wars
I wasn’t familiar with this one, but I like the atmosphere of the verse, before the chorus gets a bit haphazard.
Track 13: The Style Council – You’re The Best Thing
I find this one pretty dull, and the chorus annoys me for some reason.
Track 14: Bob Marley & The Wailers – One Love/People Get Ready
Classic sway-in-your-chair track. Love this one!
Track 15: Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
Wonderful synthpop – that stunning intro! A favourite, and also a regular feature of Geth’s DJ setlists.
Track 16: Queen – I Want To Break Free
I’m not going to call this one a ‘guilty pleasure’, ’cause I don’t feel guilty about loving it at all. Everything about it is awesome, from the epic intro to the Coronation Street homage in the video.
Track 17: Cyndi Lauper – Time After Time
Now this is a good ballad – nothing dreary about this one. Beautiful tune, lovely instrumentals.
Track 18: Alison Moyet – Love Resurrection
This one reminds me of long car journeys as a kid with my dad’s Alison Moyet CD on the car stereo (I found out last Christmas that my brother vehemently hated that CD, but I really quite liked it). I love Yazoo – as I mentioned yesterday, Only You is my all-time favourite song. I’m not quite as keen on Moyet’s solo material, but it’s still good stuff.
Also, nowadays whenever I hear the lyric ‘show me one direction, I will not question again‘, I always think of One Direction. Thanks, 21st century, for ruining things yet again.
Track 19: The Bluebells – Young At Heart
Another song (following Relax yesterday) that was re-released in 1993 and hence ended up on my Greatest Hits Of 1993 compilation! Maybe it was 1993 that was the first true era of ’80s nostalgia. I don’t blame people for wanting to get going with that as early as possible.
Track 20: Bananarama – Robert De Niro’s Waiting
I quite like this one, but then I’ve never come across a Bananarama track I didn’t like. I remember knowing the title of this song for ages before I actually heard it, ’cause it’s mentioned in the blurb for Love In The First Degree on Now! #10 (we’ll get to that a week from today).
Track 21: Propaganda – Dr Mabuse
I wasn’t familiar with this one, but I like its dark, epic atmosphere and lyrics.
Track 22: Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It
Not my favourite Tina Turner song, but I do like the epic vocals on the chorus and the snatches of synth during the bridge.
Track 23: The Flying Pickets – When You’re Young And In Love
It’s no Only You, but still a nice a cappella cover.
Track 24: Wham! – Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go
A classic! A perfect party tune, and then there’s the colourful video, which was one of those videos that really defined the ’80s, with the neon clothing and the Katharine Hamnett t-shirts (appropriately, I’m wearing her more recent Choose Love design today!)
Track 25: Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up
The harmonica instrumental annoys me, and I usually like harmonica. I’m not a huge Thompson Twins fan anyway, but I’m really not keen on this one.
Track 26: The Weather Girls – It’s Raining Men
We’re at a wedding reception, and I’m on the dancefloor again! You can’t go wrong with this fabulous party track.
There have been various pointless ’90s and ’00s covers of this one. I’ll forgive them, as it’s always a banger no matter who covers it, but the original is far and away the best.
Track 27: Gary Glitter – Dance Me Up
Um, I’m quite surprised that I’m actually able to stream Gary Glitter on Spotify given what we know about him now, but I’m guessing he doesn’t actually get any of the streaming royalties. Um, right? I should probably look into that.
The song itself isn’t much to write home about, certainly not compared to his early ’70s glam rock stuff.
Track 28: The Art Company – Susanna
The Art Company, in contrast, haven’t put their stuff on Spotify, so I’ve done the uber-lazy ‘tribute version on the playlist’ for this review.
It’s a good song, actually. Maybe I’d better give the actual Art Company version another listen sometime!
Track 29: Madness – One Better Day
Bit of a slow one for Madness! Nice tune though.
Track 30: David Sylvian – Red Guitar
I was only previously familiar with David Sylvian’s stuff with Japan, not any of his solo tracks. This one’s a bit dull, but the instrumentals are nice.
*In my terminology (and, I imagine, that of quite a few other people), a ‘pointless cover’ is one that doesn’t change enough things from the original track to make it worth recording a new version, and is hence just a shameless cash-in. The ’90s were absolutely terrible for this, but it’s happened frequently in other decades as well.