“Only Shallow” is a song by the shoegazing band My Bloody Valentine. It is the opening track and second single from the band’s second studio album, Loveless (1991), released on Creation Records. Written by Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher, “Only Shallow” features Shields’ distinctive guitar sound—a technique known as “glide guitar”—characterized by heavy use of a tremolo bar while strumming.
“The Word Girl” is a UK hit single for British soul group Scritti Politti. It was released in 1985 as a single from the group’s album, Cupid & Psyche 85. The song has a similar sound to many of the other group’s songs, with a smooth R&B-inspired sound with Green Gartside’s soulful vocals on top. On release, this song became the band’s biggest UK hit single, climbing to #6 on the UK Singles Chart.
The album’s penultimate song for me has always been “Absolute (Version),” which I rewound parts of so often as a teenager that my cassette of C&S85 snapped (I just ordered a replacement from Columbia House). More than any other portion of the song, I rewound over and over the chunk starting at 3:40, what to most might sound like just a series of keyboard chords, nothing too exciting. But it seemed to come so suddenly, without any warning, this gorgeous, rich tonal progression. It’s so shiny, so gleaming-in-the-sunlight, a convertible on a hot day. That series of chords comes back at the 4:38 mark, to back up some lusciously layered vocals, and does so perfectly. From there, “Absolute (Version)” loops its “love you” backing vocals ad infinitum to the song’s end, nothing so special. But those chords, those singular chords! [Source]
“Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)” is the first hit single for British soul group Scritti Politti. It is, as the title says, a tribute to Aretha Franklin and displayed the group’s smooth soul and R&B sound to a wide commercial audience, at least in the UK, where the single peaked at #10 in the charts, becoming the group’s first Top 10 entry. This song appears on the group’s album Cupid & Psyche 85 and was produced by Arif Mardin.
“Graveyard Girl” is a song by French electronic/dream pop act M83. Written by Anthony Gonzalez with his brother Yann, it was released in April 2008 as the second single from M83′s fifth studio album, Saturdays = Youth. Anthony Gonzalez cited English bands such as Tears for Fears and Cocteau Twins, as well as John Hughes teen films The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles, as inspirations for Saturdays = Youth. A girl resembling Molly Ringwald appears on the album cover, and the lyrics and music video for “Graveyard Girl” further highlight these influences. “I wanted to have the feeling of a teenager mixed with this period of the Eighties,” Gonzalez said. The song tells the story of a goth girl Gonzalez once knew who “worships Satan” but “dreams of a sister like Molly Ringwald.” Spin’s Mosi Reeves called “Graveyard Girl” one of the album’s “few compelling songs.” Dave Hughes of Slant Magazine said the song is “certainly the most typically, successfully pop moment this difficult, often transcendent act has ever produced.” Pitchfork’s Amy Phillips wrote that “Anthony Gonzalez makes the teen years seem idyllic, a time in life when all emotion is pure and beautiful,” and that the song is “melodramatic, overblown, and even a little bit silly. But then again, so is high school.” Jer Fairall of PopMatters suggested that on “Graveyard Girl”, M83 found “pure pop perfection by dipping into the pool of mid-’80s synth-pop. “Treble’s Tyler Parks noted: “It is quite possible that no one has ever sung quite so sweetly of someone worshipping Satan.”
A seminal New Wave synthpop album, Duty Now for the Future was eventually heralded as one of the first pop/rock or AOR releases of a major record label to rely heavily on synthesizers, which went on to be widely used in the subsequent New Wave genre of the 1980s. As an offshoot of punk rock, New Wave music had consisted primarily of guitar-based songs derived from traditional rock and roll and blues scales and riffs, as represented by Devo’s punk contemporaries The Sex Pistols, The Ramones and The Clash. Legendary Punk Rock icon Henry Rollins is among the many musicians that praise the album’s innovations. Rollins’ short-lived Infinite Zero reissue label (an offshoot of American Recordings) was responsible for the first U.S. CD release of Duty Now for the Future in 1994. The album had been continually overlooked by original label Warner Brothers. The 1995 US CD issue on Infinite Zero Archive/American Recordings (the first American version on CD) came with two bonus tracks: the “Secret Agent Man” single b-side “Soo Bawlz” (written by Mark Mothersbaugh) and the Brian Eno-produced “Penetration in the Centrefold,” (written by G.V. Casale and M. Mothersbaugh), originally the B-side of the UK release of “The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprize.”
[via Henrik Møll on Bongorama]
‘Hours…’ is a 1999 album by David Bowie. It was released October 4, 1999 on Virgin Records. This was Bowie’s final album for the EMI sub-label. In January 2005, Bowie’s new label ISO Records reissued ‘Hours…’ as a double CD set with the second CD comprising remixes, alternate versions, and single B-sides.
[via Benny Woitowitz]
Passion: Music for The Last Temptation of Christ is a musical album released in 1989 by Peter Gabriel. It is his second soundtrack and eighth album overall. It was originally composed as the soundtrack for the film The Last Temptation of Christ, but Gabriel spent several months after the film’s release further developing the music, finally releasing it as a full-fledged album instead of a “movie soundtrack”. It is seen as a landmark in the popularisation of world music, and it won a Grammy in 1990 for Best New Age Album. It was remastered with most of Gabriel’s catalogue in 2002. As the soundtrack for the film, Gabriel used the resources of the organisation he founded, WOMAD, to bring together musicians from the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. He worked with them to create music meant to enhance the mood of the film, but also added a modern ambient musical touch to the original pieces, producing a musical work that has influenced many musicians in the years since its release. Passion introduced many listeners to such artists as Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Youssou N’Dour, L. Shankar, and Baaba Maal. The cover art for the album, Drawing study for Self Image II (1987), is a mixed media composition by the artist Julian Grater.
[via Thomas Tingstrup]
The Flying Lizards were an English experimental rock band, who were formed in 1976 in England. They are best remembered as New wave one-hit wonders, thanks to their deliberately eccentric cover of Barrett Strong’s “Money”, which became a UK and US chart success in 1979. Formed by and led by record producer David Cunningham, the group was a loose collective of avant-garde and free improvising musicians, such as David Toop and Steve Beresford as instrumentalists, plus Deborah Evans-Stickland, Patti Palladin and Vivien Goldman as main vocalists. It also included the painter Michael Upton. Cunningham’s recording contract with Virgin Records was for only two singles, but when “Money” started to climb the charts they signed him to a new contract. The group released their debut album The Flying Lizards late in 1979. The album included two songs – “HerStory” and “The Window” – written and sung by Goldman. Their single issues included their postmodern cover versions of songs such as Eddie Cochran’s “Summertime Blues” and “Money”.
During an interim period, the band released the single This Is Not A Love Song in 1983, the song’s lyric lampooning the ire from some fans and the music press over the band’s movement towards a more commercial style. The song’s title was inspired by a line in the song “Her Story” (1979) by Virgin label stablemates the Flying Lizards, about bands ‘selling out’ their artistic principles for commercial success (“But you can still make money, by singing sweet songs of love… this is a love song”). Ironically, it gave the band their biggest international hit single, reaching #5 in the UK singles charts and #12 in the Netherlands. A re-recorded version with harsher vocals and a brass section was included on the album This Is What You Want… This Is What You Get.
Cover version by US band Thievery Corporation: