I remember seeing Guadalcanal Diary albums filed in a section of Jelly’s Books and Music reserved for “modern rock”, the precursor of “alternative rock” that would distinguish itself from “classic rock”. I wouldn’t explore the band’s albums till nearly 30 years later. Of their four albums released in the ’80s, 2 x 4 is one of the two essentials, the other being Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man.
Perfume Genius, No Shape
I’ve stayed away from Perfume Genius because the 30-second samples I’d hear of various tracks made me conclude I’d be bored at full-length. No Shape garnered a lot of favorable press in 2018, and the thrift store price point convinced me to jump in. I’m glad I did.
Robert Palmer, Secrets
You should own this album for “Doctor, Doctor” alone, but like the rest of Palmer’s early output, this album is reliably funky.
SUPER JUNKY MONKEY, AIETOH
SUPER JUNKY MONKEY albums can get intense for their length, so this four-track EP is the perfect encapsulation of the band. I grabbed this release from the Evil Sharing Networks in the early 2000s and pined for the day I could afford to order it from overseas. Nearly 20 years later, I would get it on Amazon Marketplace for under $5.
Toto IV gets most of the accolades, and while Hydra didn’t capture the mind share of its predecessor, it has some solid tracks, including one of my favorite Toto singlse, “99.”
A decade ago, I wrote a series of entries ranking my favorite albums from 1985 to 2004. My collection has expanded greatly since then, particularly in the last five years. So I wanted to see what has changed in 10 years.
The 1983 Favorite Edition list is not terribly cosmopolitan. And why should it? I would have been 11 years old at the time, and pre-teens, even precocious ones, aren’t renowned for sophistication.
Eurythmics, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Clannad, Magical Ring
U2, Live Under a Blood Red Sky
David Bowie, Let’s Dance
Duran Duran, Seven and the Ragged Tiger
Huey Lewis and the News, Sports
The Police, Synchronicity
10,000 Maniacs, Secrets of the I Ching
The Waitresses, Bruiseology
Other favorites from the year:
Culture Club, Colour By Numbers
Violent Femmes, Violent Femmes
Cyndi Lauper, She’s So Unusual
The Pointer Sisters, Break Out
MTV was the big driver of music in this era, but I wouldn’t have known it because my parents refused to subscribe to cable. The household wouldn’t welcome cable TV till well after I had moved out after college … in 1997.
So my exposure to music in 1983 was limited to American Bandstand and Solid Gold. For a short while, a syndicated TV show called Prime Time Videos aired on broadcast affiliates, but it would not last.
I was still heavily into Pac-Man, even though my parents refused to welcome a game console or computer into the house. It’s a wonder how I’ve made computer programming my career.
So if this list seems particularly safe, it’s a reflection of the limited avenues of consumption. It’s probably why I have such a voracious appetite now.