Amoeblog

(Wherein Spring Fever takes over the jukebox.)

Posted by Job O Brother, March 28, 2011 04:25pm | Post a Comment

Well my little dreamlets, we’re ten days into Spring, and it’s already clear to me what music is going to carry me through into Summer – it’s all about synthetics. Synthpop, that is, of the late 70’s and early 80’s variety.

This amuses me, because for much of my life I detested a lot of the music I’m going to celebrate here. A lot of the hatred stemmed from being so unhappy in the 1980’s; by association, the music “sounded” like unhappiness. Think of it this way: When was the last time you were taking a shower and felt like listening to the soundtrack to Psycho? Exactly.

Some say that synthpop began when Giorgio Moroder teamed up with Donna Summer and created the hit single "I Feel Love." Calling this the “start” of synthpop is convenient, but an over-simplification, because so much came before that informed it. What can be said is that the song was influential, both in terms of inspiring artists who would go on to develop the synthpop genre, and give mainstream audiences a taste for it.

What follows are some synthpop songs that bring me joy. Many can be claimed by other sub-genres of music, but they're all related. Some are guilty pleasures – the sonic equivalent to a Snickers bar, in that they are bad for me, but make me feel great for the duration I’m imbibing – and others I stand by as solid accomplishments. I’m also putting a spell on them: listening to these songs will make you feel a little ticklish in the deepest part of your brain, which will result in your not hating your fellow man as much (even though they totally deserve your hate). Enjoy!

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Stories Of A Young Gomez, Pt. 2

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, January 27, 2008 03:08am | Post a Comment
When I was in eighth grade, I would come home from school and this would be on the television.:



No Prince, no Funkadelic, not even metal or punk rock. A bunch of bad 80’s videos with a bunch of rich suburban kids in the audience doing that new wave dance. It was depressing, but since they took off the reruns of The White Shadow and replaced it with MV3, there was nothing else better to watch.

There was one song I wanted to like. It was Thomas Dolby’s She Blinded Me With Science. The video was so goofy I was embarrassed to like it, even though it was funky.  A few days later I went to the park and all the breakers were pop locking it to it. I figured if they liked it, it wasn’t so bad. My sister had the first Thomas Dolby record and I started to listen to it more than her. Outside of the annoying song, Europa, I liked it. Still, I kept in the closet about my love for the TB, except for a few friends.

When the second Thomas Dolby album, The Flat Earth came out, I bought it right away. I didn’t like the single, Hyperactive. It sounded like a weak attempt at The Talking Heads. The rest of the album was surprisingly chill and somewhat acoustic. It took me a bit off time to like this album, but at the end, I did. The song that hit me was Dolby’s cover of Dan Hick And His Hot Licks’ I Scare Myself. It was haunting with a slight Jazzy Brazilian feel to it. I soon went on the hunt to find the original version. When I found it I noticed that it was very different. Dolby’s version was haunting, yet calm and melodic. Dan Hicks original version sounded frantic and straight up paranoid, thus validating the title. It was a little too much for me to take at the time. Still, there was something about it that I liked.

I noticed that Dan Hick was on Blue Thumb Records. I started to buy other artists that were on Blue Thumb Records as well. Blue Thumb introduced me to The Last Poets, The Crusaders, Hugh Masakela, Gabor Szabo & Captain Beefheart. All those records all came from that Thomas Dolby connection. There was another artist that was on Blue Thumb that I had heard about but could never find his records. His name was Sun Ra.

(To be continued)