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The Ultimate 80s Retro Video ?

Normally, when a pop era is exhumed, the gravediggers tend to exaggerate its defining characteristics; thus, you would be led to beleive that everybody under the age of 24 in 1969 looked like a hippie, or that (as in The Wedding Singer) it was perfectly normal for grown men to wear Michael Jackson-style jackets in 1983, when in fact, it was only a small minority that was actually “with it.” However, a few hours ago I saw a video on VH-1 Classic that not only captured the early synthpop era, but trumped all its latter-day imitators in its use of the signifiers of that halycon age. It's for a song called “Einstein A Go-Go” by Landscape. And no, that album title is not a joke (at least on a certain level). The song features yelping vocals, early Fairlight (digital synth/sampler) percussion, and the all-important background sense of nuclear dread (the essential ingredient often missed by today's young'uns), while the visual elements include bad hair, vixens of various styles, a mad-scientist lab set, strange, blocky geometric cut-out musical instruments, and another flimsy set that looks like the colorized version of warped painted sets used in M. I just could notbeleive my own ears and eyeballs.

As you may well expect, somebody in Japan remembers them.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 24th, 2002 06:56 am (UTC)
the visual elements include bad hair, vixens of various styles, a mad-scientist lab set...

She blinded me with SCIENCE!
Jun. 24th, 2002 08:08 am (UTC)
Good heavens Miss Sakamoto
Guilty as charged, I was a major Thomas Dolby fan back in the day. I have pretty much everything he ever did under his own name (until the Aliens Ate My Buick), and some other obscurities like the Fallout Club; see this page) for a good discography. I also had that Bruce Wooley and the Camera Club album before I knew who Dolby was.

Man, that discography is good; it turns out that the main guy in Landscape remixed “Hot Sauce.” And people were worried that all the important things would be forgotten !

(no subject) - all_askew - Jun. 24th, 2002 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 24th, 2002 09:45 am (UTC)
Re: All My Tubes and Wires...
I feel ya. Dolby was just not a synth geek (although he knows what he's doing), he had a good appreciation of songwriting and the human touch in music. Do you ever think George Clinton would do an album with Howard Jones ?

Besides Clinton, he has also worked with other artists I like such as Andy Partridge, Joan Armatrading, and Robyn Hitchcock.

Jun. 24th, 2002 10:44 am (UTC)
Re: He gets these urges
I was also a big fan. I used to have a few fairly obscure early singles with rare b-sides like "Therapy/Growth".

Dolby also worked with Lene Lovich, co-writing the wonderful "New Toy". And don't forget Foreigner, whom he gave that timely synthpop edge on Foreigner 4. (Remember "Urgent"?) That was before his own record came out, when no one had ever heard of him.
Jun. 24th, 2002 11:12 am (UTC)
Leipzig Is Calling You, Henry
Wow, I forgot about Lene Lovich and Foreigner. The man certainly got around !
Jun. 24th, 2002 11:17 am (UTC)
Re: Leipzig Is Calling You, Henry
to keep my head expanding!
Jun. 24th, 2002 11:20 am (UTC)
Re: Leipzig Is Calling You, Henry
Try to think of nothing.
(no subject) - all_askew - Jun. 24th, 2002 11:35 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 24th, 2002 12:12 pm (UTC)
Let's relive the early 80s
Although somehow I don't think Human Sexual Response is ever going to be featured on VH-1 Classic !
Jun. 24th, 2002 08:48 pm (UTC)
Re: I licked Betty Ford's Boots

(btw, that's one of the Olde Boston cds I own, in case you don't.)
(no subject) - all_askew - Jun. 24th, 2002 09:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 24th, 2002 09:19 pm (UTC)
Re: I licked Betty Ford's Boots
Me too, and yes they were. I guess I know ONE thing I'm burning for you...
Jun. 24th, 2002 09:22 pm (UTC)
Re: I licked Betty Ford's Boots
Nice skull.
Jun. 26th, 2002 08:30 am (UTC)
Re: I licked Betty Ford's Boots
Last night I digitized In a Roman Mood, which has not yet been reissued on CD. I will try to get to MP3ing that tonight.
Jun. 24th, 2002 10:57 am (UTC)
BTW, dunno about videos, but to my mind the single song that most ultimately sums up all the vapid cliches of synthpop is Trans X's "Living In Video". I remember even at the time, when it was in heavy rotation on KROQ, enumerating all of the individual elements it overused -- saccharine synth hook, cheesy vocoder effects, lyrics about videos...

Animotion's "Obsession" is another candidate for Most Cliched Synthpop Song (and boy, did that one have an awful video.)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )


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