Text message triggers unemployed blogger’s high school music bender

Behold the mullet, feel the mullet, be the mullet.

Behold the mullet, feel the mullet, be the mullet.

An old buddy of mine texted me last night. He’d been listening to the first Tears For Fears album, The Hurting, from forever ago. You may remember “Mad World” and the great cover of it that scored a Gears of War video game trailer. His favorite song from the album – “Suffer The Children” – starts out like the opening of a sex scene in an 80s porno. At least that’s what he tells me. I wouldn’t know. I was too busy studying and doing community service in high school to have viewed such unwholesome debauchery. But one 80s music reference was all it took to put me on an extended high school/college music jag.

It started yesterday, and I kind of thought it would end yesterday. These things generally run their course in about a day. But I heard this insidiously infectious song at the gym today, one that owes Toni Basil of “Mickey” fame an enormous debt of gratitude and has probably been adopted by every high school cheerleading troop between here and California. Maybe you’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve sung it to yourself. Maybe you’ve told your daughter to turn it down or you’ll disown her. It goes a little something like this…

They call me hell
They call me Stacey
They call me her
They call me Jane
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name

They call me quiet girl
But I’m a riot
Mary Jo Lisa
Always the same
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name
That’s not my name

It isn’t my favorite song ever. But it also doesn’t make me want to jam plastic sporks in my ears until blood washes away the pain. The Ting Tings song (like the name of the artist matters) is rather catchy actually, and it put me right back in 80s mode. Playing evil scientist and implanting that song in your brain is just a nice ancillary benefit. Some the stuff that made the playlist is still great, and some of it, well, isn’t and probably never was. All of these albums could use some serious remastering. I’m sure the music industry will get to it right after they figure out the whole digital thing. I’ll start holding my breath now.

So without further delay…

The ChurchGold Afternoon Fix
The Church is one of my favorite bands ever, still. They had one hit – “Under The Milky Way” – 20 years ago, and have been ignored ever since. I discovered this album on a friend’s dorm room shelf freshman year of college.

Tears For Fears – The Seeds Of Love
I couldn’t find The Hurting, so I went with this one. It’s got a little too much of that 80s over-produced thing going on. But how can you not love someone named Roland Orzabal?

The Stone RosesThe Stone Roses
This album indoctrinated a generation of anglophiles and holds up well to this day. Everything else they did kind of sucked.

RushPower Windows
I was a teenage boy. Is any more explanation needed?

New OrderTechnique
A Korean friend of mine insisted that only Asian people could like New Order. I thought that was ridiculous. It’s not like New Order was The Communards or some other such band. Besides, I always turned up “True Faith” to some insane volume whenever it came on the radio. So I bought this album on cassette – as one did then – pealed away the shrink wrap, breathed in that glorious new-tape smell and put it into heavy rotation.

Catherine WheelFerment
This is one of those albums that influences my tastes even today – Early Day Miners, The Black Angels, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and so forth. And it still f**king rocks! I saw Catherine Wheel at the HFStival in 1992. It was about 100 degrees with 90% humidity that day… real outdoor weather. Heat stroke only made the music better.

The CharlatansSome Friendly
Ever worked ground crew on a golf course? Ever cruised the empty fairways in a golf cart at 7:00 in the morning blasting British shoegazer music through ratty headphones? You should try it sometime.

The Ocean Blue – Cerulean
Ok, so they’re a little dippy. I can accept that. I’ve come to terms with my love of jangly pop made by Pennsylvanians trying to sound British. I suggest you do the same.

Mr. BigMr. Big
Not sure what I was thinking back then. The mullet, no doubt, drastically affected my judgment, and not for the better. I can’t tell if this album is so bad it’s good, or so bad it passes good on its way back to bad. We’ll just go with the latter.

Living ColourVivid
This album was my psych up music for the SATs, or maybe it was the PSATs. Either way, I can still picture cruising in my orange 1981 Chevy Citation to my high school early that Saturday morning. And wouldn’t you know it, it still holds up.

And an unfortunate, last-minute, post-jag entry…

Micheal JacksonThriller
Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa, Michael. Ma Ma Se, Ma Ma Sa, Ma Ma Coo Sa.

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  1. Jon wrote:

    I’ve been following but haven’t posted for months…Just had to say that I like your taste in music. Saw the bit about The Church and couldn’t agree more. I just saw them a couple of weeks ago here in SF and it took me right back to high school/college. Not sure if they are playing NY (I didn’t see it in my TONY that I still get even though I haven’t lived in NY for years). In any case, if the are you definitely have to catch them. Also, this is the summer of the “oldies” touring – Pogues, Happy Mondays, Psychedelic Furs, Echo and the Bunnymen. In any case, seeing the Ting Tings could basically be a freebie for you since it looks like they are playing the same day as My Bloody Valentine.

    Hope the best comes of the interview.

    Friday, July 3, 2009 at 4:47 am | Permalink
  2. Norm wrote:

    The Church is actually playing NYC this week in support of their new album, which is actually pretty good. I bought my ticket months ago, so I’ll be there. Should be a nice trip on the way-back machine.

    Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10:26 am | Permalink
  3. Jon wrote:

    The new stuff was good live. I still haven’t bought the album, though. They played a nice, diverse set of songs spanning pretty much their entire career. Have a good 4th!

    Friday, July 3, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
  4. Kevin wrote:

    “I want to be adored” by the Stone Roses is top 5 all time faves.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009 at 3:35 am | Permalink

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