Madredeus could loosely be said to be a Portuguese folk band. They come from a tradition of fado music, which is a distinctive style of mixed guitar/stringed instruments, and depressing/beautiful female vocals. Take your pick.
The style is incredibly old, soaked through with centuries worth of tear-soaked tradition.
This one has a xylophone or marimba of some kind, adding further notes of pleasant but haunting contemplation.
The song has a soothing quality that is reminiscent of Muzak, or elevator music. Which isn’t to say that this song is bland – quite the contrary. It’s a very rich, full and deep song.
The original ’82 mix of this is okay. But this blog is not in the business of okay. It’s all about the bangers here!
This version is peak 80s – so if you like 80s music, you’ll no doubt love this. And quite possibly have done some dubious karaoke to it.
As themes for 80s pop songs go, ‘Valerie’ is fairly standard. Guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy misses girl. However, the song was written, apparently, with a certain singer called Valerie Carter in mind, whose star was fading due to drug abuse.
The ’87 version did a lot better than the original, because it’s a lot better. It reached number 9 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
I would argue that this represents a zenith of the Genesis musical history. A lot of people would disagree…
However, that’s in great part because Genesis has a fragmented fanbase as a result of their development over the years.
As I’ve touched on previously, 1981’s classic Abacab was a big change for Genesis. It marks the real start of the Banks/Rutherford/Collins act held by many to be the band’s golden age.
A big part of that change was driven by Phil Collins. You can really hear his trademarks on this one – the familiar vocals, the stadium filling drums, the dark lyrics.
Abacab was written specifically to avoid the band becoming to stale, and drove at a more pop oriented direction. Certainly, this isn’t the most complex song musically, but it packs a punch!
The track is about a troubled homeless man who harasses passersby. I think it’s an effective take on the terrible loneliness of many homeless people – a side to living on the streets which is often forgotten about.
‘Man On The Corner’ featured first on Acacab, and was released a year later as a single, in ’82.
Joy Division are generally acknowledged to be years ahead of their time. As with many of the transitional bands of the late 70s and early 80s, they often get lumped with the amorphous ‘post-punk’ label.
But, in fairness, I’m not sure what else you could call this.
It’s dark. Moody. Slightly unnerving. More than a little sludgy?
If getting stuck in a bog late at night had a soundtrack, it could conceivably sound like this.
I love it!
The thunderous bass, the satanic vocals, the off key guitars, the manic drums: this song is fantastic!
You can find the track on their 1979 debut effort, the iconic Unknown Pleasures.
Having posted a disco hit from 1975 yesterday, it seems only fair to include another. This is technically funk, but it makes me want to wear some flares and strut my stuff – not that I could ever pull that off!
I’m not sure if there are many songs catchier than this. This is very catchy indeed…
So catchy, in fact, that this track reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100.
I’ll tell you a couple of interesting facts about this song. Its extended version stretches out to almost 18 minutes – Pink Floyd would be proud!
The song was also banned by the BBC, because it was 1975, and the song is a fairly suggestive one even by today’s standards.
You can google the details of how the song was recorded. I won’t put them here. Regardless to say, Donna Summer was concerned that the song would tarnish her image.
It is absolutely a timeless track, though. Produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte, ‘Love To Love You Baby’ is deservedly one of the biggest disco hits. The bassline is cracking, the ‘normal vocals’ are breathlessly sultry, and in all – it’s up there with Moroder’s best productions.
The song was the title track of Summer’s second album, and reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100.