Post by Dirty Epic on Nov 4, 2019 11:47:51 GMT
As the 1985 thread seems to be revived for the current ’88 repeats thought it would be right to create a thread in it’s on right and we’re near enough at the end of the ’88 repeats thought it’d be better to do a review/a retrospective of what’s been shown up to now and my thoughts on it all too.
So far the 1988 repeats have seen a bit of a culture clash between the more traditional pop acts in particular those pushed by PWL/SAW etc., old school rock/metal acts, and a more gothic inspired indie scene being caught up and being left behind by a newly emerging dance music scene which – for various reasons, takes control as the year progresses.
Won’t lie it is the dance scene I know some of you don’t really like which is what is doing it for me with these repeats. More so what it inspired than what it sort of is at this point as I’m fairly certain without the impetus it built in ’88 the likes of say Underworld, Chems, Orbital, Massive Attack, System 7, Leftfield, Aphex Twin, The Orb and labels like Warp and Soma etc. would not really have happened. As I mentioned previously not all of it has aged that well and lasted the test of time but it’s interesting that it inspired the likes of Bomb the Bass (Tim Simenon) to become a in demand producer who rescued Depeche Mode from near oblivion nearly a decade later which given the circumstances surrounding Depeche at the time he produced the excellent Ultra which I feel is a de-facto tripped out electronica album with late 90's Bomb the Bass feel to it and with many Massive Attack edges to it. Mark Brydon from Krush/The Funky Worm went on to form Moloko who like Simenon had more success with his work with Rosin Murphy in the 90’s/2000’s and Yazz producers Coldcut became as far removed as you could get from Yazz and this style of dance music with their own work in the 90’s/2000’s, with their label Ninja Tune and collaborations with other artists within the Hex collective. Even The KLF got in on the act in ’88 with their novelty song as The Timelords.
Many of the House/Acid/dance tunes which hit the Top 40 in ’88 are cheesier examples of what was around as again as I mentioned previously it was what influenced these from Chicago and Detroit and what was emerging from the underground and would hit the charts say a year or two years later from say the Manchester/the Northern Rave scene and the likes A Guy Called Gerald/808 State which would become the classic tracks from that period. However for all the cheese-factor that say S-Express and Bomb the Bass’ (Beat Dis) may have I still like them and they were faces from the scene who made it because of what was going and that scene being allowed to naturally develop rather than being forced upon/pushed to us (X-Factor etc.) with the way we listen and get music these days. Also as would become more of a factor when the rave scene kicked in from ’89 onwards the dance scene has IMO always been treated as a poor relation and with elements of suspicion and even downright prejudice from the music industry establishment in ways that say pop, indie, Hip Hop and R&B doesn't. I think a lot of that comes from the industry thinking the first wave of sample-dance hits being a fad that would fade away another a lot of the big dance hits – especially in the ‘90’s, tended to be one-off’s which were more aligned to a genre like Rave, Drum and Bass, Trance, Big Beat, House etc. rather than traditional long term pop acts labels could be develop and nurture over time. Also the dance scene themselves were victims of their own success with the major labels milking it dry and IMO turning out crap acts/emulations of what was going on underground when they realised it wasn’t going away and the emergence of the superclubs like Cream, Ministry of Sound, Gatecrasher etc. and ‘superstar DJ’s’ also milking punters for every last £ they could get from them… especially by the end of the ‘90’s! That said there were many on the dance scene – clubs, DJ’s, record labels etc. which took they opposite approach and created for me an exciting scene which was one of the most interesting and constantly changing things around at that time. It’s lasting legacy is it certainly allowed electronic music a mainstream platform it otherwise wouldn’t have had and like Punk gave people a D-I-Y ethic that you could do it yourself and do it well if you had that ambition in you!
Outside of this scene it was interesting the indie scene seemed a lot closer to the gothic/grunge style rather than the indie-dance/Madchester inspired stuff which would emerge a year later. Again the winds of change from say Jesus and Mary Chain, Souxsie and the Banshees, Fields of the Nephalim, The Mission, Sisters of Mercy etc. were beginning. The Smiths had split and Morrisey went solo with various success. Happy Mondays – probably due to Tony Wilson’s influence, were getting exposure on a lot of Granada based TV shows/Snub TV some of which went national, Stone Roses were changing their style/sound accordingly and many a ‘indie’ guitar band were flirting with and adding elements of dance music to their sound like Pop Will Eat Itself, Carter USM, Jesus Jones, Flowered Up, Primal Scream and perhaps most interestingly The Shamen who pretty much totally abandoned indie rock with light gothic touches to become almost entirely an electronic dance act from ’88 onwards – although IMHO En:Tact rather than Boss Drum was their best example of this transition from them. I always felt that the period indie (89-92) was the more interesting one than the ‘Britpop’ period but again each to their own and both period had good and bad records out back then! Even ‘grunge’ acts like The Pixies and to some extent R.E.M. and indie oddities like The Sugarcubes (Bjork) were bubbling up back then too.
That’s not to say traditional guitar based rock/indie didn’t have anything to say or good stuff in 1988 and it’s interesting that the likes of Jesus and Mary Chain and Echo and the Bunnymen didn’t feature on TOTP that year despite having reasonably decent outings in the Top 40 back then. Mind you some of the stuff TOTP did feature in that area like say The Mission, Sinead O’Connor, Aztec Camera, The Primitives and the 'infamous' All About Eve wasn’t really awe inspiring or changing things musically being honest. Even the likes of U2 with their Sun Studio’s inspired Rattle and Hum back then seemed totally flat and did/said nothing to me back then.
At least one good thing about ’88 was it did push new music forward and the dog awful 50’s rock’n’roll revival/cover versions from ’87 seemed to die out as the year progressed. The one exception the dog awful Fairground Attraction seemed to hit it big with their rock-a-billy inspired tosh back then. Sorry to anyone here who is a fan of theirs but Perfect, Find My Love etc. for me are more blander than watching paint dry and as for Edi Reader’s singing (sic) please. Glad they faded away from ’89 onwards hope not to hear/see these again!
Hard rock/metal wise a bit horses of courses for me. The likes of AC/DC and to a lesser degree Iron Maiden, Guns n Roses, Anthrax etc. were doing some decent stuff around this period but thought the soft-rock likes of Poison, Skid Row, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Whitesnake etc. were very bland, very much a corporate rock product mainly sold to the American market. As I’ve said they seemed a bit of an anachronism compared to what would emerge within the indie scene over coming the years and I felt hard rock had lost it’s edge, it’s rawness back then until Nivarna truly emerged in '91. I was surprised to find many peers/younger people still being fans of this stuff - in particular soft metal etc. back then which I though strange considering how much new and changing music was around then – I suppose each to their own?
Despite ’88 being considered the year of dance music/the summer of love etc. there was still an awful lot of traditional bland pop around back then. Again sorry and no disrespect to any fans on here but there’s plenty of examples of bland almost factory-fodder produced pop from say Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, PWL & S/A/W acts like Kylie and Jason, Sinitta, Rick Astley, Banarama, Kim Wilde, Voice of the Beehive, Belinda Carlisle, Gloria Estefan, Robin Beck, T’Pau etc., the boy bands like Bros, The Passadenas, Brother Beyond, Wet Wet Wet etc. and absolute tosh like Breathe, Deacon Blue Glen Medeiros, Enya, Milli Vanilli etc. which hit big in the charts in ’88 and you wonder why. Watching some of the repeats I wonder can I get the 3-4 minutes of my life back that I say had to endure Kylie’s The Locomotion (sic) in order to see say Souxsie, Bomb the Bass or off the wall good stuff like Womack and Womack for example… Still the pop-crap and the good stuff from the underground has always been and will always be around and I’m sure the repeats from say 1979, 1985, 1996 or 2004 would have similar examples to this too if we’re being honest.
Again the beauty of TOTP is a few underground gems and oddities will mix with homogenised pop they normally serve up and ’88 is no exception from stuff like Joyce Sims, Taylor Dayne, Jellybean, Depeche Mode, The Funky Worm and to some extent the Pet Shop Boys, Everything But The Girl, INXS, The Style Council, Marc Almond, Scritti Politi, Yello, Eddy Grant, Ziggy Marley and New Order all get featured quite prominently. That’s what sets it apart from music shows now as they seem to focus on one thing or one particular act, label etc. rather than having a mix of things that TOTP did and did so well in comparison.
The remaining repeats should be all done over the next month or so, we’ll get a few good things like New Order’s infamous ecstasy inspired performance of Fine Time, Inner City’s Good Life Neneh Cherry’s Buffalo Stance, Pet Shop Boys Left to My Own Devices and Humanoid’s Stakker Humanoid alongside many a turkey too… the worst thing we’ve got coming is the dog awful Mistletoe and Wine from Cliff… the only saving grace at least it’s not the Millennium Prayer. Again it’s all relative the stuff I’m talking up here you may hate and some of the stuff I’m slating you may love but for all it’s faults these TOTP repeats are still worth watching and I’m enjoying seeing the stuff I may have missed and liked back then around the stuff I can’t stand too. Mind you it’s a shame they never showed the promo video for Stakker Humanoid although I could imagine the complaint calls if they had…
Hopefully it will be on to 1989 and beyond for these TOTP repeats and whether you like it or not ’89 represents a great deal of change to what went before for the music industry establishment in the 80’s!
Hope I’ve not gone on too much here and any thoughts.