Category Archives: Pop

Prince – Raspberry Beret (1985)

YouTubeSpotifyiTunesDiscogs

Good morning. In 1985, Prince released his psychedelic LP Around The World In A Day. It features ‘Raspberry Beret’ which was originally recorded in 1982. It stands as one of the finest examples of his Minneapolis sound, blending his groove with some unconventional arrangements incl. finger-cymbals, a string section and a harmonica. Who can ever get tired of that chorus?

Tagged ,

Sofi Tukker – Drinkee (2016)

YouTubeSpotifyiTunesDiscogs

New York duo Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern (aka Sofi Tukker) are probably best known for their song ‘Best Friend’ which featured in an Apple commercial. But it’s not half as good as their single ‘Drinkee’, all sung by Hawley-Weld in perfect Brazilian Portuguese, with a video that catches the eye. It was released on the independent NYC label Ultra Music in 2016.

Tagged , , , ,

Madonna – Borderline (1983)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

Madonna came up with ‘Borderline’ with R&B writer-producer Reggie Lucas while apartment-sitting for artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. She was connected, ambitious and clearly across the pop zeitgeist. The song would feature on her eponymous debut LP and would kickstart the metamorphosis from boho punk to global superstar. It still is her best song, if not her best singing.

Tagged , , ,

Roxy Music – More Than This (1982)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

Good morning peeps. The lush and sophisticated sound of Roxy Music in 1982 is hard to date. Bryan Ferry does his smooth jazz thang, to a synthesised production that’s immersive (but not overdone). The bit that makes the track so indelible is Phil Manzanera’s punctuated guitar to Andy Newmark relentlessly steady drum beat. To all intent and purposes, the Avalon album would be the band’s swan song and ‘More Than This’ opened the show.

Tagged , , , ,

The Thrills – Saturday Night (2004)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

I’ve said it before on this blog… The Thrills sounded like California via Dublin. Inspired by a trip to L.A., they released their second LP Let’s Bottle Bohemia in 2004. The radio waves were awash with their sound and sun-kissed scene setting: “Is this what they call love?/Is this what they call love?/Is this what they call love on a Saturday night?”

Tagged ,

Early Eyes – Marigolds (2020)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

Early Eyes remind me of so many funky indie bands that have passed before – and in a good way. The Blow Monkeys, The Thrills, Phum Viphurit… This up-and-coming five-piece hail from Minneapolis and bring an upbeat sound to accompany Jake Berglove’s vocals:”I can tell it’s you by your footsteps in those shoes/Someday I’ll find the time to see marigolds bloom/I can tell it’s you by your footsteps in those shoes/Someday I’ll find the time to see marigolds bloom.”

Tagged ,

9 of the best – sounds of 1987

Another bank holiday and some recent nostalgia about Public Enemy…  it doesn’t take much for me to start curating. These are my favourite sounds of 1987, in no particular order (save a desire to kick off with ‘Bring The Noise’!).

Public Enemy – Bring The Noise

Chris Rea – Josephine (La Version Française)

Phuture – Acid Tracks

Prince – If I Was Your Girlfriend

U2 – Where The Streets Have No Name

Eric B. And Rakim – I Know You Got Soul

Rhythim Is Rhythim – Strings of Life

New Order – True Faith

Fleetwood Mac – Big Love

###

Honourable mentions also go to: Ce Ce Rogers for ‘Someday‘; Frankie Knuckles & Jamie Principle for ‘Your Love’; The Cure for ‘Just Like Heaven’; Sugarcubes for ‘Birthday’; R.E.M. ‎for ‘Its The End Of The World As We Know It’; Aztec Camera for ‘Somewhere In My Heart‘; INXS for ‘Need You Tonight‘; Deacon Blue ‎for ‘Dignity‘; Depeche Mode for ‘Behind The Wheel‘ and ‘Never Let Me Down Again’; Stone Roses for ‘Sally Cinnamon‘; Terence Trent D’Arby for ‘Sign Your Name‘; U2 for ‘With Or Without You’; Eric B. And Rakim for ‘Paid In Full‘ and ‘I Ain’t No Joke‘, Public Enemy ‎for ‘Rebel Without A Pause‘; Prince for ‘Sign O’ The Times’; and Pet Shop Boys ‘What Have I Done To Deserve This?‘.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Aztec Camera – Somewhere In My Heart (1987)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

I wasn’t all Samuel-cool in 1987. To prove the point, let’s switch from Public Enemy to Aztec Camera. I bloody loved this song – and to these ears, ‘Somewhere In My Heart’ still delivers the perfect 1980s pop sound. It features on Love, the band’s third studio album.

Tagged , ,

9 of the best – sounds of 1988

Easter bank holiday and I’ve had the opportunity to look back… way back. 1988 was the year that I wore out my vinyl copy of Public Enemy’s It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, but in reality most of its standout singles had dropped the year before. But in a similar vein, 1988 was also the year that Inner City released their classic house/chart crossover singles, prior to their big LP, Paradise, a year later.

Inner City – Big Fun

Dinosaur Jr. – Freak Scene

Happy Mondays – Wrote For Luck

The Fall – Big New Prinz

Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock – It Takes Two

The Waterboys – Fisherman’s Blues

The Style Council – Changing The Guard

Pixies – Where Is My Mind?

R.E.M. – Hairshirt

###

Honourable mentions also go to: Rhythim Is Rhythim for ‘It Is What It Is‘; The Todd Terry Project for ‘Weekend’ and ‘Bango (To The Batmobile‘; Kariya for ‘Let Me Love You For Tonight‘; Prince for ‘Alphabet Street’; Phase II for ‘Reachin’; Public Enemy for ‘Don’t Believe The Hype’; Sugar Bear for ‘Don’t Scandalize Mine’; A Guy Called Gerald for ‘Voodoo Ray (Paradise Ballroom Mix)‘; Inner City for ‘Good Life’; and Neneh Cherry ‎for ‘Buffalo Stance’.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

The Districts – Hey Jo (2020)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere is the fourth album from The Districts (or more specifically Lancaster County, Pennsylvania) but the first in association with mix maestro Dave Fridmann. The result is a moredistinctive synthesised sound. The lead single ‘Hey Jo’ has hazy arrangements that remind this listener of OMD until frontman Rob Grote’s voice cuts through the nostalgia.

Tagged , , , ,

The Avalanches feat. Rivers Cuomo & Pink Siifu – Running Red Lights (2020)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

New Avalanches single ‘Running Red Lights’ is not too dissimilar to the classic ‘Because I’m Me‘, both in presentation (the songs’ videos were directed by Greg Brunkalla) and in its use of a filtered sound. A welcome return after just 4 years – that’s prolific for these Australians. The song also features Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo and Pink Siifu.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Evie Sands – Any Way That You Want Me (1969)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

I short changed regular viewers of this blog in this strangest of weeks. So…

In 1969, Evie Sands finally notched a hit with ‘Any Way That You Want Me’, the title track off her LP that year. In the preceding years, she had endured a lot of bad luck. Brooklyn-born Sands was gifted a soulful voice and secured a recording contract with the Blue Cat label in 1965. Her debut single ended up in the courts when Chess Records put out the same song; her follow-up ‘I Can’t Let Go’ was drowned out by the litigation before being more successfully covered by the Hollies. So she moved to Cameo Records, released the single ‘Angel of the Morning’ and then the label went bankrupt. By 1970, with a hit under her belt, she quit while ahead and moved into songwriting.

Tagged ,

Rebecca & Fiona – Bullets (2011)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

Picking up the pace a tad and embracing electropop, I give you a song from Rebecca & Fiona’s 2011 album I Love You Man. Sweden and melody-driven EDM – who would have thought?

Tagged ,

Tame Impala – One More Year (2020)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

Tame Impala’s new album was finally released a couple of weeks back. One wondered whether Kevin Parker was withholding any singles; the answer is a resounding yes. The opening track ‘One More Year’ is up there with his best. Have a great week.

Tagged , ,

The Style Council ‎- You’re The Best Thing (1984)

YouTubeAmazoniTunesDiscogs

In 1982, former Dexys Midnight Runner Mick Talbot started working with Paul Weller, the former frontman of The Jam. Despite that heritage, The Style Council would become a frustration to their well-wishing fans. The supergroup were continually reinventing themselves, but only occasionally reaching the heights of where they’d been. ‘You’re The Best Thing’ is one such moment. Happy Valentine’s Mrs Samuel.

Tagged , , ,