Bookended by Cats was named after Milo and Otis. They are the short, orange, and furry brothers who, upon entering our lives in 2003, often bookended us on our couch. And who are we? We're a geek couple living in PA. We love music, movies, TV, comics, books, and comic cons. And, from time to time, we'll share our thoughts on these nerdy things.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for December 8, 2023


[Demented Pop Cure] -- Forty years ago this week, The Cure released Japanese Whispers. It was their second compilation album, but their sixth album overall. Japanese Whispers consisted of three previously-released, standalone singles and the B-sides to those singles. All three singles – "Let's Go to Bed," "The Walk," and "The Love Cats" – were a 180° turn away from the darkness and gloom of The Cure's 1982 release, Pronography (misspelling intended). That was a gutsy move given that, despite the initial poor reviews, Pronography had been a commercial success; it was their most popular album up to that point. However, recording Pronography had been a terrible experience, all but bringing the band to a total collapse. 

Only Robert Smith and Lol Tolhurst, The Cure's the two founding members, were involved in writing and recording Japanese Whispers. So, the switch to a brighter and more pop-friendly sound might have been a calculated move, and a necessary one for The Cure's collective health and longevity. It's not completely bright and poppy. I think both "Just One Kiss" and "La Ment" sound decidedly at a midpoint between the gloom of Pronography and the brightness of Japanese Whispers. And either one of them could have been a single, too.

In my mind, Japanese Whispers comes across as the love-child of synthpop and gothic rock. I mean that in the best possible way, if such a way is possible. This album feels like Smith and Tolhurst were experimenting with how to write pop songs, feeling their way from what The Cure had been to what it could become. So, of course, the results are kind of demented, but they work. And the tonal and lyrical shifts here set the band's direction for the next several albums. 


FlashbackJapanese Whispers (December 6, 1983)




And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, December 1, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for December 1, 2023


[A 40-Year-Old Touch] -- It's the first of December, but November is hanging on a little bit longer. At least for this week's Flashback. Eurythmics released their third studio album, Touch, on November 26, 1983. That is per the listing at AOTY; Wikipedia has a release date of November 14, 1983. Either way, this record is 40 years old by now, and it's fair game for a Flashback!

By this point in their career, Eurythmics were an international success. And Touch just continued their critical and commercial success. All three singles – "Who's That Girl?," "Right by Your Side," and "Here Comes the Rain Again" – all reached the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart. In the US, "Who's That Girl?" and "Right by Your Side" peaked within the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100, while "Here Comes the Rain Again" peaked at #4. "Here Comes the Rain Again" was probably helped by its cool and atmospheric music video which featured Lennox exploring a cliff and an abandoned cottage. All the singles are great, but I'm partial to "No Fear, No Hate, No Pain (No Broken Hearts)."

Touch has aged far more gracefully than other records of that decade. And it is still appreciated; it was twice listed in Rolling Stone's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time," first in 2003, and again in 2012


FlashbackTouch (Nov 26, 1983)



And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, November 24, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for November 24, 2023


[Seven and the Blood Red Sky] -- For the second time this month, I find myself unable, or simply unwilling, to select a single album to highlight. So, you and I will briefly revisit two seminal releases that turn 40 years old this week. 

First up, Seven and the Ragged Tiger. Duran Duran's third studio album, Seven and the Ragged Tiger hit charts in the UK and the US on November 21, 1983. According to vocalist Simon LeBon (quoted in Rolling Stone, February 2, 1984), the title refers to seven people chasing after success: "The Seven is for us – the five band members and the two managers.  The Ragged Tiger is success.  Seven people running after success. It’s ambition." 

And while initial reviews were negative, this album was definitely a commercial success. Seven and the Ragged Tiger was Duran Duran's first album to reach the #1 position on UK charts, and it also peaked at #8 in the US. It went platinum in in the UK, US (twice), and Canada (three times!). The three singles rank among the band's most popular songs: "Union of the Snake," "New Moon on Monday," and "The Reflex." The first two singles were top ten hits in both the UK and the US. But the third single, as remixed by Chic’s Nile Rodgers, peaked at #1 in the UK, US, Belgium, Eurochart, and the Netherlands. It was Duran Duran's first #1 single and a global hit. All three of those singles shine, especially "New Moon on Monday," but the unreleased tracks also deliver. In particular, I would lift up "(I'm Looking For) Cracks in the Pavement" and "Crimes as Passion" as hidden gems. See the YouTube playlist below, under Flashback #1

This week's second recording, U2's Under a Blood Red Sky, also had a UK release date of November 21, 1983. In the US, it was released on November 22, 1983. This was a live album compiling songs from three concerts, all during the band's War Tour in 1983. Only one single was released: The performance of Boy's "I Will Follow" recorded in Germany. Under a Blood Red Sky peaked at #2 on the UK Albums chart and at #28 on the US Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart. It also peaked within, or near, the top 40 of album charts around the world. Rolling Stone (January 19, 1984) would cite this album as providing "...ample evidence why people have been calling U2 the best live band of 1983." Check out their performance of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" filmed in June 1983 at Red Rocks in Denver, CO. That is just one of the 13 songs recorded for the concert film, U2 Live at Red Rocks: Under a Blood Red Sky. The album's eight tracks are in the embedded YouTube video below, under Flashback #2


Flashback #1Seven and the Ragged Tiger (November 21, 1983)



Flashback #2Under a Blood Red Sky (November, 1983)




And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Lost in Space - Netflix Series

 

Brainwise remembered way more of the original than I did for this series. Who is surprised? 

So he caught some inside things but it didn't really seem to matter if you knew the original or not. I thought it was pretty good. I liked the actors and the characters they portrayed. But my favorite character might have been the non-human... and no I don't mean the Robot :) I loved Debbie. To find out who that character is, you will just have to watch ;)

I liked the way they created the family and all the twists that happened to bring things together. You do have suspend belief quite a few times but really when don't you have to when dealing with outer space stories. I only got really annoyed once with the jump in the story or how quickly things worked out but I just read where the story runner passed away recently, so I wonder if they were trying to make sure he saw the story thru to the end and if that is the case, I am good with it all.

I liked that the outcome of the saga was simple and actually easy. Sometimes life does work out in the simplest manners but we choose to not see it. I appreciate that the children were all brilliant in their own ways. I also loved that everyone had a chance to be the person in shining armor, even the Robot (although he was literally I guess, lol).

I was probably pretty skeptical at the start of our binge watching but I ended up asking when we were going to watch the episodes in the 3rd season. I really wanted to see what was going to happen next and how it would all conclude. If you enjoyed the original or the movie that was made, I would guess you would like this iteration also. 

3 paws


Friday, November 17, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for November 17, 2023


[Four Decades of YELL] -- 40 years ago last week, Billy Idol released his second studio album, Rebel Yell (November 10, 1983). Buoyed by the studio wizardry of Keith Forsey and the instrumental prowess of Steve Stevens, Rebel Yell was a commercial and critical success, peaking at #6 on the Billboard 200 and even reaching the top 10 in several other countries. As might be expected with a popular album, all four singles charted:
  • "Rebel Yell," the title track and first single, reached #46 on the US Billboard Hot 100, #29 on US Cashbox Top 100, and #9 on US Billboard Top Rock Tracks
  • "Eyes Without a Face," the second single, was a top 10 hit (#4) on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Cash Box.
  • "Flesh For Fantasy" peaked at #29 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
  • "Catch My Fall," the fourth and final single, reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100.  
I cannot argue against the worthiness of those first three singles, but I find "Catch My Fall" pretty forgettable. I also find it strange that "Flesh For Fantasy" performed better than "Rebel Yell." Plus, I somehow always thought that "Blue Highway" was a single, but it was merely b-side that got airplay. I think it would have been a better single than "Catch My Fall," but what do I know, really? Maybe the studio execs thought it was too similar to "Rebel Yell," which was pretty much a sonic sequel to "White Wedding" if you think about it. Still, it's all a very catchy synthesis of new wave and pop-punk. 

Earlier this year, Seba Vinilos posted a YouTube video of the full vinyl edition of Rebel Yell. So, you can virtually experience spinning this Flashback on a turntable. If you want to view the music videos, use the individual links for the singles in this post.  

FlashbackRebel Yell (November 10, 1983)




And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Ghost


Hallmark Channel blew me away with this one. 

Madeleine Arthur as Ruby is glorious. Simply glorious! I didn't even realize how many things I have seen her in until I looked her up on IMDB. She looked completely different here.

Makeup and costuming deserve awards for styling Ruby. She is stunning at every turn, from her clothing to her jewelry to her makeup to just her incredible self.   

This is such a clever and beautiful story and it’s carried out wonderfully by Julie Gonzalo, Chris McNally and Madeleine Arthur. 

The connection between the two women is amazing and I love how they support each other. I love how they grow and learn and become the best versions of themselves even with over 100 years between them. It's both good and bad to know that some things carry through the times and are the same for people regardless of the surroundings :)

Speaking of surroundings, I loved the set for this movie too. Beautiful home with beautiful furnishings. I would love to know what came first when creating this movie: the story, the setting, the costuming, regardless all of it is perfect and wonderful.

You all know I don't post too many Hallmark movies (I do watch them all), but this one really was just wonderful and different and I had to share my thoughts.

4 paws, 2 ears, 1 tail for all 9 lives ;)

Let’s put it this way, I didn’t delete this from my DVR when it ended because I’m going back to watch this one again. 

Friday, November 10, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for November 10, 2023


[Owner of a 40-Year-Old Heart] -- On November 7, 1983, Yes released their 11th studio album, 90125. Well, that was the UK release date; the US release came on November 11, 1983. Either way, 90125 hit the charts 40 years ago this week. The album release was prefaced by the release of the first single, "Owner of a Lonely Heart," in October 1983. 

But let's back up a moment or several. Hadn't Yes disbanded in 1981? Well, yes, sort of. And while Yes partook of a sabbatical period, as bassist Chris Squire noted, Squire and drummer Alan White formed a band named Cinema. This rhythm section then expanded the Cinema lineup by adding Trevor Rabin (guitarist, singer-songwriter) and Tony Kaye (who was the original Yes keyboardist). Former Yes singer Trevor Horn – and by "former Yes singer" we mean "the guy who sang lead vocals on only one Yes album, Drama" – stepped into a record producer role for the new band, Cinema. Next, while Cinema was in the studio, they recruited original Yes singer Jon Anderson to record lead vocals. And that, my friends, is when Cinema became the brand new lineup for a more pop-oriented version of Yes. 

And, let's face it, lineup changes are almost as much a part of the Yes story as their albums. The band has had over 20 different lineups since their 1968 inception, and at least 20 musicians have been considered full-time members.

Anyway, this incarnation of Yes was not only more pop-oriented, it was also more commercially successful. Actually, it was most commercially successful lineup. 90125 peaked at #5 on the US Billboard 200 and #16 on the UK Albums Chart. And it is still their most successful studio album to date. This album had five singles. The previously mentioned "Owner of a Lonely Heart" is still the band's most successfully charting single, and it is also their only song to reach the top the US Billboard Hot 100 – it peaked at the #1 position in January 1984. "Leave It," the album's second single, peaked at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100, #3 on the Top Album Rock Tracks, and #56 on the UK singles charts. The third single, "It Can Happen," reached #51 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #5 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart. "Hold On," the fourth single, did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but did reach #43 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock. "Changes," was the fifth and final single released from 90125, and it peaked at #6 the US Mainstream Rock chart in 1984.

Although Yes would eventually return to their progressive and symphonic roots, the lineup behind 90125 – and later Big Generator (1987) – brought in scores of younger fans. So, they can look to this 80s lineup as a very successful experiment. I still own a vinyl copy of 90125 as well as a 45rpm of "Owner of a Lonely Heart." Some longtime fans might scoff at this era, but I'm a fan. (And I even like the 1978 record, Tormato, which I also own on vinyl). 

I really like Seba Vinilos' YouTube video of the full vinyl edition of 90125. It kind of reminds me of sitting in my room and playing the album on my Technics turntable. If you want to view the music videos, use the individual links for the singles in this post.  

Flashback90125 (November 7, 1983)




And that's all till next week. Dedicated 80s-philes can find more flashbacks in the Prophet or Madman archives or via Bookended's 80s Flashback tag. As always, your comments are welcome on today's, or any other, flashback post. And if you like what I'm doing here, please share the link with your friends. If, however, you don't like the flashback, feel free to share it with your enemies.

I'll see you in seven!