We're a geek couple living in PA with our two boys -- Milo and Otis -- who are short, orange, and furry. Oh, and they're the cats we're bookended by! 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, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for December 8, 2017

[Remembering John Lennon] -- John Lennon was shot and killed on 12/8/1980, 37 years ago today. I may not recall exactly what I was doing when I learned of Lennon's death, but I do remember understanding it as a blow not only to music, but also peace activism. He will long be remembered as a peace worker and an anti-war activist. Of course, John Lennon is primarily remembered as a musician, and he has an extensive catalog, dating back to 1962. As my focus is the 1980s, I wanted to commemorate John Lennon with a look at his work released in my favorite decade of music. I say released because he only had a brief window during which he recorded new material in 1980. Still, he was prolific, and he left behind enough material for two new records, one studio and one live. So, what have I selected for you this week? Read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, December 1, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for December 1, 2017

[Change the Weather] -- When we hit the beginning of December, people in southeast PA usually organize into one faction or the other. The first faction cannot wait for a "Winter Wonderland." The other one mourns the loss of shorts and flip-flops weather. What I'm saying is that one group welcomes the weather change, while the other wants to change it back. Of course, more recently, the beginning of December has trended somewhat balmy, so that aforementioned second group of flip-flop wearers doesn't have to mourn all that much just yet. All of that is a long and not very interesting intro to this week's album, Change the Weather (1989) by Brit techno rockers, Underground.  Change the Weather is Underground's sophomore record, released 12/1/1989, and it is unique in the band's discography in that it did not chart. At all. Perhaps that lack of chart activity is due to a slight change in the band's approach (more 80s pop-rock than the electric techno of, say "Born Slippy .NUXX"). Maybe it was just a dry patch. Regardless, Change the Weather is a fine 80s gem that deserves more attention. So, read and hear more about the album's first three tracks after the jump. 

Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for November 24, 2017

[Food, Family, and More Food] -- Sure, today is Black Friday, but I prefer to dwell on the holiday that just passed. Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones for a communal meal, reflect on ones blessings, share our largesse, and then lapse into a food coma. Now, there aren't too many Thanksgiving-specific tunes from the 80s, so I had to be a little creative for this post and focus on the theme of Food and Family (and, of course, more food). If you have recovered from your food coma and you need a break from the insanity of Black Friday, then check out this week's selections after the break.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for November 3, 2017

[Back for the Anniversary] -- In the "Things that Make Me Feel Old" Department, November 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Dokken's fourth studio album, Back for the Attack (1987). According to at least one source, this album might have been released on November 2, 1987, so it could very well have turned 30 as of this very week. But, not every source marks the month and day, so we won't dwell on such particulars. Although it didn't pack highly catchy tracks like previous releases, Back for the Attack ranks among the band's best-selling albums. It even reached #13 on the Billboard 200 for that year. Maybe that chart success is due to Dokken going for a tighter and harder edged sound. Maybe it's due to the lack of ballads (well, there is one on this record) and a lesser reliance on trying to score pop-radio leaning singles. All I know is that this album has some delicious guitar work and probably the cleanest, albeit simplest, rhythm work of their whole catalog.

You can listen to the full album here. If you want to know which tracks I chose to celebrate this 30-year anniversary, you can read and hear more after the jump.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for October 20, 2017

[Goodbye Mom] -- I was more than two thirds of the way through writing my latest Flashback post, but I no longer want to use it. Not this weekend. You see, here's the thing. My sister called me around 5pm yesterday and told me that our mother was gone, that she had unexpectedly died overnight. Sis had gone over to Mom's house to check on her, as per usual, but instead found ... well, she found that Mom never made it out of bed that day.

So, my one and only flashback song for this weekend is for the memory of our mother. I'm cribbing both the tune and the write-up from a previous Flashback post, but so be it. It is probably no surprise that I could reliably turn to Disney for a song that honors the very heart of motherhood. Well, I sort of turned to Disney. I turned to Hal Willner, an American music producer with several tribute albums and live events listed among his many credits. In 1988, Willner released his fourth tribute album, Stay Awake: Various Interpretations of Music from Vintage Disney Films. Stay Awake featured new recordings of Disney tunes by a whole range of performing artists, from Sun Ra to Michael Stipe, and from Buster Poindexter to Ringo Starr. This is still one of my favorite CDs from the 80s. At the time, I loved it because it made a somewhat adult soundtrack out of songs originally created for kids. Almost 30 years later, I still love it for the milestone in my life that it represents. The second track on Stay Awake pairs Bonnie Raitt with Was (Not Was) on "Baby Mine" from the 1941 film Dumbo. And it never fails to make me think of my own mother. 

"You're so precious to me | Cute as can be | Baby, you're mine."

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.

And if you are on Twitter, and feel so inclined, please +K my influence in Music on @klout.

I'll see you in seven!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for October 13, 2017

[October Sting] -- I thought about doing a more spooky theme for that rare occasion that the Flashback crosses paths with Friday the 13th, but I wasn't in the mood. But then I found that Sting's second solo album, ...Nothing Like the Sun, was released on this very day in 1987. That means one of my favorite records turned 30 today! This release finds Sting continuing the pop-jazz explorations of his fantastic debut album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles (1985), but stretching his chops to mix in a little reggae and funk as well as some standard acoustic, rock, and dance elements. All five singles from the album charted, with two peaking as top 40 hits. The album peaked at #9 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and and #52 on U.S. Billboard R&B Albums. And if the songs themselves weren't enough to merit this album's place in my heart, then the story of how Sting named it surely would do the job. The title comes from from Shakespeare's Sonnet No. 130, which Sting had used in response to a wandering drunk who kept accosting him with the question: "How beautiful is the moon?" You can read that brief story in the November/December 1987 edition of Spin. And for this week's selections, you can read and hear more after the jump. 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for September 29, 2017

[TNG for the Masses] -- On 9/28/1987, the first new television episode of a Star Trek series was beamed into our television sets.Thirty years agoStar Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG or just TNG for short) introduced a new crew and a new ship with "Encounter at Farpoint." It was a clunky and awkward birth, but the basic elements were there: A stalwart captain, a dedicated first officer, and a top notch doctor. Other original series elements took on a slight twist: The alien on the bridge was a Klingon raised by humans, not a Vulcan-Human hybrid; the most logical officer was an android seeking humanity, not a Vulcan-Human hybrid; and the sensing bridge officer was an empathic half-Betazoid, not a telepathic ... well, you get the idea.

But, as big a Trek fan as I am, I usually deal with music here for the Friday 80s Flashback. And so I continue in that vein this week. You see, there was an album released on the very same day as the TNG premiere: Depeche Mode's sixth studio album, Music for the Masses. If you know me, you might be surprised to learn that I don't recall if I saw the first broadcast of "Encounter at Farpoint," but I very much recall purchasing a vinyl copy of Music for the Masses. It was the first Depeche Mode record that I purchased fresh on its release date.

So, now, you have a choice. You can celebrate Star Trek: The Next Generation and listen to music from the series. Or, you can check out a few tracks from Music for the Masses. To go with that latter choice, read and hear more after the jump.