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, August 18, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for August 18, 2017

[Substance 1987] -- Another week, and another beloved album turns 30. This time, it's New Order's Substance 1987, which was released on 8/17/1987. This double LP featured the 12-inch versions of all of New Order's singles to date and a previously unreleased single, "True Faith." The CD and cassette releases included the singles' respective B-sides (the latter of the two having a few extra tracks). Here, in one place, fans had New Order's best work. It was also, for the most part, their most danceable (due in part to the fact that the 12" mixes were designed for dance clubs). One of the best descriptions of this album that I've read comes from AllMusic.com reviewer, Stephen Thomas Erlewine, who wrote that it "expanded the notion of what a rock & roll band, particularly an indie rock band, could do."

As I think about it, I probably didn't hear this record until September of 1987, after I returned to Penn State for the start of my sophomore year. Someone in Holmes Hall would have been playing it, but I'm not certain whose copy I first heard or borrowed. I'm guessing that Paul had the double album while my roommate, Jeff, had the dual cassette. Not sure who among the North Halls gang first had the CD. I did eventually have my own CD copy sometime after I left Holmes for my R.A. gig in Atherton. To this day, I keep the 12" versions of these singles on my phone. Just in case I want to listen to them while driving around.

I cannot pick just three tracks from this compilation, so I found a video that has both discs of the CD release. Enjoy!

1. Ceremony 0:00
2. Everything's Gone Green 4:23
3. Temptation 9:53
4. Blue Monday 16:52
5. Confusion 24:21
6. Thieves Like Us 29:04
7. Perfect Kiss 35:41
8. Subculture 43:43 
9. Shellshock 48:31
10. State of the Nation 55:00
11. Bizarre Love Triangle 1:01:32
12. True Faith 1:08:16

1. In a Lonely Place 0:00
2. Procession 6:16
3. Cries and Whispers 10:44
4. Hurt 14:10
5. The Beach 21:09
6. Confusion (instrumental) 28:28
7. Lonesome Tonight 36:06
8. Murder 41:18
9. Thieves Like Us (instrumental) 45:14
10. Kiss of Death 52:11
11. Shame of the Nation 59:11
12. 1963 1:07:09

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, August 4, 2017

Friday 80s Flashback for August 4, 2017

[Hysteria] -- I find that as I approach my 50th year, the records of my youth are also advancing in age. Such is the case for Def Leppard's 1987 release, Hysteria, which turned 30 this week on August 3. It came out the summer I turned 19, not quite a month before I returned to Penn State for my sophomore year. I probably went through two cassette copies of Hysteria during its first 20 years. I've probably had a CD copy for the last decade or so.

Def Leppard had formed in 1977 and was named after an imaginary band that lead singer Joe Elliot used when writing reviews in his English class. Hysteria was this British hard rock band's fourth studio album. And it's more than a little surprising that the band was able to record let alone release it: In 1984, while they were in the midst of enjoying a huge commercial break-through with their third studio LP, Pyromania (1983), drummer, Rick Allen, lost his left arm in a car crash. Allen was determined to continue as the band's drummer, and the rest of the band supported his efforts. He worked with the Simmons drum company to design and develop a custom electronic drum kit that enabled him to use his legs to do some of the drumming work. After Allen's recovery, and after over three years of recording work, Hysteria was released. The album did well in Def Leppard's native UK, but sales in the US did not take off until the release of the album's fourth single: "Pour Some Sugar on Me." It peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and helped propel Hysteria to the #1 spot on The Billboard 200 as well as 12× Platinum in sales. Read and hear more after the jump.