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 9, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for December 9, 2022


[Still Pink] -- The Prisoners released their debut album – A Taste of Pink! – 40 years ago this week, on December 9, 1982. What? You never heard of The Prisoners? 

They started in 1980 as a three-piece outfit – guitar (Graham Day), bass (Allan Crockford), and drums (Johnny Symons) – in Rochester, Kent, England. In early 1982, they became a quartet when Jamie Taylor joined them on organ. Well, Taylor initially used a (then) modern Casio keyboard, set to an organ sound and played loudly through a valve amplifier. Later, the band employed a Vox Continental organ as something of a lead instrument. That organ and guitar combination gave The Prisoners a retro vibe as they channeled 1960s psych and 1970s punk into their garage band ethos. 

The Prisoners had a decent local following, but never found commercial success. And they called it quits as a band after their fourth album in 1986. They are still active, individually, in the music scene, performing and producing. But a full-on reunion seems unlikely. 

Their debut, A Taste of Pink!, was the very definition of an overlooked gem -- an uncut, brash, and unruly gem, but one not without certain charms. Unfortunately for The Prisoners, Pink! did not chart and it had no singles to speak of. The embedded YouTube video in this post replicates the order of the 12 tracks on the original 1982 release (even specifying which side those tracks were on). It also includes two bonus tunes. I find "Better in Black," "Come To The Mushroom," "Till The Morning Light," and "Don't Call My Name" to be the standouts on the original release. Regarding the two bonus tracks, my fave is "Melanie." Let me know what you think!  

 
FlashbackA Taste of Pink! (December 1982)




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 2, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for December 2, 2022


[40 Years of THRILLER] -- November 30, 1982 – forty years ago this week – Michael Jackson (8/29/1958 - 6/25/2009) released his sixth studio album, Thriller. It was Jackson's first #1 album, and it spent a whopping 37 non-consecutive weeks in that top slot. Thriller was not only Jackson's most successful record, but also remains the best-selling album of all time worldwide and the second-best-selling album overall in the United States -- as of this writing, The Eagles' Their Greatest Hits (1971-1975) edged Thriller out of the top US spot in 2018

Seven of the nine tracks on Thriller were released as singles. Only one, the duet with Paul McCartney, "The Girl Is Mine," was released in 1982. The rest were released across 1983, culminating with the title track being released on November 5, 1983. And all seven singles reached the top ten. Two of the singles, "Beat It" and "Billie Jean," peaked at the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Thriller even set a record, at the time, for the most top ten singles from an album

Thriller also set a benchmark for music videos. Remember that epic 14-minute short film that premiered in December 1983. It became a mainstay in MTV rotation and kind of became synonymous with Halloween. Speaking of music videos, MJ's vids are credited for boosting music videos as a serious art form. 

All of this success gave Jackson serious musical and cultural clout. With Thriller setting multiple industry standards, this was the beginning of MJ's reign as the King of Pop

There's plenty of celebrating and bloviating about this record on its 40th anniversary. Billboard spent time to rank the songs from best to worst. An immersive event was scheduled. And there's a website dedicated to Thriller's 40th anniversary, particularly the special anniversary edition release. 

What's your fave track from this album?

FlashbackThriller (November 30, 1982)




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 25, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 25, 2022


[An Environmental Liturgy] -- To the best of my research, Paul Winter and his Paul Winter Consort released Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, a two record set, in October 1982. So, while it did not come out 40 years ago this week, Missa Gaia/Earth Mass is still 40 years old this year, so it's fair game in my opinion. Also, I'm looking only to the album release date; the music itself was performed and recorded a year earlier. Anyway, I thought this album might provide a necessary respite from the commercial onslaught that begins on Black Friday.   

I'll explain briefly. 

The origins of this release go back to 1980, when James Parks Morton, dean of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, invited Paul Winter, the Cathedral's Director of Music (1977-1991), to compose a contemporary Mass. Winter intended a work both ecumenical and ecological in scope, embracing all the voices of the Earth. The resultant composition was Missa Gaia/Earth Mass, which took its name from both Latin and Greek: Latin (missa = mass) and Greek (gaia = mother nature). The new composition had a live premiere on May 10, 1981 – Mother’s Day to celebrate Mother Earth. This premiere included a sermon by David Brower, founder and president of Friends of the Earth

The album version is based on three recordings in the Cathedral that year: two in September and one on St. Francis Day (October 4), in honor of the Saint’s 800th birthday. I guess the mixing and any re-recording efforts took Paul Winter and his team about a year because, as I mentioned, the album release was in October 1982. On this album, The Paul Winter Consort weaves together a chorus, choristers, a pipe organ (that just happens to reside in the largest Gothic cathedral in the world), and animal voices (specifically wolf, whale, and loon). In doing so, they create a musical celebration of the Earth in the form of a Mass

"Musically the ecumenical character is underlined by a web of various musical traditions and styles: from Gregorian chant of the Middle Ages through Protestant hymns, Romantic organ music, African instruments, Latin American rhythms, elements of Gospel song to contemporary rock ballad."

Sources: 

The embedded YouTube playlist is missing two tracks ("Song Of Praise" and "Dance Of Gaia") which are available only on the vinyl release.

FlashbackMissa Gaia/Earth Mass (1982)




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 18, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 18, 2022


[Chaka Khan] -- 40 years ago this week, the legendary Chaka Khan released Chaka Khan (November 17, 1982). This was her fourth solo studio album in a solo career that includes 13 album releases. And all those releases are in addition to the many albums she recorded with the American funk band, Rufus, for whom she was the lead singer from 1972 through 1983. 

Chaka Khan reached #5 on Black Albums and #52 on Pop Albums charts. The two singles also charted. First, her cover of Michael Jackson's "Got to Be There" peaked at #67 on the US Pop and #5 on the US R&B charts. Next, "Tearin' It Up" hit #48 on US R&B. And the album earned Khan two more Grammys at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards (1984): one for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female, and another for Best Vocal Arrangement For Two Or More Voices category; that second Grammy was for her amazing "Be Bop Medley," and she shared it with producer Arif Mardin. That was the song that led "hardcore jazz purist Betty Carter to proclaim Khan the one female singer working outside the jazz arena with legitimate improvising credentials" (AllMusic review).


FlashbackChaka Khan (1982)




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 11, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 11, 2022


[The Power and the Passion] -- Midnight Oil's breakthrough album – 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – burst out of Australia 40 years ago this month. 10 to 1 (as fans refer to it) was Midnight Oil's fourth studio album, but it was their first album to break into the top ten of the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart (it peaked at #3), as well as their first to chart on the US Billboard 200 (at #178). And singer Peter Garrett knew they had something special. In response to the producer's question of what kids (particularly the surfer kids in Mullumbimby) would think of it, Garrett answered: “They’ll be in shock. But they’ll recover.” 

In November 1982, I did not know a single song by Midnight Oil. No, my introduction to the band would have to wait until after March 1983 and the release of 10 to 1's second single: "Power and the Passion." I don't remember the date, but I do recall I was at home watching MTV. Shortly after midnight, the music video for "Power and the Passion" aired (that is a link for a story about the song and video; the music video is included in the embedded YouTube playlist below). That's right: My first introduction to Midnight Oil was in music video, not radio. I did not, at the time, understand the lyrics, but the ... well ... the band's power and passion, as well as Garrett's Frankensteinesque dance moves, entranced me. I wondered, "What is this, and where do I get more of it?" 

I have since come to realize that this particular song "highlights disparities between those ‘living in paradise’ and those falling behind" (NFSA), themes that are, sadly, still very much relevant today. I also love the remix of "Power and the Passion," titled "Glitch Baby Glitch (Power And The Passion Dub Mix)."

What is your memory of this album? Do you have a favorite track?

Flashback10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 (November 1982)




And that's the Flashback for this 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 8, 2022

Baltimore Comic Con 2022

Our first con back since 2019 and it is one of our favorites ... and ... it remains so.

Small, easy to navigate, easy to talk to all the vendors, good panels, great volunteers and nice people across the board.

These are the items we purchased during the con, most from previous artists/vendors that we love but there are some new people here. I recommend all of them and I hope you enjoy looking through our purchases and please be sure to click through to see all the amazing people's websites and other wares.



https://ewacats.com/

https://steveconley.com/the-middle-age/

https://artnessbyjustinbrown.com/



Friday, November 4, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for November 4, 2022


[40 Years Nervous] -- Wikipedia says it was released on October 29, 1982. AOTY's site indicates the release date as November 1, 1982. Either way, Pat Benatar's fourth studio album, Get Nervous, is forty years old as of this week! As I've previously written (July 2018 and August 2021), I love Pat Benatar. So, when I went looking for a 40-year-old album to highlight this week, I pushed aside all other contenders in her favor. 

Possibly the most melodic release since her debut, Get Nervous peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the charts for a total of 46 weeks. All three singles -- "Shadows of the Night," "Little Too Late," and "Looking for a Stranger" -- reached the top 40. My favorite of the three,  "Shadows of the Night," was a huge hit for her, peaking at #13 and #3 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the US Billboard Top Rock Tracks respectively. It also earned Benatar her third Grammy Award (Best Female Rock Vocal Performance, 1983).  In addition to the usual hard rocking and aggressive tracks like "Anxiety (Get Nervous)" and "The Victim," Get Nervous also offered some slight New Wave leanings in its instrumentation. 

But the most important note here is that Benatar's vocal prowess is absolutely on fire. She is, in my opinion, one of the all-time great rock and roll singers. You won't get me to budge on that, especially with this album as evidence.

FlashbackGet Nervous




I kicked off November strong, but 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, October 28, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for October 28, 2022


[40 Years of Wind and Roses] -- Forty years ago this week, this very day, The Dream Syndicate released their first full-length record: The Days of Wine and Roses (October 28, 1982). The album title is lifted from a line in Ernest Dowson's 1896 poem, "Vitae Summa Brevis." The Dream Syndicate were the darker, more cynical outfit that came out of L.A.'s Paisley Underground scene. You can hear it in their aggressive guitar riffs, abrasive rhythms, and antagonistic lyrics. And this jangly, alternative album comes in at #99 on Blender's list of 100 Greatest Indie-Rock Albums Ever (note: subscribers only post). As far as I can tell, there were no singles released from this album ... at least, none that charted. That tracks because, despite critical acclaim, The Dream Syndicate were largely a commercial failure. Somehow, I don't think that translates to failure in their minds. Anyway, in the absence of singles, may I suggest "Then She Remembers" and "Halloween" (tracks 4 and 5)? 

FlashbackThe Days of Wine and Roses (October 28, 1982)




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, October 21, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for October 21, 2022

 

[Goodbye Mom - Redux] -- By Friday, October 20, 2017, I was more than two thirds of the way through writing a Flashback post, but I no longer wanted to use it. My sister had called me around 5pm the prior day 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. Her memorial service was the following Wednesday, 10/25/2017. 

So, instead of highlighting a record that turned 40 years old this week, I'm offering up a single flashback song for this weekend. And, just as I did five years ago this week, the song I'm sharing is in memory of my mother, gone too soon at age 71. 

I'm also cribbing the write-up from a previous post, but hopefully you'll forgive me.  

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 FilmsStay 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. Over 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. 

R.I.P. Mom (August 1946 - October 2017).

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




Just one song, but 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, October 14, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for October 14, 2022


[A Quartet of Decades] -- Intro.Forty years ago this week – on October 15, 1982 – Ultravox released their sixth studio album. For this outing, Ultravox dropped their longtime producer, Conny Plank, and instead opted to work with George Martin (yes, that George Martin who worked with The Beatles). While the album resulted in four singles that were top 20 hits in the UK, and the album peaked at #6 on the UK's album charts, there were (are?) detractors who felt the band was slipping into a safe and conservative space with this outing. Meanwhile, those four singles – "Reap the Wild Wind", "Hymn", "Visions in Blue" and "We Came to Dance" – remain some of my favorite songs in this band's catalog. Among the singles, I particularly love "Hymn" and "We Came to Dance." Of the non-single tracks, "Cut and Run" holds a special place in my heart. 

The embedded YouTube playlist has all nine tracks from the 1982 release as well as the official music videos for "Reap the Wild Wind" and "We Came to Dance," so you get a total of 11 tracks this week. 

FlashbackQuartet (October 15, 1982)




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, October 7, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for October 7, 2022

[You Are 40] -- While reflecting that this month includes the fifth anniversary of my mother's passing, I'm struck by the knowledge that one of her favorite albums turned 40 this week. Well, it's a record that has some of her favorite radio hits; I don't know that she loved the whole album. But we'll celebrate the entire album here on the Flashback. 

If you couldn't tell from the accompanying image, I'm talking about Lionel Richie's self-titled, solo debut. Released on 10/6/1982, Lionel Richie peaked at #3 on the Billboard 200 and launched three hit singles: "Truly," "You Are," and "My Love." Each one peaked within the top five of the Billboard Hot 100, with the first single, "Truly," reaching the #1 position. My mom loved the mid-tempo and brightness of "You Are," which she had to have on a cassette mix I recorded for her; it was a collection of high and mid-tempo tunes that she would listen to on her power walks. I later had to recreate some of that playlist for her iPod Nano. 

Lionel Richie was still a member of the Commodores when this album was released. The record was intended to only be a side project, but Richie left the Commodores shortly after its release (or, perhaps, after he realized he could be a successful solo artist). Seems his voice was better suited for ballads and upbeat tunes than the funk and disco of his former band. He certainly had the songwriting chops, which he proved prior to this album's release by composing and singing the theme to Endless Love, which he recorded as a duet with Diana Ross. That tune, and his other laid backed compositions for the Commodores – "Easy" and "Three Times a Lady" – were something of a template for this record if not much of his career. Some find this style too cheesy, but he became a go-to balladeer in the 1980s, releasing a bunch of his own hits and writing songs for others. And it all started with this album. 

Not what you'd expect from the preppie look featured in that cover photo, right? 

FlashbackLionel Richie (October 6, 1982)




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, September 30, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 30, 2022

[Back in the Frame] -- Forty years ago this week, Depeche Mode released their second studio album, A Broken Frame (September 27, 1982). This was the band's first record after the departure of Vincent Clarke, who wrote most of the songs for the debut album. This time around, Martin Gore stepped up to write all the songs on this album, which Depeche Mode recorded as a trio.  

A Broken Frame peaked at #1 in the UK Independent Albums chart, and #177 on the US Billboard 200. Not quite as light in tone as their previous release, this second album received mixed feedback, though it has gained a better reputation over time (perhaps that is a retrospective view). Gore's compositions with Dave Gahan's lead vocals don't exactly aspire to a single concept, but Gore has lamented what he calls "that sickly boy-next-door stuff" of his earlier songwriting efforts ("Sin Machine," NME, London, pp. 34–35, February 1990). The three singles – "See You," "The Meaning of Love," and "Leave in Silence" – did well in Europe, but none of them charted in the US. Despite said lack of hits, these songs, and A Broken Frame in general, are still quite popular with fans here in the states. At least, I'd like to think so as I still quite enjoy them. 

Do you have any favorites from this album?

Flashback #1A Broken Frame (9/27/1982)




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, September 23, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 23, 2022


[Love Over Gold] -- Forty years ago this week, Dire Straits released their fourth studio album, Love Over Gold. With only five tracks, it still clocked in at just over 40 minutes of music. That was due in large part to the band's longer form songs: The opening track, "Telegraph Road," is nearly 15 minutes long as it weaves through history to provide an object lesson in overdevelopment and exploitation. Even the shortest song, the single "Industrial Disease," is 12 seconds shy of hitting the six minute mark. At a time when radio formats and record execs pushed artists to make songs that were short and snappy, or even short and sappy, this record was an outlier. 

And it ranks as one of my favorite records from the 1980s. 

Guitarist Mark Knopfler is in full control of his instrument, ripping blistering solos and squeezing out languid riffs with equal fervor. He was also in full control of the studio, Love Over Gold being the first record on which he possesses solo credit as producer (in collaboration with Neil Dorfsman as recording engineer). 

Only two singles were released. First was "Private Investigations," which peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, but did not chart in the US. There were two versions of the song: the album version was 6:45 long, while the single edit was trimmed to be barely under six minutes (5:51). The second single was the highly humorous "Industrial Disease" (British slang for work-related illness or disease), which did chart in the US, reaching #9 on Billboard's Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart as well as #75 on the Billboard Hot 100. One could make the argument that "Industrial Disease is a prequel of sorts for the band's 1985 (and MTV) hit, "Money for Nothing." 

Regarding the title track, "Love Over Gold," it seems to me that this record was a statement of art over popularity. At least, that's what I make of the final verse of that song:
It takes love over goldAnd mind over matterTo do what you do that you mustWhen the things that you holdCan fall and be shatteredOr run through your fingers like dust

Let us know what you think. 

Flashback: Love Over Gold (September 24, 1982)




Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, 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, September 20, 2022

Lightyear

 Dangrdafne review

I was really looking forward to watching Lightyear. I love the Toy Story movies (although truth be told we still have not see #4). I always thought my toys were alive and would do things when I wasn't looking. So the movies always fed my childhood dreams.

I like this clever take on an origin story for Buzz Lightyear. Seems very meta or something. I definitely enjoyed reading all the trivia on IMDB after the movie. Pixar loves their hidden "Mickeys". 

If you enjoy Toy Story or Pixar I recommend this movie. My absolute favorite part of the movie was Sox, the cat. Like Goose in Captain Marvel, he is a critical part of the movie. I also just think he is soooo adorable and hilarious.

I wish I hadn't read some of the reviews of this movie though. I don't understand why people just can't watch a simple animated movie and enjoy it. Not every movie will be award worthy or perfect. Anyway, I enjoyed the movie overall and I am glad we watched. Moreso than our last one, Thor: Love and Thunder. 

The movie is funny, heartwarming, clever and fun.

3 paws

Friday, September 16, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 16, 2022


[40 Years of Dreaming] -- I know Kate Bush was recently in the news when her 1985 single, "Running Up That Hill," was featured in the hit series, Stranger Things. But this week's flashback is going to wind back to three years prior to "Hill"'s release. In fact, we're winding back to 40 years ago this week, when Kate Bush released her fourth studio album, The Dreaming. A "theatrical and abstract piece of work" (AllMusic) that was equal parts fan favorite and commercial failure (Pitchfork), The Dreaming is considered one of Bush's most experimental recordings. As a product of English art rock, The Dreaming plays in the realms of the fantastic, with witches and otherworldly lovers appearing in equal parts as protagonists and objects of, well, fascination. But it's a grounded and focused fascination, driven by layered synths, echoed choruses, fretless bass, and piano. And, pushing the experimental aspect of the record, the instrumentation also features the use of mandolins, uilleann pipes, and didgeridoos. 

Despite the record's seeming (or declared?) uncommercial nature, The Dreaming peaked at #3 on the UK album chart, and it also squeaked into the US Billboard 200 at #157. The album spawned five singles: "Sat in Your Lap," "The Dreaming," "There Goes a Tenner," "Suspended in Gaffa," and "Night of the Swallow." I alternate between "Suspended in Gaffa" and "Sat in Your Lap" as my personal favorites. Then there's the title track, "The Dreaming," with its themes of empire wreaking political and environmental violence; it rates as a close second, at least for me. I also very much like the album's closing track, "Get Out of My House." Inspired by stories of isolated madness (like Stephen King's The Shining), it's pretty much a Gothic horror story masquerading as an avant-garde song. You'll have to let me know what you think of it, but you have to admit that it's an appropriate track to consider as we enter the spooky season.

Perhaps The Dreaming was too experimental, or even shocking, for audiences in the early 1980s. Hence the mixed critical reception it received at the time. However, I notice this record has gained more favorable reviews over time, and maybe there's a wider audience for it now. Stranger things have happened in a record's history, eh?

FlashbackThe Dreaming (September 13, 1982)




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, September 13, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder

 Dangrdafne review

I was really looking forward to this movie the other night. I had heard some not good things but I try to not let it get to me and form my own opinion. Well, after watching it ... I wasn't thrilled with it and I am sad for that. 

I think the first two thirds of the movie was meh and the last third was good and more like the Thor movies I like. It all just felt a little frenetic, thrown together and it spent more time on trying to get ideas into the movie rather than things that served the story.

I don't mind a humorous Thor but it has to work for the story and most of the humor just didn't work for me this time. Something was off. I also felt like some information was missing. How did God Killer figure out his end game? Brainwise filled in how it might have happened but it certainly was not in the movie.

The music was awesome! Guns N Roses used to perfection.

My biggest question is ... why Russell Crowe? Oh my that casting just did NOT work for me and what was up with the accent. I just didn't get it or understand. 

I'm grateful that the movie was only 2 hours long but honestly they should have made it longer and filled in the missing information... and removed some questionable humor. 

 The death and love themes saved this movie from being 1 paw from me.

2 paws


Friday, September 9, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 9, 2022


[Signals] -- 40 years ago today, Rush released their ninth studio album, Signals. As a follow-up to the highly successful and well received Moving Pictures (1981), the new record was ... let's just say it was ... unexpected. Although Rush had been integrating synthesizers as early as 1974 (2112), and had progressively changed over the course of eight studio albums, the heavier use of electronic instrumentation was too much of a change for some longtime fans. And because Signals' new arrangements and influences came at the seeming sacrifice of Alex Lifeson's guitar work, some fans and critics were at odds with this record. Rolling Stone panned it as a boring technological morass. AllMusic retroactively praises it. 

I grew up in the 1970s but I came of age during the 1980s. So, I was able to take Rush's changes in stride and even embrace them. For me, Signals represents a delicate balance between synth-driven aesthetics and hard rock grooves. Speaking of grooves, how many other prog-rock artists were playing with reggae ("Chemistry" and "Digital Man") or collaborating with an electric violinist in the early 1980s? Maybe some more obscure acts were willing to experiment like that, but I'd wager very few platinum-selling artists at Rush's level were taking those risks. 

And it was a successful gambit. Signals peaked at #1, #3, and #10 on Canadian, UK, and US album charts respectively. Before the end of the year, the album would go platinum (i.e., it sold one million copies in the United States). Those sales were, no doubt, spurred by the chart success of "New World Man," Rush's first single to crack the US top 40 by peaking at #21. It remains the band's highest charting US single. The album's second single, "Subdivisions," peaked within the top ten of two US charts: the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 and the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. This semi-autobiographical tale of social stratification has become something of a signature song for Rush. Wikipedia lists "Countdown" as Signal's third and final single, but elsewhere I see it listed as the B-side for "New World Man." Whatever its release status, "Countdown" was inspired by the band's opportunity to watch a shuttle launch as VIP guests of NASA. The song's other claim to fame is as a wakeup song for astronauts during STS-109, the last successful flight of the Shuttle Columbia

My favorite tracks are "Chemistry" and "Last Exit" (the latter tune featuring the aforementioned electronic violin solo). 

FlashbackSignals – Rush (9/9/1982)




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, September 2, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for September 2, 2022


[The Fad is the Flag] -- Embracing elements of both new wave and early industrial music, Frank Tovey (9/8/1956 - 4/3/2002) was an electronic musician and vocalist based in London, England. Starting in 1980 and continuing through early 1984, Tovey performed using the name Fad Gadget, releasing four studio albums under that moniker. Then, from late 1984 through 1992, he released another six studio albums under his own name. This week on the Flashback, we revisit Fad Gadget's third studio release, Under the Flag, released 40 years ago this week on 9/1/1982. 

Tovey had become a father shortly before recording Under the Flag, and he was reportedly afraid of the world in which his newborn daughter would grow into adulthood. He channeled those fears and anxieties into writing ten songs for what amounts to an almost concept album. I mean, at least the opening and closing tracks, "Under The Flag I" and "Under The Flag II," are thematically connected through their lyrics about a British man with a newborn baby during the Falklands War. I suppose it's up to the listener as to whether tracks 2 through 9 maintain a cohesive narrative about the fledgling father. Other reviewers say it's a bit of a mixed bag. But I would counter that, in tone and feeling if not lyrically, the entire album does convey something of an individual's defeatist attitude toward what was then the present day (i.e., the early 1980s), as well as a hint of nihilism for what days may yet come. 

Yeah, totally not applicable to the early 2020s, eh? 

Anyway, give it a whirl. My favorite track is "For Whom the Bells Toll," one of Under the Flag's two singles, the other being "Life on the Line," which is also a good listen. But the other track that, for me, is a close second, if not equal, to "For Whom the Bells Toll," is "Plainsong." It might throw you a bit in the beginning, but stick with it. Trust me.

And do let me know what you think of this coldwave offering. Is it synthpop or futurepop?

FlashbackUnder the Flag (September 1982)




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, August 30, 2022

Encanto

 Dangrdafne review


What a glorious movie!

So lush, beautiful, happy, celebratory, deep, true to life and wonderful. 

I have recently admitted I’m not a huge animated Disney movie fan. This one bucks that trend. I bopped along with every song. I laugh, I cried, I cheered, I identified waaaay too much with these characters. 

Luisa’s song, Surface Pressure, may be one of my favorite Disney songs now. Just perfect! And a touch too true to life and on the nose for so many women and people overall. 

I highly recommend this movie to have a little Disney therapy and to dance and hum along for some great fun. 

4 paws 

Friday, August 26, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for August 26, 2022


[What Time Is It?] -- The Time, or Morris Day and the Time, was probably the most successful of the artists associated with Prince. And by "associated with," I'm referring to an agreement Prince had with Warner Bros. This agreement was specified by a contractual clause giving Prince a unique arrangement whereby he could bring other artists under his purple wings, so to speak. After recruiting the artists, Prince mentored them, recording and producing them for WB. 

And on 8/25/1982, forty years ago this week, The Time released What Time Is It?, their second studio album under Prince's tutelage. On the record, members of The Time were given writing and performing credits. However, all the tracks were written by Prince, and he most likely also played all the instruments. The Time's own front man, Morris Day, did record lead vocals. I guess songwriting and studio work were part of Prince's mentorship. (And, really, at the time, who wouldn't have wanted Prince to write and record for them?)

The album's title was something Morris Day often exclaimed during stage shows, so much so that it was something of his trademark. This record was brief, having only six tracks and totaling a little over half an hour of music, but it reached #26 and #2 on the US Billboard 200 and the US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums charts respectively. The album's three singles -- "777-9311," "The Walk," and "Gigolos Get Lonely Too" --  all charted on the R&B charts as well as the US Disco Top 80 chart. 

FlashbackWhat Time Is It? (August 25, 1982)




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, August 19, 2022

Friday 80s Flashback for August 19, 2022


[Still Upstairs] -- Yazoo (or simply Yaz in North America) formed in 1981 when electronic musician Vince Clarke, fresh off the success of Depeche Mode's debut album, teamed with soul singer Alison Moyet. And on 8/20/1982, 40 years ago tomorrow, this duo released their debut album, Upstairs At Eric's. By the time their album hit the charts, Yazoo had already released two singles in the UK: "Only You" (3/15/1982) and "Don't Go" (7/5/1982). "Only You" peaked at #2 on the UK Singles Chart, and it also reached the top 10 in Ireland and Australia. "Don't Go" peaked at #3 on the UK Singles Chart.

In the US, the band was known as Yaz to avoid issues with Yazoo Records, a specialist blues record label. In addition to that name change, the order of single releases differed between the UK and the US. "Situation" was the lead off single for the states, and it peaked at #73 on the Billboard Hot 100. "Don't Go," however, scored big on the American dance chart as the band's second US single, peaking at #1 on the Hot Dance/Disco (Billboard) chart in October 1982. That high energy, infectious dance track was also a top 40 hit around the globe, often reaching the top 10. It's still one of my favorite songs from the first half of the 1980s. Hel, Upstairs At Eric's is still one of my prize vinyl acquisitions from that decade.

In addition to the embedded playlist, you might be interested in this five-track playlist featuring Yazoo live on The Tube

FlashbackUpstairs At Eric's (August 20, 1982)




Once again, I remind you that the rule of three applies when doing Flashbacks. As I've made my three offerings, 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!