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, March 17, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for March 17, 2023

[ Remind Me] -- March 16, 1983. Forty years ago this week. The British New Wave duo known as Naked Eyes released their debut album. In the UK and Europe, this album was titled Burning Bridges (see this post's preview image above). For North America and Japan, the album was released eponymously in April 1983, and it had a different album cover (see below) with a rearranged track listing. Naked Eyes' first single off their debut, on either side of the Atlantic, was a cover of "Always Something There to Remind Me." 

You're probably humming the opening notes of the song right now, aren't you? Or, maybe, you're recalling the music video, which featured singer Pete Byrne and keyboardist Rob Fisher as journalists, or some other kind of investigators, keeping tabs on a famous woman, a woman Byrne seems to have a past with and still loves. "Always Something There to Remind Me" was penned by Burt Bacharach and Hal David in the early 1960s. Byrne always loved the song. So, nearly two decades later, Naked Eyes recorded it and their version peaked at #8 on the US Billboard Hot 100. While it also reached the top ten in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, the Naked Eyes single missed the top 40 in their native UK, where it peaked at #59.  

Naked Eyes is best known for their synth-pop cover of "Always Something There to Remind Me," but the duo (and additional credited musicians) are not a one-hit wonder. Their second single, "Promises, Promises," peaked at #11 on the US Billboard Hot 100; it also reached #13 in Canada, #15 in New Zealand, #29 in South Africa, and #95 in the UK. Sometimes, I think I prefer "Promises, Promises" to "Always," but only because "Promises" is their first single that was also 100% their own composition. Oh, and there was a third single, "When The Lights Go Out," which just barely reached the top ten in the US. 

But what about the rest of the album? I'm glad you asked. 

AllMusic critic Chris Woodstra considers this debut album to be the duo's finest moment. That might be hyperbole considering the duo released only one other record together in the 1980s, and keyboardist Rob Fisher died in 1999, well before singer Pete Byrne put together a new lineup of Naked Eyes to play shows starting in 2005. So, we don't have much of a catalog to consider. However, having made those caveats, I will confess that I do consider this debut to be a masterpiece of early 1980s New Wave and studio wizardry. You can tell which songs received the most attention in the studio, but that doesn't mean the rest of the tracks are filler. Consider "Emotion in Motion," "A Very Hard Act to Follow," and "Could Be." They didn't receive any airplay, but any one of them could have -- maybe should have -- supported a TV show or appeared on a movie soundtrack. I'm just saying they deserve a wider audience. 

The Eponymous US release on EMI America (April 1983)

This post's embedded YouTube playlist follows the song order found on the March 1983 UK release of Burning Bridges. If you're curious about the North American track listing for Naked Eyes, check out this video, which not only rearranges the song order, but also drops two UK tracks (the aforementioned "A Very Hard Act to Follow" and "The Time Is Now," which might have been the weakest entry, but it wasn't bad). 

FlashbackBurning Bridges (March 16, 1983)

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!

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