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, May 19, 2023

Friday 80s Flashback for May 19, 2023

[40-Year Reach] -- The Fixx released their second studio album, Reach the Beach, on May 15, 1983. That was 40 years ago this week! With this album, The Fixx pretty much cemented their sound, sort of a compromise between experimentation and accessibility. The album alternates between danceable and atmospheric, with plenty of layered synthesizers and accent guitar. Perhaps surprisingly, while Reach the Beach is still the group's most successful album by virtue of reaching #8 on the Billboard 200 and being certified Platinum (January 5, 1984), it was not a critical darling. Smash Hits reviewer Deborah Steels rated the record as a 3, on a scale of 10, and called it "at worst...dull and depressing" []. Stephen Thomas Erlewine was kinder in his retro-review for AllMusic, and gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars while saying it is a "pleasant collection of immaculately produced and stylishly danceable new wave." 
All three singles from this album were top 40 hits. The first single was "Saved By Zero." It hit US airwaves on May 12, just prior to the album release. It peaked at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #9 on the Top Rock Tracks chart. The second, and most successful single, was "One Thing Leads to Another," which hit US charts in September 1983. It climbed to #4 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and it also peaked within the Top 20 of two other US charts -- #14 on US Dance Club Songs and #2 on US Mainstream Rock -- as well as charting in the UK, Canada, and Australia. "One Thing Leads to Another" is still the most popular and successful song in The Fixx's catalog. The third single off Reach the Beach was released in 1984 and it peaked at #32 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I still have my vinyl copy, but I'm not certain when I purchased it. Did I really wait until after "One Thing Leads to Another" was on the radio and MTV? Or did George Underwood's album cover art catch my eye so that it was an impulse purchase earlier in 1983? I may never recall, and it's not like I kept the receipt. But I do know I spun this record pretty regularly on my turntable. In addition to the three singles, I have to rate my favorite tracks as "Opinions" (atmospheric and meditative), "Changing" (pleading: If I'm changing, oh won't you please let go), and "Privilege" (slightly funky and quietly disturbing). 

Flashback Reach the Beach (May 1983)

So, 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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