[Head Over Madness Heartland] -- I'm kicking off the first weekend of November 2023 with something a little different. I'm not changing the core of this year's Flashbacks. I mean, I'm still celebrating albums that turn 40 years old in 2023. But the difference is that this week I do mean albums. Plural. As in ... three albums. And, as I'm typing this, I realize that this sort of mashes up the way I used to do Flashbacks (three songs, possibly related) with the way I do them now (one playlist, usually from a single album).
Now, why am I doing this? Well, mainly because I could not decide on a single album to highlight this week. But I'm also doing it because this trio of records provides a glimpse into the spectrum of my musical tastes.
Intrigued? Let's look at the albums!
Cocteau Twins – Head Over Heels
I'm listing these albums in alphabetical order by artist name. So, first up is Cocteau Twins with their second studio album, Head Over Heels. Released in October 1983, this record is an enchanting example of the Post-Punk sub-genre, Ethereal Wave. In time for the 20th anniversary of Head Over Heels, Mojo magazine named it one of the most eccentric British albums of all time [Music List NL]. No singles were released from this record, but if you want to get a taste, sample "Multifoiled," "Five Ten Fiftyfold," or "Sugar Hiccup." However, if you want to truly appreciate this record, you should sit and listen to it in its entirety.
Night Ranger – Midnight Madness
Released either in October or November 1983, depending on the source, Midnight Madness was Night Ranger's second studio album. And while I prefer the band's debut album, I cannot deny that Midnight Madness is the record that really put them on the 1980s rock map. Night Ranger got three singles out of this album, including what is likely their best known hit, "Sister Christian." The other singles were "(You Can Still) Rock in America" and "When You Close Your Eyes." Midnight Madness peaked at #15 on the Billboard 200, mostly on the strength and popularity of "Sister Christian," both on airwaves and on MTV. That popularity actually hampered the band, all but blinding the record buying public from harder edged, but no less melodic, fare such as "Chipping Away" and "Touch of Madness."
Real Life – Heartland
The Australian based band Real Life debuted with Heartland in November 1983. File this one under synthpop or new wave. In fact, Tomas Mureika of AllMusic called Heartland "One of the strongest -- and most unappreciated -- albums of the new wave era." And it might rank as one of my favorite records of 1983 if not the entire decade. There were four singles. However, one of them ("Always") was released only in Europe, and that was a mistake in my opinion. But the two big hits were, of course, "Send Me An Angel" and "Catch Me I'm Falling." Another track that illustrates Real Life's strengths was "Exploding Bullets." In the US, Heartland reached #58 on the Billboard 200, but it won Best Debut Album at the Countdown Music and Video Awards of 1983 in Australia.
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!