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, April 5, 2024

Friday 80s Flashback for April 5, 2024

[Still Lamenting] -- A bunch of albums were released early in April 1984, so why did I choose Lament, the seventh studio album from Ultravox, for this week's Flashback post? Well, in addition to me finding many of this album's tracks still relevant today, there's also the sad fact that Ultravox bassist Chris Cross recently died at the age of 71. Cross, who co-wrote the hit "Vienna," passed away on March 25, but the announcement didn't come out until earlier this week. So, this post serves as both a Flashback and a tribute. 

Lament was released 40 years ago this week, on April 6, 1984. The album peaked at #8 in the UK, #25 in Germany, and #115 in the US. This album's peak positions in other countries generally ranges between that of the UK and the US. The three singles – "One Small Day" (which they performed at the 1985 Live Aid concert), "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes," and the title track "Lament" – were all relative hits in the UK, but failed to chart in the US. I tend to think the US missed out. 

"Dancing with Tears in My Eyes" feels rather similar to the band's 1982 single, "We Came to Dance." And both songs echo something of a sorrowful attitude within the energy of dancing. But, this week, the lyrics hit a bit differently considering all those lost to violence or even indifference: "Dancing with tears in my eyes | Weeping for the memory of a life gone by." 

"Lament" is perhaps the most sobering track on this album. Midge Ure hauntingly sings: 

And just as my eyes start seeing
After all the pain
The twist in my life starts healing
Just to twist again
In stillness, in sorrow
Returns that softly sighing lament

"One Small Day" is still a favorite of mine. It is much more guitar-driven that any song Ultravox had released up to that point. If Ultravox had recorded this with their standard synth treatment, I doubt it would have quite the same punch. Even today, four decades after its original release, this song can revive me from my doldrums. Its message: All you need is that one day, one day where you can "feel the strength of love at hand," and you can "live a life the way it's meant to be." And, sometimes, that day may be closer than you think. 

FlashbackLament (April 6, 1984)

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! 

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