Blondie

MIXTAPE: CREEPY CRAWLIES 0

Spring’s here. Summer’s right around the corner. And you know what that means. Things with wings. Things that crawl. Things that bite and sting. That’s right: insects. Here’s some songs about the nightmarish creatures who share our planet. (To listen to this or any of our other playlists via Spotify, click here.)

“Antmusic,” Adam And The Ants

“Don’t step on an ant, you’ll end up back and blue, you cut off his head, legs come looking for you.” Ugh…

“Insects,” Altered Images

Before they were cute, before they embraced pop stardom, Altered Images were Lil’ Siouxsie and the Banshee Babies. This is them at their most Junior Banshee-esque

“The Butterfly Collector,” The Jam

Lyrically, this song is close kin to “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John. Paul Weller’s loathing of the upper-class dilettante slumming in his milieu is just that bit more visceral. There was time when Weller was writing good enough songs that he could throw this away as a b-side.

“Hey There Little Insect,” Jonathan Richman And The Modern Lovers

Many artists have attempted to present themselves as wide-eyed naive grown-up children and it generally comes off creepy and uncomfortable. Jonathan Richman just about stayed on the right side of the man-child divide.

“Honey For The Bees,” Alison Moyet

From the debut solo album that was supposed propel her to international mainstream superstardom but ended up convincing her that the last thing she wanted to be was an international mainstream superstar.

“Human Fly,” The Cramps

We will never see their like again. Thankfully.

“Caterpillar,” The Cure

Almost every Cure song sounds like it could be about an insect.

“Dragonfly,” Blondie

From the universally-dismissed The Hunter. Perhaps better than it originally seemed?

“Loco Mosquito,” Iggy Pop

Iggy’s Eighties Arista era was a weird half-hearted attempt to make him MTV famous and radio friendly. Here is evidence as to why that was never going to happen.

New Romance,” Spider

Written by Holly Knight, covered by Lisa Hartman on Knots Landing, should have been a HUGE hit. Still sounds great.

“Love And A Molotov Cocktail,” The Flys

Endearing post-punk anthem with a once—heard-never-forgotten chorus.

“King Of The Flies,” Fad Gadget

More flies. How do they know to get in the house but they never know how to get out?

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MIXTAPE: SAY CHEESE! 0

Say Cheese! Make love to the camera! Smile! Watch the birdie! Hold still! I’m taking a selfie!

Photographs can capture a moment in time just like any memorable song can. Working hard in his darkroom, guest shutterbug Chris Rooney has edited the most lyrical snapshots from this photogenic mixtape.

(To listen to this or any of our other playlists via Spotify, click here.)

Duran Duran, “Girls On Film” (1981)
“…Lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling…”

Japan, “Gentlemen Take Polaroids” (1980)
“…Gentlemen take polaroids / They fall in love they fall in love… Just a foreign town with a foreign mind / Why is everything so cut and dried?…”

Aztec Camera, “Oblivious” (1983)
“…They’re calling all the shots / They call and say they phoned / They’ll call us lonely when we’re really just alone / And like a funny film, it’s kinda cute
They bought the bullets and there’s no one left to shoot…”

The Cure,“Pictures Of You” (1990)
“…I’ve been looking so long at these pictures of you / That I almost believe that they’re real…”

Bucks Fizz, “My Camera Never Lies” (1982)
“…My camera never lies / So I’ll put you in the picture and cut it down to size…”

A Flock of Seagulls, “Wishing (If I Had a Photograph of You)” (1982)
“…If I had a photograph of you / Or something to remind me / I wouldn’t spend my life just wishing…”

The Speedies, “Let Me Take Your Photo” (1979)
“…I went and colored all my hair / Let me take your photo / So my snapshot won’t be there / Let me take your photo / I don’t wanna see no Polaroid, no! / Let me take your photo / Because I just might get annoyed…”

The Lotus Eaters, “The First Picture Of You” (1983)
“…The first picture of you / The first picture of summer / Seeing the flowers scream their joy…”

Mission of Burma, “This Is Not A Photograph” (1981)
“…This is just a perpendicular line to the grain / This is not a photograph…”

Blondie, “Picture This” (1978)
“…All I want is a photo in my wallet / A small remembrance of something more solid…”

Depeche Mode, “Photographic” (1981)
“…I take pictures / Photographic pictures / Bright light, dark room / Bright light, dark room…”

The Fixx, “Cameras In Paris” (1982)
“… There’s cameras in Paris / Some papers are missing / Exposure’s automatic…”

Siouxsie And The Banshees, “Red Light” (1980)
“…That Kodak whore winking / ‘Til the aperture shuts / Too much exposure…”

The Buggles, “I Am A Camera” (1981)
“…There by the waterside / Here where the lens is wide / You and me by the sea…”

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Mixtape: Dreams 0

Dreams: the playground of the subconscious and the crutch of the lazy songwriter. But here are some eighties songs with dreams as themes that are far from lazy.

“Sweet Dreams,” Eurythmics

Eurythmics were on shaky ground in 1983. Their debut album, In The Garden, had flopped. “Love Is A Stranger”, the first single from their follow-up album, hadn’t made much impact. Their name was mispronounced by djs and misspelled by journalists. And then “Sweet Dreams” changed everything. It was instant, ominous and unforgettable. And Annie Lennox sang with a command she’d never previously brought to a record.

“Dreaming,” Blondie

“When I met you at the restaurant, you could tell I was no debutante.” That’s how you start a record!

“Dreaming Of Me,” Depeche Mode

Listening to this charmingly faltering slice of narcissism, who could conceive of Depeche Mode not only still existing but evolving into a stadium-filling juggernaut?

“Dreams Of Leaving,” The Human League

Tough choice between this and “The Things That Dreams Are Made Of” but this huge, aching, paranoid dystopian ballad made a bigger impression on me. Long before The League found mass acclaim with a hit that overtly showed their Abba influences, they had already produced a song that emanated the same breed of fear the Swedes perfected in their finest, latter-day hour, “The Visitors.

“I Dream Of Wires,” Gary Numan

Of course you do, Gaz. (Co-written with Robert Palmer, and his identical version lurks beneath the Numanoid)

“New Gold Dream,” Simple Minds

The majestic title song from their pre-global acceptance period. This is a fabulously awkward Italian TV appearance featuring Jim Kerr tripping over his own feet as he tries to master the moves David Bowie made so effortless.

“When I Dream,” The Teardrop Explodes

Julian Cope just on the verge of his short-lived but supremely enjoyable big pop breakout giving a performance that bears the marks of being rehearsed a hundred times in the bedroom mirror.

“The Dreams Of Children,” The Jam

No one enjoyed success less than Paul Weller who ended the underplayed double A-side of “Going Underground”, their first number one, by snarling, “You will choke on your dreams tonight”.

“Dream Baby Dream,” Suicide

Beautiful song from the original synth duo. Well, the record’s beautiful. This clip is a bit of an endurance test.

“Is It A Dream,” Classix Nouveaux

X-Ray Spex were one of my all-time favorite punk bands. When the late, lamented Poly Styrene left the band, they advertised for a new singer and tall, bald Sal Solo apparently fit the bill. In MW:TB, I do a bit of flag-waving over the fact that the UK exhibited too much taste to allow A Flock Of Seagulls more than a fleeting taste of success. But I have to fess up and allow that that my countrymen gave the possibly even more egregious Classix Nouveaux a handful of hits, this being the most ridiculous.

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