Pet Shop Boys

MIXTAPE: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK 0

Another week, another mixtape. Mark your calendars as Chris Rooney takes you on a musical journey through the seven days of the week right through the weekend.

The Bolshoi, “Sunday Morning” (1986)
Growing up it was either sleep in late or off to church bright and early Sunday morning. By the look of things, someone still has a grudge with their strict religious upbringing and doesn’t want to revisit those Sunday mornings.

Morrissey, “Everyday Is Like Sunday” (1988)
Boredom naturally comes on a Sunday when everything is closed, stuck at seasonal destination when its off-season or simply growing up in a small town with no vitality left in it. Etch a postcard, “How I dearly wish I was not here”. In many American states, Sunday blue laws still exist that prohibit businesses such as car dealerships from being open, abstain alcohol sales, bar horse racing and prevent hunting because of lingering puritan beliefs. At least Morrissey can get behind that ban on hunting.

U2, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1983)
U2’s overtly political, yet nonpartisan, protest song reflects upon Sunday, January 30, 1972 when British troops fired upon Northern Irish unarmed civilians, killing 14. Other musicians such as Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Black Sabbath and Stiff Little Fingers all wrote songs in response to the events of that day prior to U2’s concert anthem.

New Order, “Blue Monday” (1983)
How does it feel to be treated like this on the first day of the work week? Bernard Sumner lackadaisical delivery sums it up perfectly what it is like to start a Monday morning.

The Bangles, “Manic Monday” (1986)
You’re not fooling us Prince penning The Bangles’ breakthrough hit under the name “Christopher”. We know all about the period of time when you were the artist formerly known as Prince using that unpronounceable symbol, but surely “Christopher” is your 9-to-5 worker bee alter ego who has a regular desk job and run-of-the-mill worries like the rest of us.

Boomtown Rats, “I Don’t Like Mondays” (1979)
Why so much disdain for this day in particular? Five years later after wanting to shoot the whole day down, Bob Geldof must gotten over it as he chose to release his big musical creation, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” on a Monday.

Duran Duran, “New Moon on Monday” (1984)
Monday is almost over and the nighttime darkness is the ideal cover for the boys of Duran Duran to stage an underground rebellion (complete with lit torches and perfectly coiffed hair) on a society run by an oppressive militaristic regime.

‘Til Tuesday, “Voices Carry” (1985)
Ah, quiet little Tuesday. Never drawing attention to itself stuck between the beginning and the middle of the work week until ‘Til Tuesday’s Aimee Mann just couldn’t take it anymore of her douchebag boyfriend and stood up for herself during the most opportune moment at Carnegie Hall. Makes you think that she was holding out for the great acoustics to make her point and dump the a-hole.

Fisherspooner, “Wednesday” (2005)
It’s Hump Day and here to ride that cresting wave in the week is Fisherspooner’s sexy electroclash single that combines a ‘80s new wave sound influenced by Gary Numan, Kraftwerk and early Pet Shop Boys with modern electronica.

Pet Shop Boys, “Thursday” (2013)
Despite having to the chance to coordinate the release their 54th (yes, 54th!) single on the same day that the song references, The Pet Shop Boys chose instead to debut it on a Monday.

David Bowie, “Thursday’s Child” (1999)
“Thursday’s Child has far to go”, so says the 19th century nursery rhyme that is supposed to tell a child’s character or future based on the day he or she was born. Bowie, in case you were wondering, was born on a Wednesday.

The Cure, “Friday I’m In Love” (1992)
Disheveled hair, badly applied lipstick and untied high-top sneakers can mean only one thing – it’s Casual Friday for Robert Smith!

The Specials, “Friday Night, Saturday Morning” (1981)
Forget the oh-so-pleasant expression “Thank God It’s Friday”. The Brits and the Aussies have a term for the last day of the workday that tops that by a mile – POETS Day, which stands for “Piss Off Early, Tomorrow’s Saturday”. The Specials’ weekend ritual encapsulates that vibe to a tee with lines like “Out of bed at eight am / Out my head by half past ten / Out with mates and dates and friends / That’s what I do at weekends / I can’t talk and I can’t walk / But I know where I’m going to go / I’m going watch my money go / At the Locarno, no”.

David Bowie, “Drive-In Saturday” (1973)
It seems like Saturdays were more wild and crazy in the 1970s compared to the 1980s. Think about it. You had the birth of Saturday Night Live, the blockbuster Saturday Night Fever igniting the disco craze, Elton John sang “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” and the tartan teen sensations, The Bay City Rollers were shouting out, “S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night!”

The Cure, “10:15 Saturday Night” (1979)
It’s damn near impossible to get a plumber late on a Saturday night, much less all-day Sunday if your kitchen sink tap drips drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, drip. Better luck ringing him up on Monday.

Étienne Daho “Week-end à Rome” (1984)
The French, including their very own pop star Étienne Daho, have a thing about not messing with their culture and language. Yet they have adopted the English word, “weekend”, by adding a little French twist with a hyphen in the middle. In the 1990s, the English electronic pop group Saint Etienne teamed up with Daho and had one of their biggest hits with a reworked English version of the song called “He’s On The Phone”.

Lloyd Cole & Commotions, “Lost Weekend” (1985)
True story. I’m on my honeymoon seeing the sights of Europe and I caught the worst cold possible. The last few days we spent in Amsterdam. I’m relaxing in our hotel room trying to feel better when I suddenly hear Lloyd Cole singing on the TV, “…it took a lost weekend in a hotel in Amsterdam, double pnuemonia in a single room and the sickest joke was the price of the medicine…”

  • Share on Tumblr

THE ULTIMATE VALENTINE’S DAY NEW WAVE MIXTAPE Part DEUX! 5

For those who look forward to Feb. 14 and those who abhor it: Our second-annual playlist, and this one’s half dedicated to space-aged love songs, the other half a soundtrack of gut-wrenching weepies. (To listen via Spotify, click here.)

 

Side A: Anti-love songs:

JB PICKS:

“Love Song,” Simple Minds 

Not sure how much of a love song this actually is. Simple Minds were in their determinedly impenetrable phase, so who knows? Classic 80s freaking-out-the-squares video.

 

“Love Song,” The Damned

Not sure how much of a love song this actually is either. The Damned, in their second incarnation, with their first proper hit, unveiling their hidden secret: Captain Sensible was a really good pop songwriter.

 

“Love Part 1 (Poem),” Dexys Midnight Runners

This definitely isn’t a love song. “Love Part 1 (Poem)”, from Dexys’ classic first album, is a sour, spoken-word refutation of the very existence of love. When I interviewed Kevin Rowland for Mad World: The Book, he claimed to have no memory of the song’s existence.

 

“When Love Breaks Down,” Prefab Sprout

Possibly something of a theme emerging here? Prefab Sprout’s most straight-forward song is tasteful slice of heartache.

 

LM’S PICKS:

“The Other End of the Telescope,” Til Tuesday

I’m a big fan of Til Tuesday’s Everything’s Different Now album. Though it starts with the optimistic ode-to-new-love title track, it’s filled with some of my favorite sad love songs, like “J For Jules,” Mann’s breakup ballad for ex-boyfriend Jules Shear, and the single “(Believed You Were) Lucky.” But the one that’s really stood the test of time is this bittersweet duet with Elvis Costello.

 

“Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me,” The Smiths

How many nights did I soak my pillow while listening to this on my Sony Walkman in my teenage bedroom? How many teens are doing that very thing right this minute? How many ADULTS? “The story is old, I know, but it goes on…”

 

“Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Joy Division (Thank you to @Tammy Hiller for this suggestion.)

Though the jangly guitars and singsongy melody sound upbeat and happy, this Joy Division classic — Ian Curtis’ swan song to his marriage — is the penultimate it’s-over track. I dare you to read the lyrics and not get a lump in your throat.

 

“A Promise,” Echo and the Bunnymen (Thank you to @Tammy Hiller for this suggestion.)

For every person who’s tried to change their partner (that would be every single human being ever): Don’t.

 

“Never Say Never,” Romeo Void (Thank you to @Davido222 for this suggestion.)

“Old couple walks by/as ugly as sin/But he’s got her/And she’s got him.” Yep, that sums about half the world’s feelings on Valentine’s Day.

Side B: Mushy New Wave Love Songs

LM’S PICKS:

“Stripped,” Depeche Mode

I’ve never read 50 Shades of Grey, and I have no interest in seeing the movie. But, for my money, this is what sexy sounds like.

 

“Home and Dry,” Pet Shop Boys

This latter-day PSB track is the ultimate long-distance dedication: “Oh tonight I miss you/Oh tonight I wish you could be here with me/But I won’t see you til vou’ve made it back and again/home and dry.”

 

“Wishing (If I had A Photograph of You),” A Flock Of Seagulls

New wave men were so romantic — just listen to the soaring synthesized melody! The wistful lyrics! I would totally have dated Mike Score back in the day, hairdo and all. Hairdo especially.”

 

“Wonderful,” Adam Ant

I remember how shocked I was when Mr. Goddard released this romantic ballad. Equally shocking: it managed to be romantic even with the lyric “…when I nearly hit the face I love.” Thankfully Heather Graham got out before the going got rough.

 

“Save A Prayer,” Duran Duran

It’s everybody’s favorite new wave slow-dance jam. Somehow Simon Le Bon managed to convince Duran’s teenage fan base think the climactic love-‘em-and-leave-‘em couplet comparing one-night stands to paradise was something to sigh over.

JB’S PICKS

“Just Like Gold,” Aztec Camera

Sixteen-year-old Roddy Frame ablaze with poetic fervor pouring his heart out on his first single.

 

“Lets Get Together Again,” Human League

Hard to imagine the Human League haven’t tried to forget they once covered Rock N Roll Part 2 by the evil predator, Gary Glitter. But the band’s Glitter connection goes deeper. On their patchy 1990 Romantic? album, they took a shot at the Glitter Band’s awesome glam hit “Lets Get Together Again” which is safe to post until wizened members of the Glitter Band start getting arrested.

“I’m In Love With A German Film Star,” The Passions

Which one? Gert Frobe? Horst Bucholz? Curt Jurgens? Thomas Gottschalk? We may never know?

 

“Goodbye Joe,” Tracey Thorn

Sultry cover of the already sultry Monochrome Set song

 

“(I Love You) When You Sleep”, Tracie

Paul Weller’s teenage prodigy sings an Elvis Costello song about how love can be at its strongest when the object of affection is unconscious.

  • Share on Tumblr

Mixtape: 12 Days Of New Wave Christmas 0

Its almost here. There’s no escaping. The season of enforced joy is right around the corner. To help get you through, here’s a selection of naughty and nice Christmas-themed songs. (To listen via Spotify and/or follow our Mixtape playlists, click here.)

1)“Christmas Wrapping,” The Waitresses
Waitresses founder and friend of Mad World: The Book, Chris Butler, told us about throwing this song together for a Ze records Christmas compilation album and instantly forgetting about it. Never officially a hit, “Christmas Wrapping” is now a permanent fixture in the season playlist

2)”Last Christmas,” Wham!

It may have been the season of goodwill to all men but that didn’t stop George Michael indulging inches favorite activities: feeling sorry for himself and hating women. The moment December turned into January, the single flipped over and George really let his bile loose with “Everything She Wants.”

3) “A Fairy Tale Of New York,” The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

Who could have predicted a Christmas perennial would feature the heart-warming lines “You scumbag, you maggot, you cheap lousy faggot, happy Christmas your are, I pray God it’s our last”? That’s the magic of the season

4) “2000 Miles,” Pretenders

Don’t think for a second that the sentimental requirements of a Christmas single cause Chrissie hyde to lose her ineffable cool.

5)”Things Fall Apart,” Cristina

From the same Ze Records Christmas album that spawned “Christmas Wrapping” comes this slice of existential crisis from Cristina Monet, the label’s resident jaded socialite depressive. For anyone driven to dead-eyed numbness by the onslaught of good cheer, this is for you.

6) “Il Est Ne Le Divin Enfant,” Siouxsie And The Banshees

And speaking of dead-eyed numbness… The loveliness of S&TB’s rendition of this French hymn is hilariously undercut by the clip below where they strive to perform it with out losing an iota of their trademark contempt.

7) “It Doesn’t Often Snow At Christmas,” Pet Shop Boys

Although they had an actual UK Christmas Number One with “Always On My Mind,” this is the PSB fans-only seasonal song.

8) “Silent Night,” Erasure

From last year’s “Snow Globe” Christmas album.

9) “Winter Wonderland,” Eurythmics

Well, they gave it a shot…

10) “December Will Be Magic Again,” Kate Bush

Weirdly botched release for this typically heady offering. It was supposed to come out in 1979 with expectations of it being the year’s big Xmas song. One year later, it was issued to little acclaim.

11) “Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth,” Bing Crosby & David Bowie

It’s great that Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett are kindred spirits who love and respect each other. But, for me, no May/December artistic pairing has ever been as awkward, agonizing and uncomfortable to watch as this. Just that Bowie line about Hudson the butler makes me wish there was a whole album filled with such moments.

12) “Do They Know It’s Christmas,” Band Aid

The new version’s laudable, of course, but this one actually changed the world for a few minutes.

  • Share on Tumblr