Psychedelic Furs

Mixtape: Toys & Games 0

Once again, Chris Rooney digs deep into his sack.

Ho! Ho! Ho! and Oy, Vey! / Here are 11 fun songs you should play / A holiday mixtape about games and toys / For all the naughty or nice New Wave girls and boys!

To listen via Spotify, or to check out our other mixtapes, click here.

Visage, “Mind Of A Toy” (1981)
Frontman Steve Strange might the only member from Visage who got any face time, but the group also included Ultravox’s Robin Simon on guitar.
Recommended Game: Simon, the electronic memory game with the slogan, “Simon’s a computer, Simon has a brain, you either do what Simon says or else go down the drain!”

Peter Gabriel, “Games Without Frontiers” (1980)
Gabriel was inspired by a long-running TV show called Jeux Sans Frontières broadcast in several European countries in which teams of bizarrely-dressed neighbors would compete in games of skill.
Recommended Game: The premise of the show sounds oddly familiar to the fantasy role-playing game, Dungeons & Dragons that was particularly popular with pre-adolescent males in the late 70s and early 80s before home video game consoles became so ubiquitous.

Altered Images, “Real Toys” (1981)
Altered Images singer Claire Grogan in many ways is a living embodiment of the popular toy, Barbie – cute, blonde, stylish and a poppy chirpy singing voice to boot. Heck, Altered Images even had an album called Pinky Blue, which are probably Barbie’s two favorite colors.
Recommended Toy: Barbie, the bestselling dress-up doll for the last 50 years

Level 42, “Love Games” (1981)
Many popular arcade video games in the 1980s had multiple levels players had to complete in order to advance. Level 42 seems like nothing compared to the 256 possible levels in a game of Ms. Pac-Man.
Recommended Game: Love is in the air during the first Act between levels in Ms. Pac-Man. Both she and her love interest, Pac-Man are chased by ghosts until they collide and kiss.

Toyah, “I Want To Be Free” (1981)
Even before she was a singer, Toyah Willcox exercised her rebel instincts by experimenting with hair color and style. To this day she doesn’t know why her parents gave her the unusual name of “Toyah”.
Recommended Toy: Launched as a TV show tie-in, the Barbiesque doll named Jem was a rock star like Toyah sporting a shocking pink head of hair and was “Truly Outrageous” according to the show’s theme song.

Echo & The Bunnymen, “The Game” (1988)
Ian McColloch’s piercing lyrics, “Through the crying hours / Of your glitter years / All the living out / Of your tinsel tears / And the midnight trains / I never made / ‘Cause I’d already /Played… the game” foresees the Bunnymen’s Annus Horribilis. McCulloch would quit the band shortly after this and drummer Pete de Freitas died in a motorcycle accident the following year.
Recommended Game: Banned in the United States the same year as the release of The Bunnymen’s song, the popular backyard game of Lawn Darts apparently caused a lot of injuries and one fatality. There was even a 1989 song written about them by Ed’s Redeeming Qualities called “Lawn Dart” which lamented their removal from the shelves at K-Mart.

Lene Lovich, “New Toy” (1981)
Making fun of consumer culture, Lene was sick of her television, radio and vacuum cleaner that she demanded a new toy in her life.
Recommended Toy: The timing couldn’t have been more perfect to introduce her to the 1980 Toy of The Year, the Rubik’s Cube. With over 350 million sold, it is widely considered today to be the world’s best-selling toy.

Yello, “Vicious Games” (1985)
The Swiss synthpop duo had to try hard to hop over the English Channel and the Atlantic to market themselves to a larger English-speaking audience. In the end, they were met with modest success in the British pop charts and American club charts.
Recommended Game: Frogger challenged the player to help a frog avoid being viciously run over by automobiles while crossing a busy road. By the mid 1980s, many households had home video game consoles like Atari that played many of the popular arcade games including Frogger.

The Toy Dolls, “Nellie The Elephant” (1984)
Pop punkers The Toy Dolls were known for not taking themselves or their songs too seriously when recording parodies of popular songs. Their cover of the 50s children’s song “Nellie The Elephant” was their sole hit.
Recommended Toy: While adoptable Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were the “it” toy in 1985, along came the Garbage Pail Kids series of trading cards that parodied the dolls. Each Garbage Pail Kid character had some comical abnormality, deformity or terrible fate paid off with a humorous, word play name.

The Psychedelic Furs, “Only a Game” (1984)
In order to win a pink Entertainment wedge, answer this question: Before settling on the name “The Psychedelic Furs,” what other moniker did the band playing under during their early days? Answer: “The Europeans”.
Recommended Game: Trivial Pursuit, the board game that tested your general knowledge and popular culture questions peaked in popularity back in 1984, a year in which over 20 million games were sold.

Duran Duran, “Bedroom Toys” (2004)
Ahem, well… Duran Duran’s song and companion video might actually be more fitting for Santa’s naughty list.
Recommended Toy: We’ll leave that to the grown-ups.

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Mixtape:Sibling Rivalry 0

Mixtape: Sibling Rivalry

Of course the Thompson Twins weren’t really twins – or triplets for that matter – and despite having three members with the same last name of Taylor, no one in Duran Duran were brothers. For some real brotherly (and sisterly) love that you can relate to, Chris Rooney presents  a collection of songs that show that New Wave and beyond sometimes can be a family affair.

Japan, “Quiet Life” (1981)
Singer David Sylvian (born David Batt) and his drummer brother Steve Jansen (born Stephen Batt) were together during Japan’s entire duration. After the band broke up over creative differences in 1982, David went solo while Steve formed a duo with Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri called – ironically or not – The Dolphin Brothers.

Devo, “Beautiful World” (1983)
True to their Ohio roots, the classic line-up of the band included two sets of brothers, the Mothersbaughs (Mark and Bob) and the Casales (Gerald and Bob).

The Psychedelic Furs, “Love My Way” (1982)
Brothers Richard and Tim Butler, on vocals and bass guitar respectively, formed The Psychedelic Furs in 1977. During the Furs’ hiatus in the 1990s, Richard planned to put out his first solo record. Instead, he assembled a new group, Love Spit Love and brought in Tim to play bass.

A Flock Of Seagulls, “D.N.A.” (1982)
Believe it or not, A Flock Of Seagulls won the 1983 Grammy Award for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. If you’re counting, that’s more Grammys than mega-groups Queen, Led Zeppelin or Gun N’ Roses have (n)ever won. They say that when it comes to family, blood is thicker than water, but in frontman Mike Score’s case, he has carried on with the Flock’s name without his drummer brother Ali or the other original members of the band.

Sparks, “All You Ever Think About Is Sex” (1983)
Keyboardist Ron Mael has been collaborating for more than four decades now with his younger brother, singer Russell Mael. At first, the two called their band Halfnelson, but later renamed themselves Sparks, a play on the famous Marx Brothers.

INXS, “Don’t Change” (1982)
Sometimes change is a good thing when it comes to what you called yourselves. INXS was originally called The Farriss Brothers after the band’s three siblings: Andrew Farriss (keyboards), Jon Farriss (drums) and Tim Farriss (guitar).

Gene Loves Jezebel, “Desire” (1986)
Since their heyday in the late 80s, identical twin brothers Jay and Michael Aston have been fronting competing versions of the Gene Loves Jezebel. A 2008 lawsuit settlement between the brothers stated that Jay’s band would be known as “Gene Loves Jezebel” in the UK and “Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel” within the US, while Michael’s band would be referred to as “Gene Loves Jezebel” in the US and “Michael Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel” within the UK.

The B-52s, “Song for a Future Generation” (1983)
Born a Pisces just like her older brother and bandmate Ricky Wilson, Cindy Wilson admitted to liking chihuahuas and Chinese noodles in The B-52s’ satirical take on personal ads. It was the first of two songs by the original line-up that featured vocals by all five band members.

The Bangles, “Going Down To Liverpool” (1984)
Making up one-half of the all-female band The Bangles, sisters Vicki and Debbi Peterson played guitar and drums. After she first heard this song originally recorded by The Waves (later Katrina & The Waves), Debbi convinced her bandmates to let her do the lead vocals on The Bangles’ harmonic cover.

Split Enz, “I Got You” (1980)

Split Enz’s founder Tim Finn recruited his younger brother Neil in the late 1970s to share duties as frontmen to his Kiwi band. Later, Neil went on to form Crowded House after Split Enz split and more recently Tim and Neil have collaborated under the name, The Finn Brothers.

The Proclaimers, “Letter From America” (1987)
Brothers and identical twins, Charlie and Craig Reid are probably best known for “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”, but they first gained attention with this song that addressed the long history of Scottish emigration to the United States and Canada due to economic hardship.

The Jesus and Mary Chain, “Just Like Honey” (1985)
No relation to The Proclaimers despite also being from Scotland, brothers and songwriting partners Jim and William Reid were pioneers of noise pop combining elements from their influences The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, and The Ramones.

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Mixtape: The Best John Hughes Playlist, Pt. I 0

Thanks to Mad World guest-mixtaper Chris Rooney for giving us another party playlist…

The cinematic voice of a generation, John Hughes’ films helped to define American teenagers in the 1980s. With a John Hughes movie usually came a great soundtrack chock full of New Wave songs, mostly by British acts. Hughes knew the importance of music to a movie, and he helped launch many Brat Pack careers, introduced New Wave to many in the American heartland, and created lasting moments intrinsically tied to his soundtracks. Everyone has a favorite movie that Hughes either wrote or directed, everyone has a favorite quotable line from his canon of 80s flicks, and, surely, they also have a favorite song…

Lindsey Buckingham, “Holiday Road” from National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)
“I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life developing newer and better food additives. I guess I’ve missed an awful lot. At first, I didn’t want to take this vacation. But, now I’m glad I did. It’s given me a chance to spend a lot more time with you and… uh…”
Hughes was only the writer for this Chevy Chase-starring film, but its success helped earn him a three movie deal with Universal Studios. Dabbling in New Wave, Fleetwood Mac member Lindsey Buckingham had his biggest solo hit with this song used in the opening credits.

 

Altered Images, “Happy Birthday” from Sixteen Candles (1984)
“I can’t believe this. They fucking forgot my birthday.”
Hughes’ directorial debut found his muse in Molly Ringwald, the typical American teenage girl hoping to make her “sweet sixteen” special. Altered Images’ light and fluffy 1981 song was a perfect match to Ringwald’s character, Sam.

 

Thompson Twins, “If You Were Here” from Sixteen Candles (1984)
“Yeah, you!”
Two teenagers sitting on a glass top table with a lit birthday cake is probably not the safest thing in the world to do, but Sam’s wish did come true on her sixteenth birthday.

 

Oingo Boingo, “Weird Science” from Weird Science (1985)
“Gary?… By the way, why are we wearing bras on our heads?”
Hughes showed his sophomoric side in his sci-fi fantasy movie about two goofy teen boys starring Anthony Michael Hall (Gary) creating their dream woman. Oingo Boingo’s off-kilter song with the same name definitely captured the weirdness of the film’s premise.

 

Killing Joke, “Eighties” from Weird Science (1985)
“So, what would you little maniacs like to do first?”
Every time I listen to the bass line from this song, I wonder how much it really influenced Nirvana’s 1992 song, “Come As You Are”. Then again, maybe Killing Joke was influenced by a similar riff on The Damned’s 1982 song, “Life Goes On”.

 

Simple Minds, “Don’t You Forget About Me” from The Breakfast Club (1985)
“Saturday, March 24, 1984. Shermer High School, Shermer, Illinois, 60062. Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did *was* wrong. But we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. What do you care? You see us as you want to see us – in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That’s the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed.”
The song so synonymous with the movie was originally offered to Billy Idol and Bryan Ferry before Simple Minds agreed to record it, thus leading to their only American #1 hit back in April 1985.

Wang Chung, “Fire In The Twilight” from The Breakfast Club (1985)
“When you grow up, your heart dies.”
Anthony Michael Hall by this point was appearing in his fourth film penned or directed by John Hughes. Hall would also be a cast member on the 1985-86 season on Saturday Night Live along with other John Hughes movie alums, Robert Downey, Jr and Joan Cusack.

 

Psychedelic Furs, “Pretty In Pink” from Pretty In Pink (1986)
“This is a really volcanic ensemble you’re wearing, it’s really marvelous!”
Molly Ringwald’s New Wave princess Andie was from the wrong side of the tracks, so it’s only fitting that this Psychedelic Furs track serves as her theme song. The Furs’ 1981 song inspired Hughes to create the film of the same name and the band re-recorded it five years later.

 

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, “If You Leave” from Pretty In Pink (1986)
“God, Andie, Id’ve died for you!”
Hughes originally planned to end the movie with OMD’s “Goddess of Love”, but changed all that after the final scene received poor test audience reactions. Hughes rewrote the scene and in under 24 hours, OMD wrote and recorded “If You Leave”. Thanks to the movie, the song would be the synthpop duo’s biggest American hit.

 

The Dream Academy, “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
The Dream Academy’s exquisite instrumental cover of The Smiths during the art museum scene makes skipping school for the day all worthwhile.

 

The English Beat “March Of The Swivelheads” from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986)
“Don’t get up…Smells delicious…Dinner’s ready!”
Hughes located and shot most of his movies in and around Chicago where he grew up, but for Ferris’ house and neighborhood in the final racing home scene, he used Long Beach locations in Southern California. Watch out, Ferris! Principal Rooney is on to you!

 

Stephen Duffy “She Loves Me” from Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987)
“Because I’m driving you crazy and you’re driving me crazy and I’d rather not see you and have you think good things about me than have you see me and hate me. ‘Cause I can’t afford to have you hate me, Keith. The only things I care about in this goddamn life are me and my drums and you.”
Hughes only wrote the script for this movie, but it has his teen angst trademark all over it.
The song playing when Keith (Eric Stolz) and Watts (Mary Stuart Masterson) practice kissing is sung by Stephen Duffy, the original vocalist and bassist for Duran Duran. Duffy left the band in 1979 to later pursue a solo career and was replaced with Simon LeBon. The following year Duran Duran signed to EMI and became big. Duffy had some minor success afterward.

 

Lick The Tins, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” from Some Kind Of Wonderful (1987)
“Well, I like art, I work in a gas station, my best friend is a tomboy. These things don’t fly too well in the American high school.”
To make up for Andie not picking Duckie (Jon Cryer) in Pretty In Pink, Hughes redeemed himself by having another redhead choose the best friend over the object of desire. Stoltz and Lea Thompson (Wonderful’s Amanda) almost worked together in the 1985 hit, Back to the Future before he was dropped from the film in favor of original choice, Michael J. Fox.

 

Kate Bush, “This Woman’s Work” from She’s Having a Baby (1988)
“And in the end, I realized that I took more than I gave, I was trusted more than I trusted, and I was loved more than I loved. And what I was looking for was not to be found but to be made.”
Tracing the lives of a young couple from marriage to the birth of their first child, She’s Having a Baby was the last in a series of Hughes’ coming-of-age movies in the 1980s. Specifically written and sung for the film by Kate Bush, Hughes used the song during the film’s dramatic climax when Jake (Kevin Bacon) learns that the lives of his wife (Elizabeth McGovern) and their unborn child are in danger.

 

Everything But The Girl, “Apron Strings” from She’s Having a Baby (1988)
“Promise not to get mad? I stopped taking the pill over two months ago.”
Married in real life, Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorn and Ben Watts have had three babies together.

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