YISEL’S TOP FIVE FROM: 1983

YISEL’S TOP FIVE FROM: 1983

0Shares

Yisel continues her trapse through time with her favorite songs of the year 1983. Give a read:

1. “BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE” BY TALKING HEADS FROM SPEAKING IN TONGUES

Talking Heads - Burning Down the House (Official Video)

“Burning Down the House” is one of those funky new wave hits that make everyone join in the chorus. The song was created one day the band was jamming, however that day Chris Frantz, the drummer of the band and fan of funk music, had recently seen the P-Funk collective (an American funk collective with rotating musicians lead by musician George Clinton) play. During P-Funk’s performance, the crowd had kept shouting “Burn down the house.” Frantz took the line and shouted it while the band was in their own jamming session. At that moment, the line transformed into “Burning Down the House”. For the lyrics, they decided to find words that would fit the rhythm, as opposed to forcing elaborated phrases. That is why when you read the lyrics, they might seem like nonsense “Ah, watch out, you might get what you’re after / Cool babies, strange, but not a stranger.” The music video, which was directed by vocalist and guitarist David Byrne, shows the band in white outfits playing in a ballroom. Further scenes show the faces of the members of the band projected in a black background, a house with a projection of flames, and a concert crow. 

 

2. “PROMISES, PROMISES” BY NAKED EYES FROM BURNING BRIDGES

Naked Eyes - Promises Promises

From Bath, England, Naked Promises became famous after covering Bacharach and Hal David’s “Always Something There to Remind Me”. The band was formed with Peter Bryne on vocals and Rob Fisher on keyboards. They were one of the first new wave bands to use the famous Fairlight CMI (Computer Musical Instrument) sample synthesizer. The band only released two studio albums, Burning Bridges in 1983 (Billboard Chart #32) and Fuel for the Fire in 1984 (Billboard Chart #83.. Since it was hard to recreate their sound, because of the usage of the Fairlight CMI in the studio, the band never toured. In my opinion, Naked Eye embodies the perfect ‘80s new wave sound. Songs such as  “When the Lights Go Out” and “I Could Show You How” embrace the decade. “Promises, Promises” is certainly my favorite: it sticks to you with its dancy sound while at the same time questioning those relationships where you are so in love that you keep forgiving the lies.

 

3. “ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER” by THE FIXX FROM REACH THE BEACH

The Fixx - One Thing Leads To Another

“One Thing Leads to Another” reached the US Billboard Hot 100 as song number #4 in 1983. The band was formed in 1979, at which time they called themselves Portraits. After adding some new members, the band obtained the name The Fixx. According to singer Cy Curnin, the lyrics of the song deal with politics and is a critique to those politicians that keep making promises that only result in lies. The music video shows drummer Adam Wood dressed up as a scientist looking into what is supposed to be a new dimension. Shortly after, the video shows Curnin walking in what looks like an underground passage but seems to be the new dimension. The song provides a very catchy guitar riff and keeps a stable rhythm for most of the song, but it is the chorus when Curnin’s voice explodes accompanied by the band’s backing vocals.

 

4. “LET’S DANCE” BY DAVID BOWIE FROM LET’S DANCE

David Bowie - Let's Dance (Official Video)

A couple of weeks ago, my five-year-old nephew saw a picture I have of David Bowie and he asked me who he was. I answered, “he was a star.” He then asked if I meant a “rock star.” After that, I showed him this song and he started dancing. The ability of this song to move people’s body breaks any age barrier. Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” is a hymn for all the souls waiting to move their bones. As the story goes, Bowie invited musician Nile Rodgers from Chic to his house and showed him the idea he had for this song. Bowie played for Rodgers a couple of chords and told him he wanted it to call it “Let’s Dance.” Rodger thought that Bowie’s chords were a bit obscure asked if he could modify the music, and that is how the song was born. The video of the song features Bowie and a double bass player playing in a very plain looking bar. After this, the video mainly follows an aboriginal Australian couple that can be seen dancing in a cliff as the video is about to end.

 

5. “HAND IN GLOVE” BY THE SMITHS FROM THE SMITHS

Hand in Glove - The Smiths (Audio Only)

I love The Smithsthere, it is said. So if you are keeping up with my features, you’ll start to see a lot from them. “Hand in Glove” was the first single the band released in 1983 by the record label Rough Trade, yet they didn’t sign them right away. It was until the band appeared in John Peel’s Radio 1 Show that the band became exposed to multitudes of people and Rough Trade finally sign their first contract with them. The song can be easily recognized due to the sound of a harmonica that Johnny Marr plays at the beginning of the song. Written by Morrissey and Marr, the song tries to convey a theme of “complete loneliness,” in Morrissey’s words.  Hidden amongst the lyrics are allusions to other artists and their works, such as English playwright Shelagh Delaney, whose play A Taste of Honey is quoted when the lyrics say “I’ll probably never see you again,”) and Leonard Cohen’s song “Take This Longing” from which Morrissey paraphrases the line “Everything depends upon how near you stand next to me.”The song was recorded in G minor, which has two flats, giving it a more tragic sound. “Hand in Glove” is the beginning of that indie, post-punk, unique sound of The Smiths.

0Shares