YISEL’S TOP FIVE FROM: 1985

YISEL’S TOP FIVE FROM: 1985

1985 was a hard year to choose from, songs from Tears for Fears, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Simple Minds and others who didn’t make it to the list were in Yisel’s radar. Which songs made it to Yisel’s top five? Read Further to find out.

1. “CLOSE TO ME” BY THE CURE FROM THE HEAD ON THE DOOR

The Cure is a prime example of music that’s both happy and sad, and “Close to Me” perfectly achieves that combination. A cheerful beat juxtaposes Robert’s Smith voice and lyrics about hallucinations. According to Smith, most of the album’s lyrics came from nightmarish visions when he had chicken pox as a kid. There are three versions of “Close to Me”: the original album version, the 7″ single and the 12″ extended version. The album version lacks the brass section from the other two versions, which is interesting because the part with the brass section is an adaptation from a New Orleans funeral march melody—again juxtaposing that happy-sad sound.

Close To Me - the cure

2. “THE HEADMASTER RITUAL” BY THE SMITHS FROM MEAT IS MURDER

“The Headmaster Ritual” is a song about teachers’ abuse on students, with lyrics inspired by Morrissey’s schooldays in Manchester. A critique of the education system, the song is accompanied by Johnny Marr’s otherworldly guitarwork. Though the album’s lead single was “That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore,” I believe the energy of “The Headmaster Ritual” is the perfect start to the record. I also believe the song better fits the album’s concept, which is both overtly political and, like its title track, staunchly pro-vegetarian. Marr once revealed it took him two years to write the guitar for “The Headmaster Ritual,” the chords used include Cadd9, Dsus2, Esus4 and other uncommon chords that give The Smiths their unique sound in each song.

01 - The Headmaster Ritual - The Smiths

3. “WEST END GIRLS” BY PET SHOP BOYS FROM PLEASE

I was driving my friend Sammy home today when this song came on the stereo. Whe started singing along and even altering some of the lyrics to be about her dog. I remembered how much I enjoy this song and just bobbing my head back and forth to it. The first version of “West End Girls” was recorded between 1983-84 with record producer Bobby Orlando playing multiple instruments. In 1985 the band left Orlando and hired a new manager, Tom Watkins. It was then that Pet Shop Boys signed a contracted with EMI and re-recorded “West End Girls.” The song is influenced by “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash, as well as TS Eliot poem The Wasteland. “West End Girls” is a hypnotic song that crosses the line of hip-hop to synth-pop to a club hit or any car ride hit.

4. “DEAD MAN’S PARTY” BY OINGO BONGO FROM DEAD MAN’S PARTY

Does the name Danny Elfman ring a bell? Well, if it doesn’t all you need to do is watch the any famous Tim Burton film, or even an episode of The Simpsons, and you’ll hear one of Danny’s compositions. Along with composing music for those, Elfman was also the frontman of Oingo Boingo. The band was born from a surrealist performance art theatrical troupe founded by Danny’s brother, Richard Elfman. The song is a musical party in which guitars, drums, and keyboards are accompanied by saxophones. The lyrics relate the story of a funeral, and the juxtaposition of the song’s joyfulness and a topic such as death remind me of the Mexican festivity Dia de Muertos, in which the dead members of families are remembered with a big celebration.

Oingo Boingo Dead Man's Party

 

5. “TAKE ON ME” BY A-HA FROM HUNTING HIGH AND LOW

Even if you don’t know A-ha by name, you’ll probably recognize this song anywhere. “Take on Me” is one of those songs that inevitably makes you want to sing along, even if your voice can’t hit the high notes. A-ha was formed in Oslo by vocalist Morten Harket, guitarist Pal Waaktaar and keyboardist Magne Furuholmen, and with “Take On Me” became the first Norwegian act ever to hit #1 on the Billboard charts. The song was recorded and released in 1984, but failed to achieve popularity. In 1985 the second and final version was released--and it’s the 1985 version is the one we still hear on the radio. Musically, the song combines acoustic guitars, keyboards, drum machines and a wide vocal range (of over two and a half octaves). And of course, the famous music video is both stunning and innovative. The video uses rotoscoping, an animation technique in which the artist traces over the motion pictures frame by frame, combining the pencil sketch animation and a live-action film. It’s an amorous dream-like adventure in which a woman enters a comic book due to Morten’s invitation. If you haven’t seen the video--if that’s even possible--it’s a must see.

a-ha - Take On Me (Official 4K Music Video)
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