YISEL’S TOP FIVE FROM: 1986

YISEL’S TOP FIVE FROM: 1986

1986 is here and it is full of innovative unique bands. Dive into the next installment of Yisel’s Top Five:

1. “SEA, SWALLOW ME” BY COCTEAU TWINS AND HAROLD BUDD FROM THE MOON AND THE MELODIES

This song is the collaboration by Scottish dream-pop pioneers Cocteau Twins and avant-garde composer Harold Budd. Originally released under all collaborators’ names, the track can now be found under the mantra of Cocteau’s Twins. A beautiful invitation to exit this world that’s dripping with the captivating soprano of Cocteau’s Elizabeth Fraser. I love how every Cocteau Twins feels so mystical, and “Sea, Swallow Me” is no exception. A song that makes me feel like diving into the ocean and disappearing between the waves.

Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd - Sea, Swallow Me

2. “KUNDALINI EXPRESS” BY LOVE AND ROCKETS FROM EXPRESS

Love and Rockets was formed in 1985 by former Bauhaus members Daniel Ash (vocals, guitar and saxophone), Kevin Haskins (drums) and David J (bass and vocals). The band took its name after the comic book series Love and Rockets by the famed Hernandez brothers. Considered to be a fusion of gothic, alternative, pop and post-punk, they’re another band that I feel is underappreciated--but has great music. “Kundalini Express” consists of a distorted guitar riff juxtaposed to the shouts of the band that mimic a train.

Kundalini Express - Love and Rockets

3. “BIZARRE LOVE TRIANGLE” BY NEW ORDER FROM BROTHERHOOD

Again, New Order makes it to the list--this time with its electro-new wave song, “Bizarre Love Triangle.” The lyrics, though repetitive, are memorable and stunning--particularly the opening line, “every time I think of you/I feel shot right through with a bolt of blue.” The song is mainly made of electronic sequencers, plus Bernard Sumner’s vocals and some of Peter Hook’s bass lines. Most of the piece makes use of orchestral hits, a sound effect created through layering the sound of different orchestral instruments as well as synth choirs.

New Order - Bizarre Love Triangle Music Video

 

4. “THERE IS A LIGHT THAT NEVER GOES OUT” BY THE SMITHS FROM THE QUEEN IS DEAD

“There is a Light that Never Goes Out” is my favorite song from The Smiths. It has the sad essence of most of Morrissey’s lyrics, yet it is also hopeful, romantic, and tragic. During the chorus, Johnny Marr’s joyful guitar accompanies Morissey’s voice with major chords. Marr confessed that the intro was taken from The Rolling Stones’ cover of “Hitch Hike” by Marvin Gaye. Adding to the layers of the song are synthesized strings and a recognizable flute section, making this one an all-time classic.

The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Goes Out

5. “SWAMP THING” BY THE CHAMELEONS FROM STRANGE TIMES

It always surprises me how despite so many brilliant songs in their arsenal, The Chameleons didn’t become more famous--though it may have something to do with the band’s 1987 separation after the death of their manager. The band formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester back in 1981, and released three studio albums. In 2000, the band reformed, but separated again after 3 years in 2003. “Swamp Thing” features the band’s trademark post-punk sound, atmospheric guitars and Mark Burgess’ distinguishable voice. With great guitar riffs and emotional-eager lyrics, The Chameleons are truly post-punk gems.

The Chameleons - Swamp Thing - 1986

 

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