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1315Re: [Stratosphere_Fanzine] Re: My Top 10 Music Guilty Pleasures - Top 10 New Wave Bands.

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  • Jon Gordon
    Aug 2, 2006
      My own thoughts on what constitutes New Wave -
      New Wave is what happened when punk went into the mainstream, and any UK punk bands which had found chart success were swiftly re-labeled into a perhaps more acceptable genre description, so the term does mean slightly different things on either side of the pond. It's also worth bearing in mind the British music press's sudden obsession with Power Pop which referred to bands such as Rich Kids, The Records, Starjets, Tonight and a number of others. Authentic punk acts such as the Lurkers and UK Subs found themselves slotting comfortably into all three categories and enjoyed top 40 successes, as did Sham 69, the Angelic Upstarts, the Buzzcocks, Siouxsie And The Banshees and the Stranglers. Then there were other bands such as The Skids and The Vapours which were actually more traditional pop acts given a makeover. The Skids were quite obviously the 'Scottish Slade'.
      But confusion arises when the post-punk acts appear around 1979/80 - The Teardrop Explodes, Echo And The Bunnymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Japan, Orange Juice, Simple Minds - none of these bands would've admitted a connection to any particular genre, whereas a newer generation of punk bands such as Chron-Gen, Anti Pasti, Discharge and others were definitely punks, while describing the Cockney Rejects as New Wave was simply wrong. And the term had fallen out of use entirely in the UK by the time the Human League released their 'Travelogue' album.
      The term 'New Wave' was also used in connection with 2-Tone acts. The Specials and The Beat fall into line here while Madness are definitely a proper pop group and none of that tribalism round our manor, mate. The first New Romantics appear in 1981 - basically anyone with a synth keyboard and eyeliner (John Foxx retired in this year) and some bands I've mentioned previously (Japan, the Human League) are promptly relabeled as such. Gets a little frantic and confusing, doesn't it?
      Nowadays, discussing exactly who was what 25 years ago is best conducted in style terms. If you take New Wave to refer a particular type of quirky staccato pop tune backed with a (conventional organ-type NOT synth) keyboard and with an emphasis on stripey black and white imagery then most of RSW's suggestions do fall into that category, but New Wave was a term which had mostly fallen out of use in England around the end of the 70's. PiL were definitely New Wave, the Ramones definitely weren't, and no-one ever really fathomed what Devo were. 

      rswappleton@... wrote:

      > Hmmm...Top 10 New Wave Bands...I'm actually not sure what constitutes
      'new wave'; here's my Top 10 list anyway, off the top of my head - what
      are yours?
      > 1. a-ha
      > 2. Wham!
      > 3. Duran Duran
      > 4. Depeche Mode
      > 5. The Cure
      > 6. Pet Shop Boys
      > 7. Culture Club
      > 8. Crowded House
      > 9. New Order
      > 10. Stray Cats
      > Jen

      A quick reply before I melt away, wicked witch of the west style, in this

      I suppose "New Wave", like all music, is entirely subjective, so my
      definition is probably different than yours. In fact, looking at your
      list, I don't think I've ever thought of any of these bands as New Wave.
      80's pop/rock, but not specifically New Wave.

      I think of New Wave bands as those from the late 70's - early 80's that
      had a deliberately bright and quirky sound & look, usually somewhat
      futuristic, with a heavy emphasis on poppy synths and cheesy drum

      I'm probably the only person on the planet who remembers the short-lived
      1982-1983 New Wave sitcom "Square Pegs". The misfit girl Lauren looks at
      the New Waver Johnny Slash and says, "What are you, some kind of hippie?"
      He indignantly replies, "No way, I'm no hippie. I'm New Wave, man. It's
      totally different head. Totally."

      A quick list of favorite "typical" New Wave songs (though not all the
      artists are considered New Wave bands):

      1. Telecommunication - Flock Of Silly Haircuts
      2. She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby
      3. Pop Muzik - M
      4. Lucky Number - Lene Lovich
      5. Whip It - Devo
      6. Da Da Da - Trio
      7. Walking In LA - Missing Persons
      8. Six Months In A Leaky Boat - Split Enz
      9. Mexican Radio - Wall Of Voodoo
      10. Cars - Gary Numan

      It's interesting that Jen's list above features groups that, for the most
      part, were popular a couple of years after the groups in my list hit
      their peak and faded. It must be that high school nostalgia thing that
      makes us remember such eras so fondly. I graduated in '83, and I still
      vividly remember driving to school (in my mother's station wagon, of all
      things), listening to Thomas Dolby, the king of the quirky sci-fi New
      Wave geeks, on the radio.

      Back to the heatwave. Oh yay, the temp in my apartment is down to 89F.
      Downright chilly compared to earlier today, when I could fry eggs on any
      flat surface in the building.

      --- RSW
      www.raymondscottwoo lson.com

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