Monday, 6 June 2011

Sing a Song of 1985

Let’s see if we can start a bit of a debate going here. This weekend I was in a nostalgic mood and had a few Now That’s What I Call Music CDs on the stereo. and I came to a conclusion.

1985 was the best year for music to sing along to. Ever.

Let me try to sell the theory to you with a few examples.

Kirsty MacColl – New England.

This is one of those songs that I know ALL the words of and sing along to, despite the fact it is written from the female perspective. In fact, although I love the tune, it is the lyrics that make this so powerful. It tells of lost love. The fact that people move on and  don’t wait forever.  Above all I adore Kirsty MacColl’s delivery of the song. She was totally underrated and became one of those musicians that was only truly appreciated after their untimely death.

Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls.

The simplicity of this song was it’s key. Although there was a lot going on, the monotone vocals of Neil Tenant caught the mood of the song perfectly. Another one that lyrics trip easily off my tongue, although calling it a sing-a-long would be pushing the envelope. Again it tells a story but hides the “poptastic” future direction that the Pet Shp Boys would take.

Huey Lewis and the News – Power of Love.

The story of 1985 music wouldn’t be complete without at least one film soundtrack song. A View to a Kill, Alive and Kicking, St Elmo’s Fire and We Don’t Need Another Hero could all easily have made it into this list. But for the 15 year old me, the film of the year was Back to the Future and this song epitomised the film. I even enjoyed Huey’s cameo. “I’m sorry. You’re too darned loud”.

Marillion – Kayleigh

I was toying with putting a rockier song into the mix. Queen had released a few tracks from their A Kind of Magic album in 1985, but I plumped for Marillion. Kayleigh is one of those songs that as soon as it comes on at a karaoke night, everyone dons air guitar and air microphone and joins in with. The crescendo that the song reaches is possibly one of the most recognisable in music history.

Nik Kershaw - The Riddle

As I have picked plenty of songs with that singability factor, my final choice is one that flies in the face of lyrical perfection. But does that stop you trying to recreate Nik Kershaw? Of course not. The Riddle is “What the bloody hell are you talking about?”. But it draws you in with it’s quirky melody and even though not one word makes sense, you are still tempted to make up your own words that sound vaguely English and that fit in.

I wanted to limit my argument to 5 songs but if tie breakers are needed I submit to you Colonel Abrams – Trapped, Talking Heads – Road to Nowhere, Feargal Sharkey – A Good Heart, Katrina and the Waves – Walking on Sunshine, Tears for Fears – Everybody Wants to Rule the World, Level 42 – Something About You and Ashford and Simpson – Solid.

So, do you agree or do you think that you could put up a better case for another year. How about putting your opinions down and telling me why I am so wrong. Choose the five songs that you think demonstrate your points and share them with the world (and me).


Pete at Just Thought I'd Mention ... choose 1979. What do you think?

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