19
Jul 01

Dancing About Architecture

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Dancing About Architecture goes eighties with an album-a-year trawl through what (sez they) made the Eighties less “synthy, spiky and safe”. In other words, ten albums which try to wrench back the 80s from their rightful nostalgiapop weirdness into a context Proper Rock Criticism might understand. So for a start we might point out that “spiky” and “synthy” still don’t equal “safe” and for a second we might point out that in a paranoid fittest-survives era ‘safety’ might be a subversive value. Maybe this is why – contra Peter Gorman’s “five eighties myths” – I’ve listened more to Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” than anything by the Clash, ever. I’m keener on the Mick Jones who seems behind the gloss for four minutes not to know anything than the one who seems behind the grit to happily know everything.

(Though, actually, The Clash were a gang for fucksakes, i.e. a confederation whose only purpose is mutual support and ‘safety’.)

Of course some of DAA’s picks are excellent records, all are underconsidered and worthy of attention…but still and all, the “synthy, spiky” eighties got something right: the reason ’1982′ feels like a spell to me isn’t anything to do with ironypunkers Flipper and is everything to do with each gasp from Billy Mackenzie’s urgent lungs. And more still needs to be said about that! Meanwhile, praising a 1989 album for being “rock and roll as it was meant to be”? Sure, but they’d had since nineteen fifty fucking five to get it right, so one would hope so, eh?

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