Jul 10

Popular ’88

Popular111 comments • 3,123 views

WELL DONE EVERYONE! We’ve made it through 1988. But the 80s still have more to throw at us. Let’s regroup and take stock of the year – use the poll to indicate which tracks YOU would have given 6 or more out of 10 to.

And use the comments to discuss the year in general – which, as has often been mentioned in the regular comments boxes, was actually pretty damn good.

Which of these Number One Singles of 1988 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

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  1. 101
    Chelovek na lune on 19 Oct 2010 #

    Hmm, Mista E “Don’t Believe The Hype”: I seem to recall this track was the focus of a lot of tabloid hysteria about raves, etc. (Listening to it on youtube: I hear the voice of someone pretending to be Prince Charles, or possibly samples of him, with other sampled voices talking about “the acid house”. Am sure I’ve heard it lots since, actually!

    Bryan Ferry’s “Bete Noire” (from which “Kiss and Tell” is taken) is a fine pop album, ALMOST as polished and perfect in its way as “The Lexicon of Love”. Barely a duff track, though “The Right Stuff” was the best single (which barely got any higher than no 41)

    Proclaimers – absolute classic track.
    Tranny Vamp – has aged surprisingly well. I recall a big tabloid fuss about naked Wendy James in the video (but don’t recall ever seeing it)

    Not impressed by the Taylor Dayne or Siouxsie tracks; and the Style Council one (complete with B-side “Oh I Do Like To Be B-Side the A-Side” suggesting further that the creativity had run out, and, oh, the less said about their awful cover version of the wondrous “Promised Land” the better) was also somewhat below their best. I sill can’t decide whether that Human League track is a minor gem or not.

    Strange to see so many relatively big names on the no 41 list this year.

  2. 102
    Mark M on 14 Dec 2010 #

    The Face’s films of 1988 (not numbered):

    Wings Of Desire


    Near Dark




    Planes Trains And Automobiles

    Who Framed Roger Rabbit

    Hollywood Shuffle

    The Hidden

    A pretty weak bunch, I think, and considering they’re not numbered, putting Ironweed and Barfly next to each other makes it seem sameier than it is. The ‘Also’ list contains Robocop and Midnight Run, both of which I’d take over everything on the main list any day, plus a bunch of ehs? What was Angel Dust? The Fruit Machine? The Dead Can’t Lie? Hidden City?

    Not making the list at all were films including: Beetle Juice, A Fish Called Wanda, Hairspray and Colors.

  3. 103
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Tampopo is terrific.

  4. 104
    enitharmon on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Huh? 1988 is the year of Cinema Paradiso, one of those films that would make my all-time top twenty. And if you think it’s a typical piece of elitist arty-farty European cinema you haven’t seen it!

  5. 105
    Mark M on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Pretty sure Cinema Paradiso came out in 1989 here – it won the Best Foreign Language Film BAFTA in 1990.

  6. 106
    swanstep on 26 Jun 2012 #

    I just got around to listening to Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden (1988) (I’d previously only known the two tracks from the album that made it onto their Natural History (Best of).) Holy crap, it’s great, and, as with MBV, it feels like one of those (not so) secret playbooks that all sorts of subsequent, good-to-very-very-good bands have been cribbing from/reading off (Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Broken Social Scene just for starters).

    Anyhow, it’s interesting to come back to this page and see that it’s on *nobody’s* list for the year and hasn’t come up in 100+ comments including several by me (whereas if you check current critics’ lists and meta-lists for 1988, SoE is top 10 and sometimes top 5). I guess that SoE’s initial critical as well as public reception must be in part a testament to just how much else that was immediate and exciting was going on in pop music at the time, so that something pretty essentially contemplative like SoE couldn’t and didn’t break through for anyone much.

    I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who was right *on* this at the time. Was anyone an ignored voice at Melody Maker, say, about this record? Anyone got any wider anecdotes about (insights into) Mark Hollis? Any good links for those of us catching up? (I’ve looked on a couple of ilxor threads and people often mention a Mojo piece, but no links…) And still no 331/3 book on SoE apparently.

  7. 107
    punctum on 26 Jun 2012 #

    No – Steve Sutherland at MM gave it a rave review. The NME on the other hand pretended it didn’t exist, so preoccupied were they at the time with musical giants like Motorcycle Boy.

  8. 108
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 26 Jun 2012 #

    haha if i recall correctly nme’s motorcycle boy cover happened because an editor had LOST the actual images — now forgotten — that were intended to go on the cover and MB was a frantic last-minute much-deprecated compromise

    as a metaphor for the extent to which the NME had missed their way in 1988, this episode is reasonably perfect: in effect the same set of editors were gradually losing the kinds of writers who had an ear for such stuff — 1988 being the year i walked out (did i ever tell this story?)

    not that i paid much attention to talk talk — steve sutherland’s tastes and stances (politics, demeanour) have never been mine, and i would have taken the line that if a senior editor was backing them at a pop weekly, they were not per se the kinds of material i needed to chase up or down at that fraught moment

  9. 109
    punctum on 26 Jun 2012 #

    I kept up with Talk Talk for New Pop reasons and when I saw veteran improv names like Dave White and Hugh Davies on Spirit Of Eden I went oho (Tarbuck-style).

  10. 110
    Ed on 27 Jun 2012 #

    @98, 99. Striking how far the weeklies seem to have been out of step with their readers. NME readers = indie kids! MM readers = Goths!

    (Actually I don’t really remember the 1988 NME, which may have lapsed from the more eclectic tastes of its mid-80s incarnation. The 1988 MM was very arsequakey, though, an inclination that gets reflected only at No 10= in the readers’ choices.)

    @102 Near Dark is great fun. It just about invented that whole “modern vampires + tortured teen romance” genre, though, so it has a lot to answer for.

  11. 111
    swanstep on 27 Jun 2012 #

    @107-109. Thanks for your responses. Reading around, it seems as though there’s going to be a fresh wave of Talk Talk awareness in the next few months with a double-cd tribute album and an associated new book coming out.

    The instrumentation on both Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock is really aurally unfathomable at times. One has to check liner notes and guess that, yes, *that* must be massed violas or *that* must be a shozyg (whatever that is). I guess there was plenty of this sort of experimentation around both in parts of prog (Elevator over the Hill) and parts of avant-classical (some Jocelyn Pook/Regular Music stuff perhaps) before TT, but even now so few people are really on top of that material that, if anything, these last two TT albums (which I currently can’t stop listening to!) are going to end up being entry points for most listeners to that other even less commercial/poppy stuff.

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