Jul 10

Popular ’88

Popular114 comments • 4,280 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?

View Results

Poll closes: No Expiry

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  1. 91
    admin on 31 Jul 2010 #

    Little admin note: I’ve finally tracked down and zapped the bug that was resetting vote counts very high in older polls with multiple answers like this. (This was making all the old polls appear with tiny bars, all in proportion, but scaled down so that the top result looked like it had something small like only 20% of the vote, etc)

  2. 92
    wichita lineman on 2 Aug 2010 #

    Re: HoL and Suede. Didn’t both have the marrow sucked out of their bones when their rather talented guitarists left after an album and a half (ish)? Always thought they were very similar in many respects, Guy C and Brett A running their bands like military leaders (Chadders had an army upbringing, after all) and using the same key words in most of their songs (jesus/plastic/fire vs trash/wild/council flat). Both fond of singing “so young”, which neither were (ouch).

    Metal Mickey lyric – snap, except I thought it was “she’s so hard, she’s so clean”, which is not really the kind of girl Mr Anderson was describing. Also thought So Young’s chorus was “let’s kiss the coppers” and The Wild Ones were “running with the tarts tonight”. His diction was rather limp.

  3. 93
    Rory on 2 Aug 2010 #

    @92 Sacrilege! I loved Dog Man Star and feared the worst when Butler left, but was absolutely obsessed with Coming Up, my favourite Suede album bar none. Listened to it non-stop on my walkman for months, backed on C90 with Pulp’s His ‘n’ Hers.

    Butler’s solo efforts, on the other hand…

  4. 94
    wichita lineman on 2 Aug 2010 #

    W&W’s Teardrops was no.1 in Holland for SIX WEEKS. Shame on the UK. Is there a Dutch Popular out there somewhere?

    Re 93: I was a little harsh on ‘The Boy Oakes’-era Suede (but only a little). Yes, Bickers and Butler both suffered from Marr syndrome (again that’s a LITTLE harsh on Butler, but basically true).

  5. 95
    Rory on 2 Aug 2010 #

    @94 No argument from me on the albums after Coming Up, but Oakes was the last one to blame.

  6. 96
    wichita lineman on 2 Aug 2010 #

    Those Norwegian number ones in full:

    Belinda Carlisle – Heaven Is…
    Billy Ocean – Get Outta My Dreams
    A Ha – Stay On These Roads
    Prince – Alphabet Street
    Ofra Haza – Im Nin Alu
    Tindrum – Drums Of War
    Viggo Sandvik – Fisking I Valdres
    Europe – Superstitious
    Transvision Vamp – I Want Your Love
    Vidar Theisen & the Retrievers – Heavy Metal
    Koreana – Hand In Hand
    One 2 Many – Downtown
    Sam Brown – Stop

  7. 97
    Dominic on 6 Sep 2010 #

    Favourite ballads of 1988:

    Perhaps “Love Is Contagious” by Tajeh Sevelle,

    Perhaps “Come Into My Life” by Joyce Sims.

    (I suppose if the original release of “Stop” by Sam Brown counts here, that too)

    Very much less sappy than the high-charting ones… My, didn’t the quality of number ones drop off as the year went on though, after such a vaguely promising spring and winter.

    Worst top 40 single of the year? “Soldier of Love” by Donny Osmond, perhaps?

    And “Destroy The Heart” – a fantastic explosion. Best number 76 hit ever. Was quite fond of some of the HoL’s later stuff, too.

  8. 98
    Billy Smart on 7 Sep 2010 #

    NME Readers Poll – Best Single of 1988

    1. Destroy The Heart – The House of Love
    2. Sidewalking – The Jesus & Mary Chain
    3. Everyday Is Like Sunday – Morrissey
    4. Suedehead – Morrissey
    5. Crash – The Primitives
    6. The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    7. Desire – U2
    8. Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now? – The Wedding Present
    9. Christine – The House of Love
    10. Fine Time – New Order

  9. 99
    Billy Smart on 7 Sep 2010 #

    Melody Maker Readers Poll – Best Single of 1988

    1. Tower of Strength – The Mission
    2. Desire – U2
    3. Martha’s Harbour – All About Eve
    4. Christine – The House of Love
    5. Everyday Is Like Sunday – Morrissey
    6. Moonchild – Fields of the Nephilim
    7. The Mercy Seat – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
    8. Crash – The Primitives
    9. A Wish Away – The Wonderstuff
    10. You Made Me Realise – My Bloody Valentine
    =. Cathouse – Danielle Dax

  10. 100
    Billy Smart on 18 Oct 2010 #

    For Chelovek, here are the number 41s of 1988 – an evocative list!;

    Eurythmics – Shame
    Bryan Ferry – Kiss & Tell
    Maxi Priest & Beres Hammond – How Can We Ease The pain?
    Taylor Dayne – I’ll Always Love You
    The Style Council – How She Threw It All Away
    Jellybean – Coming Back For More
    Kiss – Turn On The Night
    Siouxsie & The Banshees – The Killing Jar
    Freddie Jackson – Crazy
    The Human League – Love Is All That Matters
    The Proclaimers – Sunshine On Leith
    Transvision Vamp – Sister Moon
    Mista E – Don’t Believe The Hype

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 103
    a tanned rested and unlogged lørd sükråt wötsît on 14 Dec 2010 #

    Tampopo is terrific.

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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).

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 112
    Auntie Beryl on 7 Mar 2019 #

    Funny that a lengthy discussion of 1988 in Popular terms should end up examining Spirit Of Eden and its absence from critic’s lists.

    Swanstep @106 asks if anyone within the music press was fighting its corner at the time – oddly enough, I took a chance on SOE unheard, after liking what I’d heard of The Colour Of Spring and reading about the new album in (of all places) Q.

    Paper round money well spent, I’d say.

    Talk Talk’s adventures in the music press are gathered in one handy place here: http://www.snowinberlin.com/

  23. 113
    Mark M on 7 Mar 2019 #

    Hang on, the Melody Maker was keen on Talk Talk. And so it follows that Spirit of Eden was number 14 in Melody Maker’s albums of the year 1988 – between Skinny Puppy and Megadeth. (And, uh, the reason it doesn’t appear in the lists earlier in the comments is because those are singles – or songs, in the case of Peel’s Festive Fifty).

  24. 114
    Ed on 8 Mar 2019 #

    That is a fun list of albums, although posterity raises an eyebrow at Megadeth scoring higher than Miss America, Daydream Nation and It Takes a Nation of Millions.

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