Saturday, 18 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 18

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "Closer" by Joy Division, an album I rate as one of my all time favourite albums.

I discovered Joy Division, via a local newspaper in Manchester, where I am from, they had an article about the lead singer of Manchester band Joy Division had taken his own life. I felt compelled to find out about their music and bought their debut album "Unknown Pleasures" without actually listening to any of their music!!

That was the start of my passion for Joy Division and of course New Order, as they subsequently became.

I bought the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart", which came out in June 1980, around that time I bumped into Anthony H Wilson (Factory Records) in Manchester, and got chatting to him about the new single and the band in general. the passion and belief he had in Joy Division was quite staggering and the chat we had, has stayed with me ever since. "Love Will Tear Us Apart" has become my favourite single of all time.

"Closer" was released in July 1980, 2 months after the death of Ian Curtis, the album cover was amazing, it was a picture of a family tomb, which I suspect had already been designed and signed off before Ian Curtis died, so it was quite fitting in the cicumstances, as for the music, well what can I say, it is an outsanding album, and when you listen to the lyrics, Curtis was definitely reaching out to people about his personal problems and trauma, yet nobody in the band realized this, until after his death and the release of the album.

No singles were released by the record company off the album and "Love Will Tear Us Apart" wasn't included either, but that doesn't mean the quality of the album was affected, by this time the band started using synthesizers and they were put to good use on tracks like "Isolation", "Decades" and "The Eternal"

The album reached number 6 in the UK album chart.

By the way if you haven't seen the film "Control", which is about the life of Ian Curtis is superb and highly recommended.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Isolation", "Heart And Soul" and "The Eternal" and "Decades". As you would expect there are no tracks I dislike. In a word a masterpiece.

Our overall rating for this album is 77/100

The album is available from Amazon here

Friday, 17 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 17

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "The Luxury Gap" by Heaven 17, a band I have admired for a long time, especially as a live outfit, they are a brilliant band live. Their output over the years has been disappointing, aside from their debut album "Penthouse & Pavement" and of course "The Luxury Gap" their albums have been very poor. Certainly "The Luxury Gap" is the essential Heaven 17 album. This was a superbly produced album with an orchestra, it cost a small fortune to make, so it was a good job it was a successful album!


The album was released in April 1983, some 5 months after the first single from the album "Let Me Go" was released, I bought it on 12 inch vinyl and still have it, that single, for me is their finest piece of work, that bassline......"The Luxury Gap" went on to sell 300,000 copies and made number 4 in the UK Album chart.

In all 5 singles were released from the album, including "We Live So Fast", which was released in the USA only, "Let Me Go", amazingly only made number 41 in the UK Singles chart, "Temptation" made number 2, "Come Live With Me" made number 5 and "Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry", made number 17.

"The Luxury Gap" is rightly regarded as a classic, it is a quality album and stood the test of time, and from interviews I have seen of Martyn & Glenn from the band they are a couple of warm hearted, friendly blokes.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Let Me Go", "Come Live With Me" and "Temptation". All the tracks scored a 2 or a 3 except "Crushed By The Wheels Of Industry", which I loathe, it grates me everytime I hear it, for me should have been a B side and not on the album.

I was lucky enough to find the 3 disc deluxe edition, about a year or so ago, at HMV for £9.99, a bargain, if you can find that box set, definitely go for it.

This is the album that is as good as The Human League's "Dare" album and not the debut "Penthouse & Pavement", in my book.

Our overall rating for this album is 70/100

The album is available from Amazon here

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 16

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "Rio" by Duran Duran. The album was released in 1982 and featured 4 singles.

A word of warning avoid the 2009 remaster as the sound is beyond terrible!!

I must admit I can take or leave Duran Duran, not my favourite band by a long way but they have released some fantastic tracks, i'm not sure they fully succeed when it comes to making a full album. I only like their first 3 albums, but credit where credit is due, "Rio" is a fantastic piece of work.
The album reached number 2 in the UK album chart in 1982, whilst the singles "My Own Way" reached number 14 in the UK singles chart, "Rio" made number 9, "Hungry Like The Wolf" made number 5 and "Save A Prayer" made Number 2.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Hold Back The Rain", "Save A Prayer" and "Hungry Like The Wolf". On this album there are no tracks I dislike with only the track "Last Chance On The Stairway" scoring 1 point.

Probably the essential New Romantic LP to have in your collection.

Our overall rating for this album is 70/100

The album is available from Amazon here

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 15

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating.

This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "Flaunt The Imperfection", by China Crisis. This was the bands 3rd album, and was released in 1985. It was produced by Walter Becker and marked a real change in the bands sound. China Crisis have always been underrated but when you look at their back catalogue they have released some stunning songs, such as, "Christian, "Wishful Thinking", "Black Man Ray", King In A Catholic Style (both of which appear on "Flaunt The Imperfection"), "Tragedy & Mystery", "Arizona Sky" and "Papua", just to name a few.

This was their most successful album, reaching number 9 in the UK Album chart and recently received the Deluxe Edition treatment along with their albums "Working With Fire & Steel" and "Difficult Shapes & Passive Rhythms", all of which are definitely worth getting.

I have always had a soft spot for China Crisis and it was pleasing to see the band release a critically acclaimed new album in 2015 called "Autumn In The Neighbourhood", another album worth investigating.

Back to "Flaunt The Imperfection", there were 4 singles released off this album "Black Man Ray", "King In A Catholic Style", "You Did Cut Me" and "The Highest High", the first two making the Top 20 in the UK Singles chart.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Black Man Ray", "King In A Catholic Stle", "Blue Sea" and "Bigger The Punch I'm Feeling". There is just one track I dislike on the album and that is the track "The World Spins And I'm Part Of It".

If you haven't come across this band before do check them out, you just might be surprised.

Our overall rating for this album is 66/100

The album is available from Amazon here

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 14

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "Hunting High And Low", the debut album by A-Ha, which was released in June 1985.

Without a doubt the video created for the single "Take On Me" is what made this album a success, if you haven't seen it, check it out on YouTube, it is fantastic. What is surprising is that it took until the 3rd re-release before it was a hit!

The reason I bought the album was because of the track "The Sun Always Shines On TV", a powerhouse synthpop/new wave track, to this day the track still has a certain something special, a superbly structured track. It is a wonderful album and the 4 disc deluxe edition released in 2015, is a must have, plenty of remixes, alternative versions, and demo's etc, one of the few box sets that really does deliver and provide value for money.

The album featured 5 singles "Take On Me", "The Sun Always Shines On TV", Train Of Thought" and the title track of the album "Hunting High And Low", all of which achieved chart success in the UK singles chart and charts around Europe."Love Is Reason" was also released as a single, but only in Norway.

What I like about this album is it is quite varied and certainly sees the band on fine form, their best album ever. as with quite a few albums I am reviewing and rating this has stood the test of time, 32 years old and still an essential listen.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Take On Me", "The Sun Always Shines On TV", "Hunting High And Low" and "Love Is Reason". There are no tracks I dislike and only one track (I Dream Myself Alive) earning a score of 1 point.

Our overall rating for this album is 70/100

The album is available for under £5 from Amazon here

Monday, 13 November 2017

Classic Albums Reviewed And Rated - Day 13

Throughout this month we are going to take a look at albums regarded as classics from the 80s and one or two from the late 70s and give you our comments, and our rating of each album.

Each day, during November, we will focus on one album.

To rate the albums we rate each track on the album as either 3 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 1 (ok) and 0 (Hate it). Those points are totalled up and then divided by the maximum points the album could get (EG 10 tracks would equal 30 points, 10 x 3). Then times the figure by 100 and that gives you your percentage rating. This is a very good indicator of how you rate an album.


Today's album under the microscope is "Wonderland", the debut album by Erasure. Now a lot of people think that "The Circus" was Erasure's first album, yes it was their breakthrough album on the back of the success of the single "Sometimes", but Before that we had this little gem, which was released in June 1986. It barely dented the UK album chart, reaching number 71, the album included 3 singles "Who Needs Love Like That", "Heavenly Action" and "Oh L'Amour", none of which troubled the UK singles chart.

I bought this album when it first came out, as I was a big fan of the work of Vince Clarke, and I still am. This album has some stunning tracks on it and certainly deserved better chart success and it is puzzling to me why it failed so badly. Personally I don't think the album "The Circus" is a patch on this album, I rarely play "The Circus", however, "Wonderland" gets played on a regular basis. I think the one problem with this album, is they chose the wrong tracks to be singles, with the exception of "Oh L'Amour".

If you like infectious Synthpop, like me, this album is essential to have in your collection and in my opinion, it certainly falls into the "Classic Albums" category.

Our track recommendations for this album are, "Reunion" (definitely should have been a single), "Cry So Easy" (another potential single)", "Oh L'Amour" and "My Heart ....So Blue".

There are no tracks I dislike as such, but the tracks "Push Me Shove Me", "Say What" and "Pistol" only scored 1 point each.

Our overall rating for this album is 69/100

The album is available as a 3 disc box set from Amazon here

Maximum 80s (Volume 54)

White Lion Radio have released Edition 54 of Maximum 80s.

This is a series of shows that feature nothing but the very best in 1980s 12 Inch Singles.

The biggest hits on the biggest format from a classic decade......the 1980s.


Listen On Mixcloud

Listen On Hearthis.at

Track List

Wham! - Everything She Wants (Remix)
Thompson Twins - The Gap (Club Remix Version)
Donna Summer - State Of Independence (New Bass Mix)
Kraftwerk - Computer Love (Original 12 Inch Version)
Malcolm McClaren - Double Dutch (New Dance Mix)
Nik Kershaw - Wouldn't It Be Good (Special Extended Mix)
The Associates - Club Country (12 Inch Mix)
Depeche Mode - Strangelove (Highjack Remix)
Echo & The Bunnymen - Lips Like Sugar (12 Inch Mix)
Holly Johnson - Americanos (P.W.L. Extended Version)