Tuesday, October 11, 2016

80s New Wave random: "Words" v. "No More Words"

I'm planning and co-DJing an 80s themed dance in a few weeks, and because of that, I've been reviewing a bunch of 80s music in my collection—some of which has languished on forgotten CDs for years without being listened to.  This is a shame, because a lot of this is good stuff that I should have loaded onto my big 32 Gb micro-SD card on my Android and had in regular rotation, but it slipped through the cracks and wasn't there until now.  What can you do?  And with almost 3,000 songs in regular rotation on my shuffled playlist (it will be up to 3,000 once I finish putting all of this stuff on) stuff won't come up frequently anyway, unless I go out of my way to pull it out of order.  Which I often do when I think of a song.

Some of this stuff is Tier 2 or lower "minor hits"—for a 3-4 hour (or so) dance, I probably wouldn't play it, because I'd rather focus on bigger hits that everyone remembers.  But that doesn't mean that I am unhappy to have kind of "rediscovered" it.

With that, here's a battle of the junior tier 80s songs: "Words" vs. "No More Words" by Missing Persons and Berlin respectively, both LA based pop-New Wave songs that were from (and especially popular) southern California, but which were big enough to have had radio play across the country.  Both had a similar New Wave sound, but not too New Wave; they certainly had real drums, guitar and bass guitar, etc., so although synthesizers were prominently featured, they didn't take over in the way groups like Soft Cell or Depeche Mode did.  Both also feature cute, blonde vocalists, which was maybe a bit unusual, who were both seen as sex symbols of a sort (Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons because of the way she dressed; check out her Lady Gaga-esque outfit in the video below). Terri Nunn of Berlin actually auditioned for the part of Princess Leia when she was only 15, as an interesting aside and may have posed for Penthouse when she was only 16; although that's unclear, she's both confirmed it and denied it in separate interviews; although that as a few years before recording this song.

I'm not 100% sure that the comparison is fair; I think this is one of Berlin's best songs, whereas for Missing Persons, I'd have to pick "Destination Unknown" for that.  But because both have similar titles, this is the match-up.

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