If you're just tuning in, we're running through the tracks on my Penultimate 80's playlist on mog.com. Tracks 1-20 were covered in the previous post.
21. Going Down to Liverpool-- The Bangles. An all-female band from LA covering a song by an English dude with a girl's name who used to be in the Soft Boys. Weird, but it works. I really like the guitar solo.
22.Head Over Heels-- Go-Go's. Seriously. If you don't recognize the genius of the Go-Go's, somebody should punch you right in the junk. Preferably me.
23.Heartbreaker, Part I and II-- Zapp. The pride of Hamilton Ohio brings us more excellent Southwestern Ohio funk. I suppose one could argue that Roger's love of the vocoder brought us our current auto-tune hell, but I still love all things Roger and Zapp. I once painted "Heartbreaker" on the legs of Elizabeth Denton's jeans because she inexplicably wasn't smitten with a chubby, braces-clad, foul-mouthed, sour-dispositioned, bad-hair-having troll. Still a good tune, though.
24.Hero Takes a Fall--The Bangles. This one still stands up, in my opinion. Great melody, and great lyrics. I listen to this one a lot when I'm thinking about people I hate that everybody else likes.
25.Hungry Like the Wolf-- Duran Duran. Sure, their clothes were ridiculous. Sure, they owe their success to their videos. And yet, this is a completely kickass song about lust. And you can't really have too many of those.
26.I Can Make You Dance, Part 1-- Zapp. O, Roger, you did make us dance! You did! Even those of us who were too inhibited to do it well!
27.I Need Love--LL Cool J. In which LL vows to stop his heartbreakin' ways and find a nice girl and settle down. No idea how that worked out, but while we're on the LL subject, people have reviled all the baseball players who plumped up like Michelin men on steroids, but the rappers who did the same thing have escaped our opprobrium. Where's LL's congressional inquiry? Anyway, I like this song. LL knows that feigning vulnerability is a playa's top strategy. Dee Dee Ramone complained that this song showed how rap was getting soft. Which is why he made the immortal "Standing in the Spotlight" album.
28.If You Leave--Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark. Annoying, stupid band name, and the song is forever associated with an annoying, stupid movie. But I like it anyway.
29. In a Big Country--Big Country. They started an unfortunate pre-grunge flannel trend among me and my friends that lasted pretty much until grunge started, and then we had an excuse to continue. Still, I always had a soft spot for this band. They're known as a one-hit wonder but actually put out three very good records. And then a horrible one.
30.In My House--Mary Jane Girls. Rick James was ever the biter, as we said in the 80's, or the swag-jacker, as my kids might say. Prince had a girl group, so Rick had to have one too. And yet this, I think, is every bit as good as Vanity 6's "Nasty Girl," if not quite as good as Appolonia 6's "Sex Shooter." They used to show this video on WTBS's "Friday Night Videos" all the time. That was like MTV for those of us who could only afford basic cable. (True! Not only did MTV once play music, it was also once not a basic cable channel!). I feel like I saw this video every time I came home from a date in my senior year of high school.
31.Jailhouse Rap--The Fat Boys. I sold many records to used record stores in my day, and I never regretted any of the sales except this one. I had this on vinyl! Anyway, I love the Fat Boys, and this tale of how they ended up behind bars due to their pressing need for snacks is my favorite of their tracks.
32.Jessie's Girl--Rick Springfield. Now this one I know I have killed at karaoke. Perhaps in my high school years, I identified a bit closely with our hapless narrator, whose friend has a girl he wants to date and who can't understand why she's not interested. Sigh...
33.Johnny Come Home--Fine Young Cannibals. They would hit it big a few years later, but I always really liked this one, which seems especially deep for a pop song. "What is wrong in my life, that I must get drunk every night?"
34.Karma Chameleon--Culture Club. Fantastic bass line, fantastic melody, weird riverboat gambling video. I love it. Never get sick of it.
35.Let the Music Play--Shannon. A huge and awesome hit. I remember hearing it for the first time in Sarah Stoehr's car, and she was two years older than me and deigned to let me ride in her car, so, you know, it was awesome. (For more on Sarah and my crush thereon, check out my contribution to this fine anthology.)
We're halfway done! More soon!