New Wave Revisited

the swing
INXS’s Fourth Album, 1984.

I have absolutely no idea why, but I’ve spent the last few weeks re-visiting music I’ve not listened to in decades.  Perhaps it’s because I turned 50 this year, and I’m trying to explore some of my past.  Recapture elements of my youth?  Play the historian?

I honestly have no idea why.  The past is my business, though.

Regardless, I’ve been drawn back to what was once called “New Wave.”  If you ask me to define “New Wave,” I couldn’t.  I remember from my junior high and high school years that it was that type of music that was not prog, not rock, not pop, and not punk, though it often had elements of each, usually mixed around driving beats, minimalist guitats, and wild keyboard flourishes.  Well, at least the kind of New Wave I’ve been listening to.

Let me offer a few thoughts and maybe even a few suggestions and warnings.  I picked up my old INXS albums.  KICK, to my mind, is way too overproduced and slick.  LISTEN LIKE THIEVES is too monotonous.  SHABOOH SHOOBAH has some glittering moments mixed with some mediocre ones.

But, THE SWING.  THE SWING.  THE SWING is a work of sheer genius.  The catchiness of the tunes, the variation from song to song, and the intriguing lyrical content all make this  an all too forgotten work of excellence.

I also re-listened to The Monks, BAD HABITS.  It is just weird.

I re-listened to B-Movie’s FOREVER RUNNING. It is just quirky and a little too poppy for my tastes.

But, then I go back to THE SWING.  I think I’ll stay there for a while.

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