2011/10/19

NC17 Top 100 Traxxx of 1980

1980: The Year of Radical Change
Part 1: The Influence of Both Reggae and Satan
Part 2: The Biggest Change in History
Part 3: Metalheads, Sissies, and Stoners Unite
Part 4: Factory Records, Ralph Records, and the Jennifer Triolo Disturbance
Part 5: Citation Needed
Part 6: A Brief Taste of the Future
Part 7: The Different Types of Douches
Part 8: The Standouts: As Selected by Harold the Alien

Part V: Citation Needed


Press play on the image below to hear this selection of songs in this exact order.



100. The Revillos
"Motorbike Beat"  2:29
Rev Up
Edinburgh, Scotland

The common misconception is that punk was a direct retaliation against disco. Although there may be some truths to that statement, for the most, it is an inaccurate assessment. Progressive rock was the primary target (even numerous punk bands incorporated prog elements in their experimental instrumentation, such as Television with Marquee Moon) and the chief component of prog-rock that was attacked was the lengthy noodling and excessive keyboards, mainly bands such as Camel, Nektar, and Clearlight. The ultimate goal was to re-claim "rock" and the attitude that accompanied it. Therefore, a primary influence was the sounds from the early 60's/late 50's such as surf-rock, garage rock, and any fast, riff-heavy, no frill rockers such as Duane Eddy, The Trashmen, and even the early Kinks. The Revillos, and mainly this song, Motorbike Beat, define what the ultimate goal initially entailed.

99. Pretenders
"Brass In Pocket"  3:06
Pretenders
London, England

This classic hit serves as the ultimate girlfriend test. Although this is a great song in numerous regards, but if your girlfriend claims this to be her all-time favorite, then you need to get rid of her. If that doesn't seem fathomable, then prepare yourself to eventually go broke and devote an excessive amount of your life to the girl who claims to be "special, so special." Personal time will gradually diminish and your life will become her life. Do not plan on picking out anything...ever. If you don't know this song, you're hopeless. Get a job. Take a bath. Subscribe to TV Guide.

98. The Undertones
"Tearproof"  2:20
Drama
Derry, Northern Ireland

Another holdover from "the punk era" that as of 1980 was just a couple years ago. As stated, 1980 was now "the post-punk era". Though lacking the experimentalism of post-punk and new-wave, Tearproof proves that the basic essentials of punk, particularly the guitar rhythm of this song, is deathless.

97. Elvis Costello
"High Fidelity"  2:29
Get Happy!!!
London, England

Another artist whose status with critics far exceeds that of common perception. Elvis Costello is far capable of writing a punchy concise song with a great hook that should satisfy a wide range of listeners. Good for Elvis. However, nobody mentions Bruce Thomas- the phenomenal bassist on this album. Get Happy!! makes a ton of best albums of the 80's lists.

96. Talking Heads
"Once in a Lifetime"  4:22
Remain in Light
New York, NY

Like The Cure, Talking Heads has increased in popularity outside the punk scene and can now be heard in stores, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and has been slightly overplayed in clubs and bars. Of all the bands that can be categorized as punk or whatever, Talking Heads is the band played most frequently in the presence of regular white folks. While many are overjoyed with this notion- at least some normal people like at least one decent band. However, it is recommended that those who love Talking Heads from hearing Burning Down the House played at the tavern, rather than listen to them alongside with Journey, they are intended to enjoyed along with other bands with more of their similarities.

95. Dexys Midnight Runners
"I Couldn't Help If I Tried"  4:14
Searching for the Young Soul Rebels
Birmingham, England

A large percentage of the aforementioned white folks refer to Dexys Midnight Runners as that one band who sang that one song. However, prior to Come On Eileen becoming one of the biggest hits of the entire decade (tragically defining the career) they were considered up-and-comers on the post-punk circuit and sounded like a blend of The Cure and Steely Dan. Based on the number of complaints affiliated with playing The Cure and Talking Heads alongside Journey, Katy Perry, and Come On Eileen, other great tracks from Dexys Midnight Runners might be the ideal place to start as two injustices could be resolved at once.

94. Dire Straits
"Les Boys"  4:06
Making Movies
Deptford, England

I'd like to take a moment now and address the Tea Party. Hello Tea Party! And welcome aboard. I have to ask, where were you during the Bush Adminstration? If you are in fact true to your beliefs, as you say, you would have had even more to complain about during Bush's tenure. Also, I've read your creed. It's great. Some of it is actually quite wonderful! And, I am so happy that you feel this way.

Correct, Tea Party, the government shouldn't always be meandering; and I'm glad you agree. So, does this now mean you no longer support government intervention in regards to gay marriage laws, abortion rights, and that marijuana should be legalized? No American government invervention in the foreign politics of other countries too? You don't support big government. Does this mean we can now, finally, disband the FCC, the DEA, and other rights-infringing, tax-payer wasting, opinionated branches of the government?

You say you support the way things we during The Revolutionary War and the Constitution...taxation without representation! Us too. Back in those days, the colonists did not wish to pay excessive taxes because they did not want the immense British military. I'm glad we are finally on the same side. For years, our side hasn't wanted to delegate a large portion of our working class paychecks to support a huge military either. We don't give a shit about powerful missiles and think it would be a good idea to end all wars right now and disband all military campaigns in foreign countries.

And I'll be happy to join your little charade. But you have to make some promises. Shall we relinquish control from the government (fine by me, don't like these bastards either) will you also attempt to seize control from corporations, banks, and the church? Furthermore, will you, this time, hold the same standards to a Republican? Lastly, no more racist remarks- period! And stop referring to anybody, any person whatsoever, as an illegal immigrant-especially if you are going to be referring to yourself as a born-again Christian. Think about how your family got here- look at the German and Italian influence on Native American territory and fill me in on what it is, exactly, you are complaining about- especially if you live in Arizona.

For the most part, we like to allow people to be whoever they are (that is, of course, unless they are habitual coleslaw eaters- we just don't like those people)...even, if it means, they are, oh my God, (looking around, whispering) a homosexual. Dire Straits summed up nicely what some people never understood, "Les Boys are glad to be gay."

93. Paul Simon
"Long, Long Day"  3:57
One-Trick Pony
Newark, NJ

Prior to his career as a solo artist, Paul Simon played for an outfit called Simon and Garfunkel [citation needed]. It's amazing just how well-respected Paul Simon is in the punk/indie community. Perhaps it's because he's played in Woody Allen movies or maybe because he gave us all hope on simple easy ways to end a relationship. Could just be that he simply writes great songs. The hit off this album is Late in the Evening, but this track is the best, featuring a nice arrangement of male-female vocal interplay. That's been the general consensus anyhow: 83% responded by simply stating "NICE!!!"upon hearing it. Paul Simon nor blogspot condone the act of right clicking "view source" on Wiikipedia and stealing the citation needed code.

92. John Lennon
"Watching the Wheels"  3:34
Double Fantasy
Liverpool, England (1940)-New York, NY (1980)

Prior to becoming a solo artist, John Lennon played for this one band called The Beatles. [citation needed] This song, unfortunately, is probably the only thing most know about the relatively unknown John Lennon, and he has since squandered to the list of one-hit wonders. What people don't know is that before this song, he had put out a couple other albums and one of them was called Imagine. This woman he is kissing is some left-wing civil rights artist who did some, like work or something, with some dude named Andy Warhol. Surprisingly, there is a statue of John Lennon in downtown Havana because, apparently, he is considered, like, a revolutionary--solely because of this song. Sadly, in 1980- this exact year we are reading about, for no reason in particular, somebody shot this nice young man. Note: John Lennon nor Yoko Ono condone the act of using the same joke twice in a row.

91. Bobb Trimble
"One Mile From Heaven (Long Version)"  5:49
Iron Curtain Innocence
Northborough, MA

Presenting, your new Elliott Smith... just been around significantly longer, from 1980 that is. If this album were released today, it would be significantly more popular now than it was back then.

90. The Damned
"13th Floor Vendetta"  5:05
The Black Album
London, England

Whereas The Damned's stellar 1977 album Damned Damned Damned ranked in the best punk albums of that era with its raging onslaught of guitars, i.e. Born to Kill and New Rose, 13th Floor Vendetta gets high ranks because of its beautiful piano and acoustic guitar during the final minute and a half. This was yet another example of how certain bands were expanding their horizons in the dawning of a new era.

89. Gang of Four
"Outside the Trains Don't Run on Time"  3:16
Yellow EP
Leeds, England

This is another example of the change that occurred in the year 1980. Gang of Four, themselves, did not change that incredibly radically. However, last year, Gang of Four had a top 5 album for the year with Entertainment. For that matter, The B-52's were ranked higher last year, ditto for Gary Numan. The music on this EP is still great, but in a span of a mere one year, there is a significant drop in rank. What makes this even more of a paradox is that 1979 was a better year musically than 1980.

88. Yello
"Night Flanger"  4:54
Solid Pleasure
Z├╝rich, Switzerland

Some songs can only be described as having a cool aura. This is one of those songs. Yea, that simple. It's cool.

87. The Jam
"Set the House Ablaze"  5:02
Sound Affects
Woking, England

According to some sources, The Jam was the greatest punk band of this era. There are a few others who probably disagree, and there were still some lingering assholes insisting The Village People and The Bay City Rollers were the only things that mattered. The Jam were, however, a very good band, and Paul Weller later proved both as a solo artist and with The Style Council that he was capable of accomplishing a wide variety of things.

86. Peter Gabriel
"Intruder"  4:53
Peter Gabriel 3: Melt
Woking, England

Though not nearly the hit as his former bandmates scored with Misunderstanding, this album generally recieves significantly better reviews than anything Genesis put out without him. While Genesis went on to be soft rock staples, Peter Gabriel clearly enshrined himself in the punk/new-wave crowd. All due respect to Andrew Bird and Goldfrapp, the whistling at the end of this song is the best whistle "riff" in history. Then, when followed with "I am the intruder"-that's the reason the word "rad" was invented around this time period.

85. The Residents
"Loss of Innocence"  1:00
The Commercial Album
Shreveport, LA

#85 features the shortest song on the countdown. The Commercial Album ranks way higher for the year's best albums. However, there are 40 songs on this album, and each of them are exactly one minute long. That alone is a triumph- considering when deciding which selection to choose, 16 received consideration. Furthermore, most of these 40 one-minute songs have significant changes within their allotted minute- another triumph considering many bands fail to provide significant surprises in a span of the entire careers. Yet another excellent effort from the eyeballed wonders who influenced numerous bands of this era (see Family Fodder) and founded their own recording label. This is the band that can lay to rest any notion that Lady Gaga is either weird or artistic. Like Pretenders, The Residents also serves as an ideal girlfriend test; I wish to meet a woman who at least tolerates The Residents- not one who threatens to kill me just for playing them while she is home...I am attracted to abusive women who threaten to kill me- but for other reasons, Paradox #4,268.

84. The Pop Group
"Blind Faith"  4:04
For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder
Bristol, England

Have to give you advance warning again, there are actually people out there who will not like this, and even openly complain and take personal shots at you just for listening to it (sort of like what I'm going through right this very instant). Fuck these people, exposure to Journey is worse than asbestos. Because of sissies pretending they can rock, that is the primary reason why this music exists. Furthermore, listening to music likes this makes you tough enough to endure any sort of physical abuse a neurotic girlfriend may instill upon you for listening to it in her presence.

83. Circle Jerks
"Paid Vacation"  1:29
Group Sex
Hermosa Beach, CA

Like The Residents beforehand, Circle Jerks drops in the song ranking list due to shortness of the track. If this were an album list, Group Sex would rank higher than 83. However, being as this is one of the longest songs on the album, its difficult to place songs barely over a minute long in comparison to songs that provide more substance. However, this short aggressive anti-government political piece of hardcore ranting about another oil company scam proves prophetic considering this nation's recent history.

82. Squeeze
"Another Nail in My Heart"  2:57
Argybargy
London, England

We would now like to welcome back relatively normal people. According to statistics provided by the National Psychological Society, no-wave, hardcore, experimental noise, and The Residents are not for everybody. Squeeze, however, is. This is the one band that every person thinks every single person should like. They have enough edge to appeal to punks, and enough pop sensibilities to appeal to everyone else. Scott Funderson, a member of the National Psychological Society, however, claimed to not like this song; he was given a lobotomy.

81. John Martyn
"Sweet Little Mystery"  5:28
Grace and Danger
New Malden, England (1948)-Kilkenny, Ireland (2009)

Not a hit, but absolutely should have been, and still should be/could be. This lush ballad has both the beauty to appeal to those who were supercharged that Ambrosia made this list, and the sophisticated bitterness to appeal to those who cringed when they saw Ambrosia. Prior to 1980, John Martyn had recorded several albums, featuring not only other great musicians, but also his wife. Throughout Grace and Danger, Martyn was going through a nasty divorce- thus providing a dark undertone. Read more, although this may be a crock of bullshit considering the source.

80. Emmylou Harris
"Miss the Mississippi and You"  3:48
Roses in the Snow
Birmingham, AL/Nashville, TN

The goal is to provide something for everybody. Emmylou Harris provides bluegrass representation, and at #80, the genre is represented brilliantly. Miss the Mississippi and You is, simply, a gorgeous track, sung brilliantly, and accompanied with the most talented musicians of this genre. Country music was on the verge of death in 1980, and many wish it would have. This song is where more of today's mainstream country artists need to draw influence from. How much do you hate Shania Twain? There's artists making music now even worse than her.

79. Glenn Branca
"Lesson No. 1 for Electric Guitar"  8:14
Lesson No. 1
Harrisburg, PA/New York, NY

Technically, lesson #1 usually consists of Smoke on the Water or Iron Man. This falls under the category of avant-garde/experimental. This 8+ minute excursion is another pioneer of techniques that would later influence the likes of Sonic Youth and other experimental guitarists. Those hoping for something like Joe Satriani or Van Halen might be disappointed, but at least Ambrosia and Dan Fogelberg made the list. Although it claims "lesson No. 1", it isn't suitable listening for beginners and requires repeated listens to fully appreciate.

78. Rush
"Jacob's Ladder"  7:31
Permanent Waves
Willowdale, ON, Canada

Sadly, one of the best "rock" (def.: a form of music that is played on radio stations alongside Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and zillions of band that all sound exactly like Nickel Back) "hits" (def.: a song that is now a household staple) of 1980 is not going to make the list. That song is Spirit of Radio and it is one of the finest tracks regularly played on classic rock stations. The reason it doesn't make the list is because Jacob's Ladder is not only the best song off the album, but the best song Rush ever recorded.

77. Throbbing Gristle
"Dream Machine"  7:45
Heathen Earth
London, England

Throbbing Gristle are often hailed as the originators of industrial. While the band and this genre would be known for blending thrashing guitars, electro-dance beats, and dark violent lyrics, this live-in-the-studio track is instrumental and does not display the thrashing elements of industrial. However, do not think that means soothing: the electro back-beat may be slightly trance-inducing, but the noise bursts are loud and unsettling-just the way its supposed to be. Also, this was originally untitled and is a section of the 20+ minute track that is the full side 2 of the album.

76. Alan Vega
"Bye Bye Bayou"  8:41
Alan Vega
New York, NY

Current vocalist for Suicide. This song is not in the appropriate place that is should be in order to avoid two tracks by the same performer as Suicide also put out an album in 1980. Bye Bye Bayou features the stellar Alan Vega screams that has made him famous. The final girlfriend test consists of Suicide and Alan Vega. Play this song, (or if you are brave enough, try out Frankie Teardrop) around a potential/current girlfriend. If she likes it, you have a keeper. However, this test may result in her leaving you permanently, or even worse, killing you. If she threatens to kill you, then get rid of her- that's a sign even worse than citing Brass in Pocket as her favorite song.


NC-17 SXXX SONGS OF 1980: 200-176  175-151  150-126  125-101  100-76  75-51  50-26  25-#1




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