01 - Age of Communication - Dancing Madly Backwards 1983 (4:20)
02 - Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls - Book of Love 1988 (4:27)
03 - Drafted - The Nuclear Regulatory Commission 1980 (4:28)
04 - I Don't Know How to Love Him - Front Page 1981 (2:12)
05 - Kill Yourself - The Elements 1981 (4:23)
06 - Power Blackout - (e) 1981 (2:35)
07 - Humanesque - Major Thinkers 1983 (3:11)
08 - Remain Untouched - The Global Infantilists 1983 (3:41)
09 - Younger Now - Exotica Maximus 1983 (4:06)
10 - My Heart Beats Empty - The Popular Sex 1984 (3:32)
11 - Welcoming a New Ice Age - Gleaming Spires 1985 (4:21)
12 - Call It Music - Glass Torpedoes 1981 (3:22)
13 - I Let Go - Fictions 1980 (2:28)
14 - Modern Girl - Helicopter 1981 (4:30)
15 - Money - Ex Post Facto 1981 (3:00)
16 - It's Not the Time - Volcano 1983 (3:24)
17 - Pretty Plastic - The Elektriks 1981 (4:03)
18 - Join the Ranks - D-Day 1983 (4:09)
19 - Security Code - Twenty Twenty 1985 (2:12)
20 - City Business - The Staff 1982 (2:30)
21 - TV in My Eye - Los Microwaves 1982 (3:41)
22 - Television Satellite - Sophie and Peter Johnston 1987 (3:23)
Track 1 is a wonder. The chorus is the triumphant, self-recursive statement, "You can tell by the words that I'm sayin' ... that the Age of Communication has arrived." If you can hear her, then she has successfully communicated! And the second verse is fun, describing work-from-home via computer (in 1983). Then there's the insouciant bit, "They say that Big Brother will be watching in our bed. But when we learn to turn it on, we'll be watching him instead."
Take that, Surveillance State!
Track 2 is notable in that it was widely considered to be one of the first pop songs which referenced AIDS. The song's narrator is lonely, tempted by the attractive people all around, "but sex is dangerous."
Track 12's plaint against pop-music's processed blahness, "Call it music ... it's all the same," resonates with those of us who remember listening to the same ten songs playing and replaying on Top-Forty radio, in the 1960s-1970s.
Track 15 is one of those luxuries afforded to artists -- when they complain about the same system that they hope will make them rich. Money is so terrible, she sings. Honey, I have news for you: Money is just something created by people. It can be used to help, or it can alternately be used to wield power over another. "Money makes a whore" -- Unh-unh, baby: The buyer and the seller perform THAT transformation.
Track 22 is a golden lullaby to the wonders of video communication. Sophie Johnson's voice can lure me into the maw of the machine ANY TIME.
But for me, the treasure is Track 21, an ode to mass advertising and its influence. We both show up for work in the same outfit; we both know about the new TV season and the new family in it ... because I got a TV IN MY EYE!
When we listen to this track in the car, six-year-old Araya Sunshine and I smile and shout out the chorus together.
And we all know what to eat,
And we all know what to wear,
And we all know what to buy,
Got a TV in my eye!
For her, it's just a silly image -- somebody with a little TV in their eye. For me, it's both absurd and head-shakingly accurate. (Remind me some time to tell you about the Glass People I see every day.)
For me the problem comes not with the advertising, or the consumption, but the unexamined obeying of the ads' directives!
So now, I ORDER YOU TO ENJOY THIS MUSIC!
MA-103 - It Ejected from the 1980s
Please tell me you like these songs. That's the communication I WANT to hear.
See you next year!