The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Postcards of Eras Gone By

{a tribute to the usually underrated Alternative Rock / New Wave music}

Featured bands:

A Flock of Seagulls
The Alarm
The B-52's

The Beautiful South
Billy Idol
The Blue Nile
Bob Mould (of Hüsker Dü and Sugar)
The Church
The Cure
Depeche Mode
Duran Duran
Echo & the Bunnymen
Gene Loves Jezebel
Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket)

The Go-Betweens
The Go-Go's
Ian Broudie (of Care and The Lightning Seeds)
Ian McNabb (of The Icicle Works)

The Mission U.K.
Morrissey (of The Smiths)
New Order

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
Paul Simpson as Skyray (of Care and The Wild Swans)
Peter Coyle (of The Lotus Eaters)
Pet Shop Boys

The Psychedelic Furs
Roddy frame (of Aztec Camera)
Simple Minds

The Sisters of Mercy
Tears for Fears
The Waterboys

"Got a postcard from paradise
Delivered by mortal hands
X marked the spot where you laid
And the sun burned down on the sand

I sat and watched you sleeping
I could feel you breathing
I wondered if you were dreaming
If you were, what were you dreaming of

And I fell under your spell
And I laid where I fell..."
—Flesh for Lulu, "Postcards from Paradise"
(1987, Long Live the New Flesh)

I was looking for a music video of A Flock of Seagulls song to replace the current soundtrack of my blog site, expecting such classics as "The More You Live, The More You Love," "Telecommunication," and "Transfer Affection"; instead, I was surprised to find a song called "Rainfall," something I haven't heard of before. Shame on me!

I surmised it came from an early album, but seeing the new look of the vocalist and bandleader, Mike Score, on the music video confirmed my second guess—that "Rainfall" is a relatively new AFOS song, a post-'80s release. I did a research, and correct was I.

Original member Mike Score revived A Flock of Seagulls in the '90s; and although the band was unable to regain its past glory, Mike Score and his new bandmates were able to release in 1995 an album entitled The Light at the End of the World, where "Rainfall" can be found. I'm glad that the sound for which I loved A Flock of Seagulls still resonates on "Rainfall"; you will feel it, especially if you're really a fan of the Alternative / New Wave genre.

Which leads me to thinking...

How does one know
if she is truly a fan of New Wave or of a particular genre of music for that matter?

I think, you are a true fan of New Wave music only if you know that a lot of such bands whose music you fell in love with in the '80s still exist to this day, making new songs and releasing new albums. Simply put, you keep track of these pioneers, aside from keeping track of relatively new bands which carry a similar sound.

Following the Tracks of a Train
Here are some of such bands that were popular in the Eighties and are still making music to this day. As a fan, I don't wait for such songs to be played on the radio before I appreciate them. As much as possible I don't let them find me clueless, I look for them like someone searching for a long lost friend. With the Internet, almost any piece of essential information or music becomes a click away.

Although they are no longer as massive and as popular as they used to be in the early days of their respective careers, the following bands are highly respected and appreciated not only by fans like me but also by the newer generations of bands which readily cite them as influences. For instance, Coldplay cites a-ha as one of their major influences; The Killers include Duran Duran on their list of favorite bands; Billy Joe Armstrong of Green Day contributed guitar tracks and backing vocals on The Go-Go's latest album.

(Note: I listed only the last studio album/s of each band; for complete discographies, just click on the bands' names. I intentionally opted to post recent pictures, so as not to cage the bands' image in their past glories; and also to show how much the band members have changed [or haven't changed, like in the case of Robert Smith of The Cure].)

A Flock of Seagulls - The Light at the End of the World (1995); a new album forthcoming next year
Popular songs: "The More You Live, The More You Love," "Transfer Affection

Recommended new song: "Rainfall"

a-ha - Minor Earth, Major Sky (2000); a new album forthcoming late this year
Popular songs: "Take on Me," "Sun Always Shines on TV"

Recommended new song: "The Sun Never Shone That Day"

The Alarm - In the Poppy Fields (2004)

Popular songs: "Absolute Reality," "Walk Forever by My Side" [the primary song to be played on my wedding day]

Bananarama - new single "Move in My Direction" (2005) [new album in the making]

Popular songs: "Robert de Niro's Waiting," "Cruel Summer"

The Beautiful South - Golddiggas, Headnodders and Pholk Songs (2004)

Popular songs: "Song for Whoever," "A Little Time," "Old Red Eyes Is Back"

Recommended new song: "Don't Fear the Reaper" [original by Blue Öyster Cult]

Billy Idol - Devil's Playground (2005)

Popular songs: "Dancing with Myself," "Eyes Without a Face"

Recommended new song: "Scream"

The Blue Nile - High (2004)

Popular song: "Stay"

Recommended new song: "Broken Loves," "She Saw the World"

Bob Mould (of Hüsker Dü and Sugar) - Body of Song (2005)

Popular songs: Hüsker Dü - "Could You Be The One?," "Green Eyes"; Sugar - "If I Could Change Your Mind," "Your Favorite Thing"

Recommended new song: "I Am Vision, I Am Sound"

The Church - El Momento Descuidado ['The Careless Moment'] (2005)

Popular songs: "The Unguarded Moment," "Under the Milky Way"

Recommended new song: "0408"

The Cure - The Cure (2004); according to references, Robert Smith was planning to start recording the band's thirteenth studio album, to be released in 2006.

Popular songs: "Boys Don't Cry," "Friday, I'm in Love"

Recommended new song: "Taking Off"

Depeche Mode - Exciter (2001); Playing the Angel (October 2005)

Popular songs: "Somebody," "Master and Servant"

Recommended new song: "Precious," "Damaged People"

Duran Duran - Pop Thrash (2000); Astronaut (2004)

Popular songs: "Save a Prayer," "Ordinary World"

Recommended new song: "Reach Up for the (Sunrise)"

Echo & the Bunnymen - Flowers (2001); forthcoming, Siberia (2005)

Popular songs: "The Killing Moon," "Lips like Sugar"

Recommended new song: "Stormy Weather"

Erasure - Nightbird (2005)

Popular songs: "A Little Respect," "Always"

Recommended new song: "I'll Be There"

Gene Loves Jezebel - Exploding Girls (2005)

Popular songs: "Desire," Motion of Love"

Recommended new song: "Exploding Girl"

Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket) - Winter Pays for Summer (2005)

Popular songs: "All I Want," "Fall Down," "Till I Hear It from You"

Recommended new song: "Cleareyed," "Falling," "Duck and Cover," "Thankful"

The Go-Betweens - Oceans Apart (2005)

Popular songs: "Right Here," "Love Goes On"

Recommended new song: "Here Comes a City"

The Go-Go's - God Bless The Go-Go's (2001)

Popular songs: "Head over Heels," "We Got the Beat"

Recommended new song: "Unforgiven" (co-written by Green Day's Billy Joe Armstrong)

Ian Broudie (of Care and The Lightning Seeds) - Tales Told (2004)

Popular songs (Care): "Whatever Possessed You," "Flaming Sword," "Boyish Days"

Popular songs (The Lightning Seeds): "Pure," "Three Lions

Recommended new song: "Song for No One," "Smoke Rings"

Ian McNabb (of The Icicle Works) - Before All of This (2005)

Popular songs (The Icicle Works): "Birds Fly (Whisper to a Scream)", "Hollow Horse"

Recommended new song: "Let the Young Girl Do What She Wants"

INXS - [Need I say more? Obviously a new album will be in the making as soon as the currently showing reality series Rock Star: INXS ends.] Popular songs: "Original Sin," "New Sensation" [Below is the current INXS with ex-Jane's Addiction and -RHCP guitarist Dave Navarro on the leftmost.]

The Mission U.K. - new single "Breathe Me In" (2005) [new album in the making]

Popular songs: "Severina," "Wasteland"

Morrissey (of The Smiths) - You Are the Quarry (2004)

Popular songs: (The Smiths): "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," "This Charming Man"; solo: "Every Day Is like Sunday"

Recommended new song: "First of the Gang to Die"

New Order - Get Ready (2001); Waiting for the Sirens' Call (2005)

Popular songs: "Bizarre Love Triangle," "Regret"

Recommended new song: "Krafty"

Paul Simpson as Skyray (of Care and The Wild Swans) - Liquid Crystal Display (2005)

Popular songs: Care, "Whatever Possessed You"; The Wild Swans, "Bringing Home the Ashes"

Peter Coyle (of The Lotus Eaters) - Reach for the Sun (2003)

Popular songs: (The Lotus Eaters): "German Girl," "The First Picture of You"

Recommended new song: "Reach for the Sun"

Pet Shop Boys - Release (2002)

Popular songs: "Suburbia," "What have I done to deserve this?"

Recommended new song: "Home and dry"

R.E.M. - Around the Sun (2004); a new album forthcoming next year, 2006

Popular songs: "The One I Love," "Losing My Religion"

Recommended new song: "Leaving New York"

Roddy Frame (of Aztec Camera) - Surf (2002)

Popular songs: "Walk Out to Winter," "Somewhere in My Heart"

Simple Minds - Cry (2002); forthcoming, Black and White (September 2005)

Popular songs: "Don't You (Forget about Me)," "Alive and Kicking"

Recommended new song: "Cry"

Tears for Fears - Everybody Loves a Happy Ending (2004)

Popular songs: "Shout," "Mad World"

Recommended new song: "Closest Thing to Heaven"

U2 - How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)

Popular songs: "New Year's Day," "With or Without You"

Recommended new song: "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own"

The Waterboys - Universal Hall (2003)

Popular songs: "The Pan Within," "The Whole of the Moon," "Medicine Bow"

Recommended new songs: "The Christ in You," "Ain't No Words for the Things I'm Feeling"

Some more currently active classic "'80s" Alternative / New Wave bands each of which has recently expressed its intention to release a new album next year:

Alphaville ("Forever Young," "Big in Japan")

The B-52's ("Rock Lobster," "Love Shack")

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark ("Secret," "If You Leave")

The Psychedelic Furs ("Pretty in Pink," "The Ghost in You")

The Sisters of Mercy ("Walk Away," "This Corrosion")

XTC ("Dear God," "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead")

Precious Postcards of Eras Gone By
Over the years, I've been hearing and reading lots of derogatory remarks on the flamboyant fashion and music of many '80s Alternative / New Wave bands, branding them as funny, pretentious, silly, or even nightmarish. Such preposterousness! Whatever these critics might have to say, they can never disregard and underestimate the influence such artists had effected on the subsequent music scenes.

I am not among such people who look at the past with disrespect and without retrospect. For instance, Mike Score's famous "waterfall" hairstyle as well as Robert Smith's trademark hairdo, to me, look as cool as ever.

Above: A Flock of Seagulls, in its '80s heydays: Ali Score, Mike Score, Frank Maudsley, and Paul Reynolds

Below: The Cure's Robert Smith, in the '80s and today

I am a kind of person who can look at my old pictures without a cringe of embarrassment with what I was wearing or how I looked in there. I never fail to appreciate their historical value. In fact, I view them with pride and affection.

A particular fashion being no longer trendy in the present does not negate its legitimacy and coolness in the era it became popular. If you think otherwise then everything in the present would become laughable in the future, wouldn't it? And this attitude mocks and negates the very essence of whatever style you are assuming right now. What's the point, then, of your following (or not following) a current fashion or trend when you will view it in shame, anyway, after a decade or so?

As far as I'm concerned, I always appreciate things in their proper time context. I've never been ashamed of whatever image or style I might have adopted at various stages in my life. I regard the fashion of yesteryears as precious postcards of eras gone by.


Fvck! I just learned from A Flock of Seagulls' official Web site that the band was in Manitoba (where I am) last July 8, 2005, for a gig at a club on Osborne St., Winnipeg. The venue is only fifteen minutes away from where I stay, and I was three weeks late! How regretful.


  • At Wednesday, July 27, 2005 1:26:00 AM, Blogger Jennie said…

    Robert Smith is hot!

    I have the Tears for Fears' album "Everybody Loves a Happy Ending." Their song "Closest Thing to Heaven" is fantastic!

  • At Wednesday, July 27, 2005 6:25:00 AM, Anonymous Therese said…

    Alfie thanks for the info. Tyaga mo magsulat at mag-post ng pics. I like the flock of seagulls background song. I also like roddy frame's picture. ang cute cute niya :) po-post ko to sa newwave friendster ha. Ako rin gusto ko yung but not tonight. Actually earlier post mo yun hehe

  • At Wednesday, July 27, 2005 6:14:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Of course, Robert Smith forever. Hahaha! I like that TFF song, too. How regretful their comeback was not as blastful as Duran Duran's. Regardless, better than they didn't release a new album after all.

  • At Wednesday, July 27, 2005 6:16:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Dear Therese,
    As I always say, writing is my passion. Besides, music is another...especially New Wave music.

    Sure, you may post it on Friendster. In fact, I already saw it on the bulletin board. Thanks for sharing my work to your own list.

  • At Thursday, July 28, 2005 4:18:00 PM, Blogger Fetal Pig said…

    Hey, I ran into the link to your blog in the comments section on another site. First off, great blog, good music. Second, I too have been curious on how to post MP3's on a blog? Have you received a how to yet? If you have could you send me the info? I would very much appreciate it!

  • At Friday, July 29, 2005 5:38:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Fetal Pig,
    Thanks for fluttering by...I mean, grazing by. hehehe. Nope, haven't got a reply yet regarding the MP3 uploading; but as soon as I get it, I'll e-mail you.

  • At Sunday, July 31, 2005 5:19:00 PM, Blogger vayie said…

    The guy who certainly knows his NEW WAVE!

  • At Wednesday, August 10, 2005 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Charmie said…

    I would have loved to see Tears for Fears, even if they don't have a new album! Missed the opportunity when they had their concert at the Hard Rock in Vegas...

    Duran Duran was a blast from the past! They still sound and look good --- and the show was just awesome! Love most of their songs but "Save A Prayer" is still my all-time favorite.

  • At Friday, August 12, 2005 11:41:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Hey, Tears for Fears released a new album last year, 'Everybody Loves a Happy Ending.' Check it out; you'll surely love the songs, especially that you also love acoustic-based music.

    Yep, Duran Duran has always been the glitter and glamor of Alternative Rock / New Wave music. Wow, we share the same favorite. I, too, regard "Save a Prayer" as my all-time DD fave, with "Ordinary World" and "Someone Else Not Me" as the second and the third.

  • At Tuesday, November 22, 2005 12:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Alfie!! trip lang sa next post mo!! pwedeng gawa ka ng rant about your crowning glory!! hahaha POST MO YUNG pic ni Robert Smith, Jim Reid ng Jesus and Mary Chain, Ian McCulloch, etc... and your picture of course, HLHD era!

    Anything goes!


  • At Tuesday, November 22, 2005 7:47:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    That's a great suggestion. I'll bake something along the line.

    I'll post pictures of my music icons, whose hairstyles, sense of fashion, and even wit have helped shape my own.

    I guess, it's time to rummage again through all my old pictures.

    Thanks for the suggestion, and for taking the time to backtrack my blog articles.


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