Category Archives: music

You Belong on the Radio: 1988 Edition [1988 Week]

It works just as in the other theme weeks, I look at the most popular songs from 1988 and look at the ones that stand out for some reason. Here we go!

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Music Box: Gang of Four’s “Entertainment!”

After Marie Antoinette I couldn’t help but wonder, why I haven’t written anything about Gang of Four’s Entertainment! before. This is one of my most influential albums that is so bold in deconstructing our society and goes beyond the “everything sucks” ideology of many punk albums. This is post-punk, of course, and while there are other political albums in music’s history, at least for me nothing achieves what this album achieves. It’s angry without being loud, it’s intelligent and challenges the listener because it doesn’t provide easy answers. It’s simply brilliant, lyrically and musically. If I ever need inspiration for change, for doing something, I put this one on and get going.

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You Belong on the Radio – 2012 Edition [2012 Week]

Just like last theme week, I decided to look at the popular songs of this year to see what they’re telling us. I’m assuming the songs from two years ago don’t sound so different than the songs nowadays, but I’m still interested to see what we find in those songs. For this I’m using the lists of number one songs and top 10 songs from Germany, the US and UK, which again overlap a lot.

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You Belong on the Radio – German Music Charts (2)

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So, it’s time for the charts again and also time to look at Germany again, just like in the beginning. Which was over two months ago, but I still have to search for new songs now. But there are enough, so let’s get started!

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You Belong on the Radio – 1980 Edition

UnknownOf course I couldn’t do a year’s theme week without looking at this year’s songs. Because there is only one 1980 week, I decided to look at the top 10 of the top songs of the year from Germany, the UK and US simultaneously, since they also overlap pretty much. Is the music of 1980 as dark, detached and depressing as everything else this week? We’re about to find out!

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Music Box in 1980: Joy Division’s “Closer”

UnknownI almost couldn’t decide on an album to pick from 1980, not because there was no good music, but because there wasn’t much that spoke to me. There’s not a favorite album of mine from 1980 or something with a personal meaning. So I just picked an album I like and that I knew would offer me something to write about, Joy Division’s Closer, which was released two months after Ian Curtis had committed suicide. It is unsurprisingly dark and cold, yet undeniably powerful.

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You Belong on the Radio: Music Video Edition (1)

I know the last time on this series, I basically promised to try something else. My thought was to look at charts from different continents to get a more diverse view on what happens culturally outside of “Western civilization.” But the problem is that you either don’t get charts from specific countries or the lyrics aren’t in English or it’s just the same songs like everywhere else. Then I thought about going back in time, but I have something special planned for next week already. I almost thought of giving up and doing a straight charts analysis, when I remembered something I had wanted to do already: music videos! So, today, I look at the German Singles Charts again, but only at the videos of songs I haven’t discussed already. There’s nothing like good random parameters.

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Music Box: Pulp’s “This Is Hardcore”

Pulp’s This Is Hardcore, released in 1998, is a testament of anxiety in our culture, the diary of someone failing at life despite having success, a war report from the front of unsuccessfully battling to fill the void. Pulp, the Britpop band that had been releasing albums for over 10 years before suddenly having enormous success, published this album three years after Disco 2000 was an international hit and the fallout was wearing them down. Artistically I consider this album their masterpiece, despite its flaws. It’s a bit messy, untrimmed and unfocused at times, but when it hits its mark, it goes straight for the kill. It’s unflinching and bitter and cynical but always with a certain sense of humor and full of brutal honesty. And it’s brilliant. You might feel uneasy and slightly embarrassed while listening to it, but you might also get an idea of an artist struggling with life in this culture, but never stopping from telling us about it.

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