Tag Archives: 80s

OMG, OMD is back with ‘If you want it’ FTW!

Tiffany,

It was great meeting your sister yesterday. And, what a fabulous lunch we had at The Swiss in Tacoma. I hope the two of you didn’t mind my hacking – don’t worry, I am pretty sure I am no longer contagious. I guess we’ll know if you get sick in a couple of days, won’t we?

In the meantime, I’ve decided to write a short post today about music. Tiffany, one of my favorite bands of all-time is the British band Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, or OMD for short. I was drawn to OMD back in the ’80s because when other bands were singing about love, sex and girls (eeww!), OMD were writing songs about Nikola Tesla, Genetic Engineering, Louise Brooks, battleships, and Apollo space missions. What’s a sexually confused kid not to love about that?

I fell out of touch with OMD in the early 90s, as most people had. But, things changed in ’93 when I was in Chico, California visiting family. I remember insisting that we visit the local Tower Records store. While flipping through the CD singles, I came across what I thought was one of the most stunning CD single covers. The single was for a song by OMD called ‘Stand Above Me‘.

I eagerly purchased it and couldn’t wait to hear the song. Sadly, I wasn’t that impressed with it, but the b-side track called ‘Can I believe you‘ was fabulous. Ever since that day, my love-affair with OMD was re-born and I’ve never looked back.

OMD are one of a number of bands that inspired me to teach myself how to write my own electronic music. It is always my goal to write songs that sound like OMD. Of course, I fail, but I never stop trying. OMD inspire me so much because out of almost all of the music I listen to, I find OMD’s style the most unique, literate, and refined – especially their early material from the ’80s. OMD elevate pop music to a level of sophistication that would even make Beethoven take notice.  Besides, what did Beethoven ever do that was so great? Did Beethoven ever get his picture on a bubble-gum card? How can you say someone is great who hasn’t gotten their picture on a bubble-gum card?

Today, OMD are poised to release their first new album in 14 years. Their first single from the album, ‘If you want it’,  is out now. The record will be called ‘History of Modern’ and is slated for release here in America on 28 September. The material from the record I have heard so far doesn’t disappoint, either. ‘If you want it’ is classic OMD with a modern twist and super hot video. In fact, in the interest of…uuuhhh…’choreographical research’, I spent a few hours dissecting the video. Here are a couple video stills for your viewing pleasure that I captured during my research.



Also for your viewing pleasure, here is the video for ‘If you want it’; I’ve also linked another new track called ‘History of Modern Part 1’. Welcome back OMD, I have missed you!

Let us know what you think of the new OMD material.

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Bea Arthur, Shoulder Pads and Duran Duran

Tiffany,

I’ve been thinking a lot about our recent conversation regarding identity and want to share another trip down memory lane with you. When I was a child, I fell in love with the music of Duran Duran. They have been part of my life for a number of years and at many points along my journey I have found comfort and solace in their music. True, I have no idea what the hell ‘The Reflex’ is about, but it makes me feel good so I don’t really care. All I know is that the Duran Duran mullet defined an era and Nick Rhodes proved that Bea Arthur wasn’t the only one who could rock the shoulder pad.

Tiffany, do you remember those buy 12 records for a penny offers that Columbia House used to have back in the ’80s? I remember my sister and I used to sign up for those offers all the time. True, we would often get in trouble by our parents for doing such things, but that didn’t stop us. Besides, all my dad ever listened to was the Beach Boys, so my sister and I were forced to take drastic measures into our own hands (Pet Sounds really isn’t all that amazing after hearing it 500 times).

Anyway, I remember one time my sister and I sat poised at our dining room table pondering our 12 choices and trying to be very diplomatic in our process. My sister, with pen in hand, would fill in the album code on the Columbia House form while we both scanned our choices, rating each record based on how much we wanted it. This must have been circa 1986 because Duran Duran’s Notorious album had just come out. I wanted it. Badly. I remember pleading with my sister to let me have it. I even let her pick more albums than me in order to get my hands on it.

In the end, my sister conceded defeat and filled in the album code for Notorious on the order form. Let’s just say I’ve never been the same person for it. Although my love affair with Duran Duran had started before Notorious, there was something about that particular album that spoke to me. Songs like American Science and Matter of Feeling touched me quite deeply. I remember listening to them in the dark in my bedroom over and over again, completely enthralled with their beauty.

Then, there were the Duran boys themselves. Now, shockingly, despite how attractive they are, I never had a ‘thing’ for any of them. However, I was always oddly attracted to Nick Rhodes’ gender-bending style. He looked fabulous in pink lip-gloss and black eyeliner. I even seem to remember him rocking tri-colored hair once (black, white and red) and being totally amazed by it. Gender-bending was a big part of the New Romantic movement in which Duran Duran pioneered. I loved many of the New Romantics because of their stunning combination of glamorous music and striking visual imagery. Duran Duran just happened to be my favorite.

At this point, you might be thinking that I am writing this post whilst donning my fake eyelashes and ruby-red lipstick. Truth is, I never raided my mother’s makeup when I was a child, that’s not the point I am trying to make (but if that’s you, go for it!). The point I am trying to make is that the New Romantics represented a stance against traditional cultural norms of what it means to be masculine. They threw ‘manliness’ out the window and created something entirely new. It was a bold statement that spoke to me. It said that it was okay to be me, whatever I decided that should be. In other words, it meant freedom of expression without fear of oppression.

So to loop this piece back to present day, earlier this week Duran Duran released their fabulous cover version of David Bowie’s Boys Keep Swinging – a song that pokes fun at machismo and the idea of the privileged white male. It has been on constant repeat on my iPod for days now. In my opinion, this is the first time Duran Duran have embraced their classic sound and New Romantic sensibilities in over 25 years. I will even go so far as to say that this song represents the very core of what Duran Duran are all about, at least to me. It’s also a representation of what I would like to think I am about.

In other words, nothing real or meaningful can be gained by conforming to society’s idea of the privileged white male. You don’t get to be ‘first on the line’ just for being a boy, you get there by being yourself.

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