The general idea here is not to show once more a subjective best of concerning a past year but scientifically proving that one has to go further than the regular clichés about music related to a specific period in time. For anybody, 1985 could appear as a kind of void, stuck between the early 80’s post-punk period and before the arrival of the Madchester era (Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and many others). WRONG! 1985 is a amazing year for records as you may see below (in no particular order). And frankly, apart maybe for a few tracks, major part of these records could have been made at any other decade.
Please click on covers to get more news on albums from the “All Music” site.
The Smiths: “Meat is Murder” Morrissey and Marr at their top with probably their best LP with “The Queen is dead”. Contains two of their best songs with “The Headmaster Ritual” and “Barbarism begins at home”. One should never insist enough on the quality of the Morrissey/Marr songwriting and the intensity they both created. As time passed and as our musical knowledge maybe a bit higher than when listening this record at seventeen (!), the diversity of styles is amazing too. (9/10)
The Jesus And Mary Chain: “Psychocandy” Ah the Reid brothers…. William and Jim, the internal fights (reminds you of another band?), the accent from Glasgow, the fuzz noises, the Beach Boys melodies, the hits! This record could really go out at any moment in time and has been so influental to musicians and music lovers everywhere. And contrary to one of our best French journalists forecast at the time, it has aged as well as Jacques Brel. (9.5/10)
The Style Council: “Our favourite Shop” After the success of The Jam, Paul Weller surprized all his fans by creating The Style Council with Mick Talbot with the will of more freedom and being able to go a bit away from rock and get closer to his jazz/soul roots. This is their best album and every track is a winner, mixing left-oriented messages (the Thatcher years in the U.K.) amidst great dancing music. And what a great cover, one on which to spend hours (shoes, ties, actors, Curtis Mayfield,…)! (9/10)
Tom Waits: “Rain Dogs” First part of Tom Waits’ career was excellent but one was finding in it what one was expecting: piano-bar-late-night-drinking-wolf songs. And then Tow Waits met his wife-to-be Kathleen Brennan on the set of “One from the Heart” from Francis Ford Coppola, changed his approach to music and became the artist we all cherish now. After first groundbreaking LP “Swordfishtrombones” in 1983, Tow Waits went on with “Rain Dogs”, one the best LP’s ever done, mixing atmospheres, weird stories and an incredible musicianship (Keith Richards plays on a couple of tracks). Nobody has ever done such beautiful sounds and everybody should have this album in their records’ collection (if such a thing still exists…) (10/10)
Dexys Midnight Runners: “Don’t stand me down” Apart from the aficionados, who does really know the genius of Kevin Rowland? Three amazing LP’s only but such classy music. I have been listening for “Don’t Stand Me Down” for years and everytime with the same joy and emotion. The LP is based on a kind of dialog betwen Kevin and Bill Graham and bears the most euphoric song I know with “This is what she’s like”. Discover this LP and you will be rewarded (10/10).
The Fall: “This Nation’s saving Grace” The late and great DJ John Peel favourite bands, The Fall has made thousands of records so it may sometimes be difficult to recommend one of them. This is the supposed Fall “peak” period when Mark E. Smith acid words were followed by great music (file under “psychobillypostpunkpsychedelic”…). As John Peel once said : “The Fall, always the same, always different…” (9/10).
New Order: “Low Life” Please refer to Peter Hook’s concert review for a brief story of Joy Division and New Order. Just to write down this is to my mind the best New Order record as a LP (and “Perfect Kiss” my prefered New Order song) (9/10).
R.E.M.: “Fables of the Reconstruction” The first LP you hear by one of your top bands is always special so I was afraid of not being objective regarding “Fables”. But no, last year reissue with plenty of bonus confirmed that this is singular music, mixing Americana weirdness, jangle-jingle sounds with a huge post-punk UK influence (the fact that this album had been recorded in the U.K. is not a coincidence). When Stipe/Mills/Berry/Buck were cutting edge music makers… (9/10)
The Colourfield: “Virgins and Philistines” Terry Hall’s third musical project after the Specials and Fun Boy Three, The Colourfield is probably his less famous as it only lasted for a few years and two LP’s. I may not have the talent neither in English, nor in French to express my feelings about this glorious LP so please listen (or alternately click on the cover to read a nice review about it). Amazing out-of-time music, like a musical comedy where everything could hang suspended in the air. The fact that the blog you read bears this name is self-explanatory (10/10)
Also more than recommended:
The Cure “The Head on the Door”, Madness “Mad not mad”, Nick Cave “The first Born is dead”, Sonic Youth “Bad Moon rising”, Prince And The Revolution “Around the World in a Day”, Tears For Fears: “Songs from the Big Chair”, The Pale Fountains “…From across the Kitchen Table”, Hüsker Dü “New Day rising”, The Pogues: “Rum, Sodomy and the Lash”, The Dream Academy “The Dream Academy”, Kate Bush “Hounds of Love”, Microdisney “The Clock comes down the Stairs”, Propaganda “A Secret Wish”, Talking Heads “Little Creatures” and Big Audio Dynamite “This is Big Audio Dynamite”.
And here is a summer 2011 update! All Music had done as well as the same time I did this 1985 selection their records of that same year. Click to find out the results!