Song of the Day #2,956: ‘Dirty Mind’ – Prince

prince_dirty_mindMost of the retrospectives that followed Prince’s death earlier this year singled out 1980’s Dirty Mind as his first great album and one of his very best, peiod.

This sexually explicit funk-pop classic was Prince’s third album, and the first on which he played pretty much every instrument. The five-star AllMusic review trumpets its influence on the decade to come, saying “its fusion of synthesizers, rock rhythms, and funk set the style for much of the urban soul and funk of the early ’80s.”

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Song of the Day #2,955: ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ – The Police

police_zenyata_mondattaI have a “greatest hits” appreciation of The Police. I own only Synchronicity but I’m very familiar with their most popular songs from the four albums that preceded it — ‘Roxanne,’ ‘Can’t Stand Losing You,’ ‘Message in a Bottle,’ ‘Every Little Thing She Does is Magic’ and so on.

1980’s Zenyatta Mondatta was The Police’s third album and, though the band itself dismisses it as half-good, it received some of the best reviews of their career.

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Song of the Day #2,954: ‘Games Without Frontiers’ – Peter Gabriel

peter_gabriel_meltPeter Gabriel’s first four solo albums were all titled Peter Gabriel for some reason. His third, released in 1980, is popularly referred to as Melt due to its cover image.

As a kid, I owned this album on vinyl but didn’t play it very often. I remember it best for closing track ‘Biko,’ which I once played at school for an assignment asking us to pick a song about an historical figure. Pretty cool choice for an elementary school, if you ask me.

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Song of the Day #2,953: ‘Get On the Floor’ – Michael Jackson

off-the-wallMichael Jackson’s Off the Wall just missed my list of 1980 albums, having been released with a few months left in 1979.

I never got to know this album very well, unlike its 1982 follow-up, Thriller. Thriller is an album that, even at 10 years old, I knew by heart. But Off the Wall might be an even better record start to finish.

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Song of the Day #2,952: ‘Warning Song’ – Witness

underasunI’ve written about the band Witness, and their sophomore album Under a Sun, two times before. Once for Song of the Day #268, in April of 2009, and once for Song of the Day #1,218 in November of 2011.

Both times I referenced the only association I have with this band and this album, the fact that I bought it on the spot after hearing it play at a record store. Back when record stores were a thing, I’m sure they sold a lot of albums that way, but this is the only time I can ever remember buying a CD I’d never heard of because a clerk decided to give it a spin one afternoon.

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Song of the Day #2,951: ‘Pulling Mussels (From the Sheell)’ – Squeeze

squeeze_argybargySo many of the albums I write about in these year-by-year series elicit in me the same response: I really need to listen to this one. Such is the case yet again with today’s selection, Squeeze’s third album, Argybargy.

Considering how much I love Squeeze’s 1981 classic East Side Story, along with the greatest hits collection I wore out in college, it’s a mystery why I haven’t listened to any of the dozen or so other albums they’ve released. Glenn Tilbrook and Chris Difford are one of the great pop songwriting duos, a pair dubbed the next Lennon and McCartney by some of their English countrymen.

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Song of the Day #2,950: ‘She’s So Cold’ – The Rolling Stones

rolling_stones_emotiional_rescueThe Rolling Stones essential period lasted from the mid 60s to the early 70s, when they ran off more than a dozen albums that are sexy, cerebral and alive. They faded after that, as all great music acts do, and have churned out solid if unspectacular work ever since.

But for a brief period in the late 70s and early 80s, they had a bit of a resurgence. 1978’s Some Girls and 1981’s Tattoo You are the standouts, but nestled between them, 1980’s Emotional Rescue is a serviceable collection of odds and ends.

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