(wow) Words Of Wonders Level 1981 Answers – The music of 1981 opened with a burst of creativity. synthesizers took over the charts, new romantics enjoyed the last hurray, funk, rap and retro opened up new territories. Was this the best year for pop music?
Pop music of the 1980s inspired fear and awe. Synths have sounded like futurists through releases like Metamatic and John Fox’s OMD, as well as The Human League’s amazing Top Of The Pops performances.
(wow) Words Of Wonders Level 1981 Answers
In these tumultuous times, it seemed that disaster was always just around the corner, and nuclear-themed hits (Kate Bush’s Breathing, UB40’s Earth Dies Screaming) warned of an imminent apocalypse. Meanwhile, a stylish artistic update of Bowie’s Ashes To Ashes, starring Blitz grandee Steve Strange, taps into a new romanticism.
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Oracles of this came via Strange’s Visage (Fade To Grey) and Spandau Ballet To Cut A Long Story Short. Another burst of color came from Adam and Ants, telegenic wardrobe raiders. New heroes appeared, old ones disappeared: the murder of Lennon in December shook the world of music, which was already shaken by the suicide of Ian Curtis in May. Lennon-related releases plagued the charts in early 1981. Nostalgia was in the air.
But it was also a shock from the new synthetics. Only Joe Dolce’s “Shaddap Your Face” topped Ultravox’s “Vienna,” a melancholic electronic Eurodrama. Vienna came with a mini-film directed by Russell Mulcahy, which depicts a decadent upper class on the brink of decay (“The Last Brideshead” hit TV screens in 1981). Dressing up and throwing a fancy party while a tarantula crawls across your face seemed to sum up the year in a nutshell.
In the first cold months of 1981 in Vienna, the three debut discs showed how synthesizers would shape much of the coming year. On Kim Wilde’s January album Kids in America , her father Marty’s vintage pop sensibility was tempered by brother Ricky’s nods to Numan and OMD. Oxfam’s Wilde, also known as Oxfam’s ‘Bardot of Rock’, was followed by ‘Checkered Love’, ‘Water On Glass’ and the soundscape of Cambodia’s grown-up songs.
Back in February, Duran Duran’s Planet Earth released a band dedicated to style and success that dominated the dance floor and demonstrated how electronica can be combined with a perfectly balanced pop package.
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That same month, Spandau’s Journeys To Glory hit the shelves, followed by Duran’s own album in June. The video was taken. Girls On Film, directed by Godley and Creme, introduced them to American MTV, which launched in August (without taste).
Depeche Mode’s Dreaming Of Me, released in February, welcomed the emergence of purely electronic teenage dreams via independent label Daniel Miller’s Mute. Synthpop flourished as the instrument quickly became cheaper and more portable, leading to the infamous episode of Depeche Mode taking their train from Basildon to TOTP when New Life arrived that summer. Just Can’t Get Enough, released in September, reached the top 10, as did debut album Speak & Spell.
Synthpop brought a strange charge to the charts in 81: listen again to the strange hit Landscape Einstein-A-Go-Go. OMD hit the top five with the ethereal Souvenir and the mysterious Joan of Arc, while Architecture & Morality – heavy with Eno-soundscapes and proggy Mellotrons – became a No.1 album. OMD heroes Kraftwerk reissued The Model, slowly climbing to No.1 at 82 together from the 81st Computer Love.
In the world of computing, the pioneers from Dusseldorf used their Texas and Casio calculators and got to know the technical moments when computers (IBM in the US, Sinclair ZX81 in the UK) appeared at home. Less commercial electronic music arrived via Mute’s Fad Gadget, a shade of light Depeche Mode, with Frank Tovey as Mr Punch gracing the cover of Incontinent. Inside was a terrifying carnival of electric nightmares and bad behavior.
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When DAF weren’t on Connie Plank’s Eurythmics ‘In The Garden’, they had NME’s Paul Morley hot and teasing Alles Ist Gut (‘hot, hot sex music’). Cabaret Voltaire’s “Red Mecca” and Byrne/Enot’s “My Life in the Haunted Bush” were equally dark and ominous, shaking evangelical voices as conservatism rose in the east and west.
Futurism/neo-romanticism reached its peak in 1981 with the People’s Palace in Veselka in February, a kind of Woodstock. In March, the first issue of New Sounds New Styles magazine, devoted to the scene and its music, nightlife and fashion, was published.
Ultravox follow Vienna with September’s Rage In Eden , while Visage released Mind Of A Toy . Increasingly, the Blitz Kids were accused of elitism. “I’ve got champagne on my dad’s credit card,” lamented Smash Hits’ Steve Strange, wearing Chinese slippers in a house full of mirrors and Pierrot dolls.
But Adam And The Ants were the biggest dandies of ’81. Stunning videos for Stand And Deliver and Diana Dors starring Prince Charming showcased their keen sense of form. Ant was star-hungry and, like 1981, exciting and weird (you can just hear the cool vocals that open the last song).
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Ant also eschewed synths in favor of guitar playing, strumming, glam rock chants and tribal double drums; Johnny Kidd & The Pirates know the glam pop and rhythm of Burundi.
Beat was as common as synthesizers in 1981, a primitive, atavistic, anthropomorphic beat that stood against the noise of electronic progress and “exotic” global pop. He breezed through Kate Bush’s Sat In Your Lap (with ad tutus, skates and jokes), Juju and The Banshees’ Bow Wow Wow and Rusty Egan’s Burundi Black. It was sometimes covered by a door, which was used for dramatic effect by Phil Collins in In The Air Tonight.
Later that year, Adam Ant met the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance and was dressed in knightly robes. So did Tenpole Tudor, who replaced the incoming cavalry suits with March’s Swords Of A Thousand Men (like Ant, Ed Tudor-Pole learned a few tricks from Malcolm McLaren).
It seemed like everyone, not just the New Romantics, was attacking Berman and Nathan under the mask. Heroism has been in the charts, clubs (Egan/Strende after Blitz Club For Heroes) and movies (Clash Of The Titans, Time Bandits).
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Another blaze of color and costume arrived with Adam Ant’s Jubilee partner Toya, hair and tunic ablaze, turning the suburbs upside down with her singles I Want To Be Free and It’s A Mystery from the theatrical school punk-turned-child presenter. (He did just that in Watch Here).
Wilcox was inescapable in 1981, hitting number two with Anthem, full of what he called his “real music”: “extreme electronics and Toyah opera groups.”
Compared to Toyah, Gary Numan seemed a welcome relief, deploying the eccentric Bogart/Howard Hughes millionaire detective for Dance’s bleak atmospheres and textures, backed by Queen’s greatest players from Roger Taylor to Billy Curry. Japan’s Mick Karn provided sax and his signature bass (Numan loved Gentlemen Take Polaroids).
By then, Gary was even acting like Howard Hughes; he avoided live concerts, preferred airplanes to pop stars, just wanted to be rich, not famous. He had reasons to back off: An ex sold her story to the tabloids, inspiring the No. 6 hit She’s Got Claws. Meanwhile, his new girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend walked through his garden and attacked him with roses. Despite the ordeal, Dance finished third and was voted the best man by Smash Hits readers.
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The updated Human League wasn’t a new romance, but the technology, style and dance were at the heart of their 1981 hit. It featured ‘the girls’, Joan Catherall and Suzanne Sully, handpicked from the dance floors of Sheffield for their glamorous looks. and background vocals. Graph’s Ian Burden was also involved, noting that early in the league, dancing was more about limb-twirling than body-shaking pleasure.
April’s Sound Of The Crowd changed that, adding the beats of the new LinnDrum. “The People” were now on the sounds of the League… and buying it too.
In TOTP, Catherall and Sally took over the BBC TV Center, as did Sheffield’s Crazy Daisy. The Only Rose, reaching #11. Amplifying the drama on the dance floor, he disappeared into dark and dubious spaces – Bearden was a reggae fan and Martin Rushent was selected for his daring performance with London punks 999 – before his verses throw you back under the lights. Even the red sleeve was code for a dance record, though the B-52 Party Mix! beat out Love And Dancing ’82 in the remix album race.
Love Action (#3) and Open Your Heart (#6) were much more endearing to record buyers and promptly sent October’s Dare to No. 1. Hear the Yamaha CS-5 humming on Love Action or the hook of Open Your Heart hanging confidently in space) .
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The magic ingredient in this electric orchestra was Martin Rushent’s Roland Micro-Composer. From the aspirations of the jet set (The Things…) and blockbusters, Dare Center scared us with Stephen King (Darkness) and the Kennedy assassination the year Reagan was shot (Seconds).
The league, managed by Bob Last and joined by ex-Resillo Joe Callis, linked Scotland with Rushent, who shared photos altered to read “Happy Birthday” and “I can be happy”. Fronted by Gregory’s Girls star Claire Grogan, the band’s girl-next-door charm and nursery rhymes clashed with the edge of the Banshees (Steve Severin produced their first singles).
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