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467 tracks from UK have been recommended.
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Just Lust  performed by Buzzcocks  1978
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

"Just Lust" was the B-side to the Buzzcocks' highest-charting single, the Pete Shelley punk-pop classic "Ever Fallen in Love?," eventually reaching number 12 on the U.K. singles chart in September of 1978. The mysterious co-author " Dial" is, in fact, a pseudonym for the band's early manager, Richard Boon, who also shared songwriting credits on "What Ever Happened?," the B-side to the Buzzcocks' infamously banned first single "Orgasm Addict." However, the effect of his involvement in not apparent here, as the music is classic Buzzcocks — masters of the punk-fueled power pop nugget. The rhythm is springy, the track's nervous tension as wired as the melody is infectious. Punchy verses with quick-hit vocals are alternated with short dreamy sections of woozy flanged guitar and chopped up-tempo shifts, the band expertly maneuvering in tight spaces. Shelley follows the twists and turns with clipped phrases followed by drawn-out melodies in sync with the compact arrangement: "Your dream to possess/It hurts/It's so unjust/Just lust, just lust/If nothing mattered less/Then I wouldn't make a fuss/Just lust, just lust/I was slow to catch on and that just makes it worse/If passion is a fashion then emotion is just a curse." Though the track was also included on the Buzzcocks' second album, Love Bites, the group had yet to make an impact in the United States. Thankfully, this little gem was not left to languish in obscurity as it was included in the influential collected singles package Singles Going Steady, compiled as the band's introduction to American audiences and released in the states in 1979.
(AMG)

from Love Bites (UA 30197), available on CD (EMI)


Middle Of The Road  performed by The Pretenders  1984
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

Who could forget the rousing "woo-hooa-a-hooas" that helped define the Pretenders' 1984 smash hit "Middle of the Road"? In a decade that saw synthesizer-oriented pop music arriving on U.S. soil from England, singer/guitarist Chrissie Hynde and bandmates tear it up on this classic example of pure, unadulterated rock music. The Pretenders' offering successfully maintains a formulaic rock pattern, with drums that beat on at a driving frenetic 4/4 pace and guitar riffs that induce foot stomping by the most conservative crowd. By the time the harmonica solo kicks in toward the track's end, "Middle of the Road" has worked itself up into such a musical romp that it challenges anyone to remain sitting down. There is no technical or instrumental trickery to be found here, no "secret sauce"; the song is very much in your face. Its rollicking music and lyrics that paint a picture of a journey make anyone want to hop into the car and take off for the open road. "Middle of the road, is trying to find me/ I'm standing in the middle of life with my plans behind me." You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't identify with that sentiment. The Pretenders zeroed in on one of humankind's most basic, secret desire — to get up and go — and backed it with an equally driven musical arrangement. And that's what makes this recording a timeless classic.
(AMG)

from Learning To Crawl (Sire 2-23980), available on CD


Something Better Change  performed by The Stranglers  1977
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

”Something Better Change” was released in July of 1977 as the first single from The Stranglers upcoming second album No More Heroes which would appear in mid September. Along with the albums title track, ”Something Better Change” would signal a move in a more overtly pop direction that was only hinted at on the group’s first album and would manage to peak at #9 on the U.K. singles chart. This is not to say that The Stranglers abandon their reputation as caustic agitators as No More Heroes was littered with politically contentious tracks such as ”I Feel Like A Wog”, ”Bring On The Nubiles” and ”Bitching”, but the song’s infectious guitar riff and winning melody suggests a tenuous party rock atmosphere. It’s left to singer J.J. Burnel’s particularly gruff vocal performance to keep thing in the punk zone as he alternates between a gnarly throated delivery and a melodic toned timbre. Pumping organ and a buoyant mid-tempo rhythmic romp keep the energy high as he confronts the status quo with a tirade against stifling apathy, flaunting the punk new order with the taunting second verse, “Don’t you like the way I dance? / Does it bug you? / Don’t you like the cut of my clothes? / Don’t you like the way I seem to enjoy it? / Stick my finger right up your nose!” The bridge becomes a jubilant anthem where Burnel voices a punk battle cry to a flurry of organ runs and a growling bass line, “Something’s happening and it’s happening right now / You’re too blind to see it / Something’s happening and it’s happening right now / Ain’t got time to wait”. The chorus is a simple statement, Burnel demanding “Something better change!” with support from the boys in the band who join in for a group shout. Ironically, the arrangement also shows signs of classic rock moves, including a stinging guitar solo and an old school build up of the chorus late in the track.
(AMG)

from No More Heroes (A&M 4659), available on CD


Just A Touch Away  performed by Echo & The Bunnymen  1997
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

This song was to be a key moment in the reformation of Echo & the Bunnymen. Ian McCulloch originally wrote "Just a Touch Away" back in the mid-Nineties, in the midst of the Electrafixion era, but felt it inappropriate for that band. Over time, the singer found himself shelving more and more songs, as it became ever more evident that Electrafixion's days were numbered. Eventually McCulloch played a demo of the song for Will Sergeant, who was decidedly impressed; soon after, the pair turned out the lights on Elektrafixion, re-united with Les Pattison, reformed Echo & the Bunnymen, and began work on their new album, 1997's Evergreen. "Just a Touch Away" would take pride of place within, its evocative atmospheres and haunting lyrics creating an eloquent showcase of the band's new styles and sounds. Today, the song is Sergeant's favorite track from the set, proving McCulloch was right to have so much faith in it all along.

from Evergreen (WEA 3213), available on CD


The Cutter  performed by Echo & The Bunnymen  1983
Recommended by dsalmones [profile]

On ”The Cutter” fellow Liverpool natives, Echo and The Bunnymen successfully wed the Eastern influenced psychedelic sounds made famous by hometown heroes, The Beatles. Crafting Eastern influences into a new post-punk hybrid that was sweeping England in the Early 80’s. It was songs like ”The Cutter” that would help define the newly coined Neo-psychedelic sub-genre, practiced by such group’s of the period as The Chameleons U.K., Psychedelic Furs and Simple Minds amongst others. The track opens with a keyboard approximation of Indian strings, whirring briefly before the band kicks into a percolating groove of popping bass, driving straight drums and chinking guitar accents. Ian McCulloch adds another layer of ’60 nostalgia, employing his expressive, slack-jawed vocal delivery that conjures aural images of the late Jim Morrison as he unfurls lines that drip with apprehension “Who’s on the seventh floor? / Brewing alternatives / What’s in the bottom drawer? / Waiting for things to give”. The Eastern strings re-enter at strategic points, filling in space between verses and McCulloch’s esoteric pleas to “spare us the cutter!”, which sounds like a good idea in any case. The arrangement also veers into epic territory quite unexpectedly in the second half, signaled by a sweeping wave of keyboard and McCulloch’s more subdued delivery as poses a string of rhetorically poignant questions, “Am I the happy loss? / Will I still recoil? / When the skin is lost / Am I the worthy cross? / Will I still be soiled? / When the dirt is off” -as the music swell behind him. Like any good single, the track never looses steam, cruising through each section with power and grace. A nod is in order for Ian Broudie, who’s smooth production helped The Cutter become Echo and The Bunnymen’s first top ten single in Britain and a linchpin track for the Neo-psychedelic movement.
(AMG)

from Porcupine (Sire 2-23770), available on CD


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