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Throwback Tracks--November 24, 2016


The Guys from {MUSIC}

Throwback Tracks--November 24, 2016

Shaun Cordingley

This week is largely based in the UK in the 1980s, and has a bit of an indie bent to it, because it felt like American Thanksgiving needed some shoegaze and alt-rock.

Besides...don't all holidays need some Joy...Division?

The Guys From do not hold the rights to any of these songs, it is more our hope to expose our readers to new (*cough*) and different retro music, or re-expose them to things they may have forgotten about.

At the top of each section, will be the song name, followed by the artists' name linked to their website (if possible...which is totally hit and miss with oldies), so you can fall down the rabbit hole, finding and supporting what you dig. 

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division

One of the most influential bands of all time, Joy Division, has...somehow not made an appearance on Throwback Tracks until today, and I felt that there is really no reason to skip over what is probably the band's best known track, "Love Will Tear Us Apart", off of their second (and final) album, Closer released in 1980. 

Formed after Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook saw a Sex Pistols show, the group originally called themselves Warsaw (when they first started touring in 1977), however in order to distinguish themselves from another London band (Warsaw Pakt), changed their name to Joy Division. The band were only really active from 1977-1980, as lead singer Ian Curtis committed suicide right before the release of Closer, at the age of 23. 

"Love Will Tear Us Apart" is not only a great track, but it lyrically shows a bit of a window into Curtis' problems (specifically his depression, and failing marriage), but is one of the very, very few songs where Curtis played guitar. In fact, "Love Will Tear Us Apart" is inscribed on Curtis' tombstone (and the video above was filmed just 3 weeks before he killed himself). "Love" was the only Joy Division song to hit the charts, but their post-punk influence can be heard in swaths of music since...

...not to mention the fact that after Curtis' death, the band continued on, originally as 'The No-Names', but eventually settling on New Order...who you may have heard of...

Should I Stay or Should I Go - The Clash

"Should I Stay or Should I Go" is one of those songs that I mention on here every once in a while that I somehow forget about--The Clash are great, and probably one of my favorite Punk bands of all-time, but for whatever reason when I am writing these lists, I never think about The Clash. 
Well, let's fix that. 

Active from 1976-1986, The Clash were part of the first wave of the UK Punk scene in the mid-70s, and gained a substantial following thanks to the fact that a lot of their music spoke to the disillusionment of an entire generation, addressing things ranging from poverty, to the out-and-out mundane nature of life.

"Should I Stay or Should I Go" was released in 1982, and became the bands' first #1, as well as a part of their most successful album Combat Rock (released the same year). The track is also different because it does not feature Joe Strummer on lead vocals, but rather Mick Jones, who actually ended up leaving The Clash in 1983 over friction with Strummer. This is probably my favourite song by The Clash; there's just something about the tempo shifts, the "need to dance to this" pace,  and the lyrics (even the howling) that works for me. 

Where is My Mind? - PIxies

It would be hard to imagine band's like The Smashing Pumpkins, or even most of the grunge movement existing without American Alt-Rock band The Pixies' 1988 release Surfer Rosa, and plunked right in the middle of the album is "Where is My Mind?", a deceptively simple rock song, that has become almost ubiquitous in pop culture (it is hard to find people who have not at least heard "Where is My Mind?"). 

Written by frontman Black Francis, and inspired by a trip he had scuba diving in the Caribbean, the song largely features a simple guitar riff and drummed rhythm which allows for the vocals (both lyrical, and weirdly haunting "Ooh-Woo"s to drive the track, and turns it into a song that...I don't know if it will ever stop being used in films, TV, or just wafting out of residences at Universities everywhere.

Honestly, I think there is a commercial out right now featuring a cover version of "Where is My Mind" selling...phones? Seriously, I am fairly confident in saying that this song is one of the most influential songs of the last 30 years, and it's damn good to boot. 

Can't Be Sure - The Sundays 

The debut single from English indie dream pop band The SUNDAYS "Can't Be Sure" sounds like I've ripped it out of Tuesday Tunes--released in 1989, and a part of their first album Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, "Can't Be Sure" is a song that you can draw direct parallels between piles of today's indie pop (and honestly, I bet you about half of the indie pop bands that I write about would kill to have "Can't Be Sure" as their debut single). It's actually a little bit remarkable how timeless this track feels now--there are definite hints at some of the pop coming in the mid-90s as well, but wow.

I think a lot of why this track is just so enjoyable is Harriet Wheeler's vocals; she has a beautiful and unique voice--especially for pop in 1989, providing such a warm, folk-infused feeling to "Can't Be Sure" that I generally cannot get through this entire song without either a smile, or just generally feeling better, even though there's a strange amount of lyrics about England's awful weather...

How Soon is Now? - The Smiths 

Speaking of influential indie bands, The Smiths are (probably) the most successful indie bands of all time, and were even voted by NME to be the most influential band of all time, even though they were only really active from 1982-1987. "How Soon is Now?" is probably not particularly representative of The Smiths' sound, however the musical composition of the song is some of the most interesting, and best work that the band ever did, as far as I am concerned. That opening, reverberating guitar leading into a dark, moody rock song that...well Sire Records' head Seymour Stein called the song "The 'Stairway to Heaven' of the Eighties", and while that is a little bit silly, comparing two very different eras and styles, there is something to that: very very few songs in the 80s have a commanding sweep like "How Soon is Now?" does. 


Here is the October 2016 Throwback Playlist, which is the completest list we have had in a long time. Enjoy!  

In case you missed our previous Throwback Track playlists, here they are:

September 2016 Throwback Playlist

August Apple Music Playlist

July 2016 Throwback Playlist

June 2016 Throwback Playlist

May 2016 Throwback Playlist

April 2016 Throwback Playlist

Remember, as I use Apple Music, that is where the playlists live, but if you want me to look into other services, just hit me up on Twitter and we'll chat about it.

See you again next Thursday with some new....oldies...*cough*

-S (@Shauncord

photo credit: Len.- via photopin (license)