All posts tagged: 1980s

Bob Dylan in the '80s: Volume One

Here’s the proof: Dylan was good in the ’80s

Maybe it’s because it’s when I first discovered Dylan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for his much-maligned ’80s output. I was still an impressionable college sophomore when a friend gave me a mixtape of Dylan songs in an attempt to win me over into the Order of Bob, and he was ecumenical about his choices — he included then-recent songs like “Jokerman” right alongside ’60s tracks like “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” Sure, you could tell which ones were newer by the general croakiness of Bob’s nasally whine, but I think coming at them without being predisposed as to which were the “classics” helped me appreciate just how intricate and often brilliant those newer lyrics were. Twenty-five years later, that’s definitely something that hasn’t been lost on the contributors to “Bob Dylan in the ’80s” (ATO Records). This album, with many tracks by artists too young to actually remember the ’80s, much less Dylan in them, is one of the most consistent collections of Dylan covers to come along …

Duncan Sheik

CD Review: Duncan Sheik, “Covers Eighties Remixed”

On the surface, Duncan Sheik’s Covers Eighties Remixed might fall into the “absolutely inessential” category. After all, as its name implies, this covers compilation is itself a remixed version of his 2011 album (wait for it) Covers Eighties. But dismissing this new collection does a disservice both to Sheik’s talent and his creativity. For starters, his selection of ’80s covers isn’t obvious. While decade staples Psychedelic Furs, Tears For Fears and Depeche Mode appear, Sheik also highlights elegant synthpop cult heroes Japan (the Ben Casey take on “Gentlemen Take Polaroids,” here buffed up by warm vocals and brisk electro beats), swooning New Romantics the Blue Nile (Sheik’s piano-tickled, Teutonic-techno take on “Stay”) and ambient icons Talk Talk (the lovely Bookworm remix of “Life’s What You Make It,” a dead ringer for So-era Peter Gabriel). Perhaps more impressive, Covers Eighties Remixed isn’t afraid to radically deconstruct beloved songs. The Max Tannone remix of the Smiths’ “William, It Was Really Nothing” replaces guitars with analog synths, choppy robotic vocal effects and belching electronic beats. The Samantha Ronson …