HomePosts Tagged "The Fixx"

The Fixx Tag

Those who only remember the Fixx for their ‘80s hits will be pleasantly surprised by their latest release, Beautiful Friction. The album moves away from the musical pop hooks such as what Jamie West-Oram was able to create in songs like “Saved by Zero,” “One Thing Leads to Another,” or “Red Skies at Night” toward a new maturity that layers the guitars in a less angular way. The songs are no less political than they were during the Fixx’s heyday, but they are executed in a way that forgoes the pressure to have a hit in favor of greater depth.

It’s funny how, as I get older, I’m losing track of time the way everyone said I would. I didn’t believe it, but here I am dropping the ball as often as I juggle the others. If you do not recognize a particular theme with this mixtape, that’s not your fault because there is none.

We move on this week to the sixth letter of the alphabet and look at more tunes that hit the Billboard rock charts in the 1980s but failed to cross over into the Hot 100.

The Fabulous Thunderbirds
“Tip On In” 1981, #44 (download)
“One’s Too Many (and A Hundred Ain’t Enough)” 1981, #41 (download)
“Look At That, Look At That” 1986, #20 (download)
“How Do You Spell Love” 1987, #22 (download)
“Rock This Place” 1989, #10 (download)

One of my favorite underrated groups of the ‘80s, most people know them for the excellent “Tuff Enuff” which pushed them to mainstream radio, but before that they were pretty straightforward blues rock and I’d bet a hell of a fun bar band.

Their first album to give them hits was Butt Rockin’ from 1981 which contained the blues cover “Tip On In” and “One’s Too Many” co-written by singer Kim Wilson and Nick Lowe.

Fast forward five years to the Tuff Enuff album where they added a pop edge into the blues to create killer numbers like the title track and “Wrap It Up”. “Look At That, Look At That” was also from the record but was a little too traditional blues for mainstream radio.

The next album – Hot Number – generated “Stand Back” for the mainstream media and the blues cover “How Do You Spell Love?” for rock radio.

Their last album of the decade was Powerful Stuff, er – only by title. It’s a pretty uninspired album with generic tunes like “Rock This Place” sadly being the best of the bunch.

It wasn’t their best album. It wasn’t even much like what people consider their best album. Yet the mighty Canadian power trio Rush found themselves on Atlantic Records with a producer known mostly for working with The Fixx and Tina Turner. It was in many ways a fresh start and, true to the band’s nature, they made the most of it.

Lyricist/drummer Neil Peart always had a knack for wordplay, but quite often that was the lyrical crux of the song, with no specific aim attached. On Presto, the seeds of his political nature were finally starting to bloom. “War Paint” fleshes out the angst of teenage life in a hostile adult world, a direct graduation from “Subdivisions.” The very specific “Red Tide” spurs on an ecology-mindedness the listener kind of knew was there but couldn’t precisely summarize. The kickoff “Show Don’t Tell” went to number #1 on the rock charts.

Perhaps it was producer Rupert Hine’s pop polish that made everything so much more palatable than their hard-rock roots, but this is exactly what you get – a great pop album. Alex Lifeson’s guitar is still powerful but not “tear-the-roof-off,” especially with the chorus pedal so often processing the sound. Geddy Lee still plays the bass like few can, but it’s lower in the mix, and the keyboards are higher. The album has the dubious distinction of holding one of the band’s worst songs, the craptacular “Scars,” but also contains two of their prettiest offerings. First, the title track, which illustrates a person’s desire to make everything better in the face of being completely unable to do so. The word “presto” is never uttered in the song, but the key lyric, “If I could wave my magic wand,” really crystallizes that harsh middle ground between intention and ability. It also touches a major Peart theme – no magician or rock star is going to make your miracle happen for you. You must wrestle with the responsibility of your own life.

New baby = less time. Imagine that. I was somehow under the impression that sleepless nights were going to give me plenty of free time to continue to write meaningless drivel in my intros, but I haven’t been able to find the motivation at 3 AM just yet. So, in an effort to continue to give you the “quality” music of Bottom Feeders without interruption, I’m going to move straight to the music for the remainder of 2008. Without further ado, we continue looking at the ass end of the Billboard Hot 100 in the ’80s, with more artists whose names begin with the letter F.

“Talk to Me” — 1985, #64 (download)
“Everything You Do (You’re Sexing Me)” — 1989, #52 (download)

Fiona Flanagan is less known for her music than for her lead role in the failed 1987 Bob Dylan movie Hearts of Fire. “Everything You Do” is a duet with Bottom Feeders favorite Kip Winger! If I could choose one artist to be the spokesperson for this series, Kip would be high on the list. Over-the-top cheesiness, pretty shitty music, and a remarkably cocky attitude is exactly what I’m looking for to represent this series, and “Everything You Do” is a pretty good example of that shit factor. I’m just wondering if the phrase “you’re sexing me” was ever uttered by even one other person. Unless this was some popular saying in the ’80s that I’m not aware of, I just can’t picture someone saying to me, “Oh yeah, baby, now you’re sexing me.” We got close a few years later with Color Me Badd wanting to “sex you up,” but that’s still nothing like a good sexing (at least, I assume).

Elisa Fiorillo
“How Can I Forget You” — 1988, #60 (download)
“Forgive Me for Dreaming” — 1988, #49 (download)

Neither of these songs are terrible. In fact “How Can I Forget You” is downright okay, but they’re not what Elisa Fiorillo is known for. Her biggest song was the top-20 hit “Who Found Who” by Jellybean, on which she was lead vocalist. Then after her debut record, which featured the two singles posted here, she started working with Prince, doing background vocals on the Batman soundtrack (1989), Graffiti Bridge (1990), and Diamonds and Pearls (1991). Her second album was recorded at Paisley Park and was heavily influenced by the Purple One. After that she took a break, did some TV work, and returned in 2002 playing jazz.