terence trent d’arby – sign your name
level 42 – something about you (shep pettibone 12” remix)
depeche mode – enjoy the silence (ecstatic dub & vocal)
rocker’s revenge – walking on sunshine
konk – what you want (12” dub)
man friday – love honey love heartache
new order – temptation (remastered 12”)
the human league – the things that dreams are made of
prince – erotic city
talk talk – it’s my life
duran duran – planet earth
new order – ceremony
the b-52s – dance this mess around
esg – the beat
the police – masoko tanga
Need You Tonight – I tend to stay away from mega hits like this, but the dub is cool, and the song is just good, no matter how you slice it. It’s also surprisingly slow – like, 109bpm or something – which is rare for a huge dance floor hit. Go figure.
Sign Your Name – I’ve always loved this song. His voice was just perfect. The track has a vague island vibe, and that signature, slightly odd time structure. We were all so impressed with Terence Trent D’arby back then. He seemed to have it all, showing so much promise. And then… POOF.
Something About You – I have distinct memories of getting a ride to high school in Limore Shur’s canary yellow VW Karmann Ghia listening to this album on cassette. He was a fan, and I guess I became one by osmosis. Level 42 always had a very distinct sound – synth poppy, but with a real funk foundation. Clear standouts in the “I Want My MTV” era, if you ask me.
Enjoy The Silence – Despite that very Art Of Noise-ish synth stab, this song is actually from about 1989. You can tell just by how clean and crispy the production is. Also every white girl in art school would dance when this came on, so there’s that. But I still associate Depeche Mode with the mid 80s, so it seemed like it should fit in nicely right about here.
Walking On Sunshine – Put Arthur Baker and Jellybean Benitez in the same room and you end up with a certified electro meets disco classic. This is a remake of Eddie Grant’s 1979 UK single. The original is also great, but this version from 1982 is the one DJs will pull out in a classics set around my way.
What You Want – New York O.G.’s Konk fall into that nebulous cluster of groups like The Slits and The Bush Tetras that took punk and new wave and disco and afrobeat and reggae and rolled it up into a fat blunt and smoked it. Speaking of stoners, you may remember their drummer Richard Edson from such film roles as the parking garage attendant in Ferris Beuler’s Day Off, among others.
Love Honey, Love Heartache – Dubs like the one above, with long drum breaks and delayed vocals, are made for long blends, so that’s what I did. I ran it over the first half of this Man Friday classic – the first rubbery bass notes of which, played at the right time, will cause a whole room of Garage heads to freak the fuck out! - like, say, after 6am, ideally. Axe me how I know.
Temptation – The whole Factory Records sound is so dirty and low-fi in comparison to so much dance music of this era. New Order especially. It’s got the Giorgio Moroder synth programming, but it’s jangly and messy like Souixie Sioux and The Talking Heads and Killing Joke. Again, anything that got art school kids dancing was a good thing. They weren’t gonna learn to dance just listening to Nick Cave, that’s for damn sure.
The Things That Dreams Are Made Of – I’ve always had a soft spot for The Human League. I think it was because in 1981, I really wanted to make out with girls with new wave hair, and they had two in their band. This song has a stripped down production quality that is very much like what the Eurythmics were doing at the exact same time. And they shout out the fucking Ramones. What’s not to like?
Erotic City – Immediately after seeing P-Funk live in 1983, Prince ran home and wrote this song. Actually he was probably in a limo with a giant entourage of chicks wearing lacy lingerie and doing blow off each others buttcheeks, but you get my meaning. I’m betting it was hearing “Atomic Dog” in stadium for the first time. He was like “well shit, I can do a bassline as fat as this in my sleep!” One of my favorite Prince songs, no doubt.
It’s My Life – I feel like I never really invested enough time in appreciating Talk Talk as much as I should, but I do really love a few songs, and this is one of them. Please slap the next person who asks you if this is a No Doubt cover.
Planet Earth – Talk Talk actually used to open for Duran Duran, so I figured why not play my favorite DD song. So fucking catchy. And they were wearing the most ridiculous clothes in the video. If the ruffled shirts weren’t enough, Simon LeBon is wearing some kind of genie sash as a belt. If there was ever a clan of ambiguously gay bedouin vampires, these guys would play every wedding.
Ceremony – As you probably know, this was the last Joy Division song Ian Curtis ever wrote. New Order recorded it as their first single for the new band in 1980. I’ve always found the lyrics reminiscent of William Blake. I don’t know, maybe its the phrasing or something.
Dance This Mess Around – Impossible not to like this song. That is all.
The Beat – We have a new tradition in our house: when we’re looking for the lid to the big all-clad saucepan, we start dancing around and singing “THE LID!” to the groove of this ESG song. OK this only happened once. And that was 4 days ago. But I fully intend to do this every time from now on.
Masoko Tanga – This came out in 1978, but surely The Police influenced ESG and just about every other group on this mixtape, so here it is. I think they were just jamming in the studio and they needed a track to fill out the Outlandos D’amour LP. They never played it live. If you look up the lyrics online, you’ll find a hilarious translation that a Japanese record company guy paid an English speaker to transcribe when he was printing up lyric sheets for the import pressing. Thanks for listening!