80s Week: Sean’s Lists

There are lots of things that I like from the Eighties. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Transformers, G.I. Joe and a number of great cartoons that still managed to influence me in my formative years wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the 1980s. It was the peak time for video game arcades, something I wish I could have been around for more of. And let’s not forget the massive list of movies that made the decade so unique. But these lists aren’t necessarily about nostalgia. No, this is me, someone born in 1988, on the outside, looking back in.

Top 10 Albums of the 1980s

Honestly, I’ve never been that big on 1980s music. In fact, I’ve listened to more new albums since 2009 than total albums from that entire decade. That is not to say I think Eighties music is bad, it’s just that I prefer the music that evolved from what was going on back then to that actual music. However, these next ten albums are totally tubular.

10. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)
Look, it had to be on the list. I tried to fight it, but no, you cannot deny Thriller. It is the Eighties, as well as one of the most important albums in pop music history. Plus, who wouldn’t prefer having an Eighties MJ around today, instead of Beaver Fever? Beaber? Bieber?

9. Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms (1985)
“Walk of Life” is pretty much the reason why I ever listened to this album. But I’m also a huge fan of “So Far Away,” “Money for Nothing” and, well, the rest of the record. I don’t know why, but when I think of this album, I just think “yeah, that’s boring.” And then I’ll listen to it again and remember it kicks ass. The reason why is so far away from me.

8. Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
This is pretty much my toss-up spot. The Replacement’s Let It Be, Beastie Boy’s Paul’s Boutique and The Smith’s The Queen is Dead and several other albums were all in contention. Ultimately, I give it to Remain in Light because it’s so distinct. I can appreciate that. Also, “Once in a Lifetime.”

7. AC/DC – Back in Black (1980)
Without this album, what would the Iron Man trailers be like? A lot more Black Sabbath, that’s what. Fortunately, we don’t have to live in that world, because AC/DC rocked are asses away back in 1980. I’m not a fan of the schoolboy uniform shtick, however. Gross.

6. The Cure – Disintegration (1989)
What are they the cure for? Boredom? A world full of bad music? The mainstream? Does anyone know? Anyway, after years of not really giving a crap that everyone told me I should listen to The Cure, I finally hit up Disintegration and found myself enjoying it thoroughly. Who knew?

5. De La Soul – 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
De La Soul delivered what is basically my favorite hip hop album in 1989. What does that say about my hip hop credibility? Not much good. But I just love that in the era of gangster rap, these three guys put together a fun, positive album that pretty much anyone could enjoy. Kevin, if you read this, “Eye Know” is that song that samples Steely Dan’s “Peg.”

4. New Order – Power, Corruption & Lies (1983)
I few weeks back Colin played some tracks off Power, Corruption & Lies much to my chagrin. Except “Age of Consent” is amazing. Who knew you could do a song driven by crazy drums and bass? Now I have to listen to it all the time. And there are some other pretty fucking outstanding songs on this bad boy, such as “The Village” and dance hit (?) “Blue Monday.” Whoosh!

3. Big Country – The Crossing (1983)
OK, we all know “In a Big Country” is basically the best song in the history of music. So you can imagine how happy I was when I put this record on and was treated to the longer cut of the song leading off the LP. The rest of the songs can’t quite live up to it, but don’t begrudge them that. They’re pretty good. Well, some are pretty forgettable. But it’s good. There’s a reason these guys were far from a one-hit-wonder in Europe.

2. U2 – Joshua Tree (1987)
I’m not certain about this, but Joshua Tree might be my favorite U2 album. That is perhaps because the first four tracks make one of the best starts to any album I’ve ever heard. But don’t let me be misunderstood, every song on this album is a triumph. If you asked me a few weeks ago if there was any Eighties albums worth getting, this would be the first one I’d bring up. Well, except for the next album on this list.

1. The Pixies – Doolittle (1989)
It took me a while to get Doolittle. I had listened to it a few times, but what really helped me along the way was when Colin, John and I played through the whole album in Rock Band. Since then, it has become one of the few albums I always keep on my iPhone, indeed, one of my go-to records. From Kim Deal’s intro to “Debaser” all the way through “Gouge Away,” Doolittle is an experience that went on to influence pretty much all the music I like.

Top 10 Video Games of the 1980s

The Eighties were the heyday of the arcade game. Starting in the late 1970s, we had years of awesome titles until Nintendo came along and ruined it for everyone by putting out the Nintendo Entertainment System. Except the NES also birthed some of the most beloved games of all time. Games like Mega Man, The Legend of Zelda and Metroid were omitted because I haven’t played nearly enough of them. I’m sorry! I wasn’t born yet!

10. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1989)
I’m iffy on this pick, since TMNT just set up the formula for what would be the greatest beat-em-up of all time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. But a lot of what makes that game great is present in the original, plus this gave me a way to get the Turtles on one of my lists. I love those guys.

9. Frogger (1981)
I love how simple games in the Eighties were. You play as a frog, and you’ve got to get across that road. I guess it probably should have been a chicken, but then you wouldn’t get the tricky cross the pond, eat the fly, get in the cave part of the game. That’s where all the real action is.

8. Joust (1982)
So you’re this jouster guy. And you ride an ostrich. And you have to knock the other ostrich-riding jousters into the lava below. Yeah, that all makes a lot of sense. Joust was one of my dad’s favorite arcade games, so I guess it’s genetic.

7. BurgerTime (1982)
This makes you hungry, Colin? You want a giant burger that a chef’s been running over? BurgerTime is kind of like a lesser Lode Runner, except it’s awesome. What does level four look like? I’d love to know.

6. Galaga (1981)
I thought I could throw Space Invaders on this list, but apparently that classic came out in the Seventies. So instead I give you Galaga, which is basically Space Invaders but better in every way. I am serious.

5. Tetris (1985)
Funny story about Tetris: the Russian guy who invented it? He basically gets no money for it thanks to Russia being kind of messed up and also Nintendo screwing him. Poor fella. Oh, also, they gave you this for free if you bought a GameBoy. And I had to play the Russian folk son that you probably associate with this game is my junior high guitar class recital. Yup.

4. Contra (1987)
If it wasn’t for Contra we wouldn’t have some of the most important concepts in gaming. The Konami code, the spread gun, and some other third thing. Yeah, it’s a hard. Suck it up. Like a straw. Or a vacuum. Or the 2010 Seattle Mariners.

3. Donkey Kong (1981)
We’ve got a kill screen coming up! Originally titled Monkey Kong, the game got accidentally renamed and thus one of gaming’s most legendary characters was born. I guess the Donkey Kong we know today is actually supposed to be Donkey Kong, Jr., which is probably why he just goes by DK. Doesn’t wanna live in his dad’s shadow.

2. Pac-Man (1980)
Paku-Man was translated into Puck-Man, but Namco figured putting out arcade units labeled “Puck-Man” would make it too easy for vandals to rename the game “Fuck-Man.” Which would have been awesome, let’s all face it. The Pac-Man table is one of my favorite arcade cabinet designs, very classy. Paku-paku, bitches.

1. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
Hey, wow, sweet, what a big surprise. Yeah, you could argue the formula was perfected by Super Mario Bros. 3, but that didnt’ even come out in the U.S. until 1990. I, for one, did not import it from Japan when I a baby. And you know what, Super Mario Bros. is video games. Everyone loves it. It just doesn’t get more classic than this. It’s simple and yet deep, challenging and rewarding. It’s right up there with Pong in contention for the most important video game ever made.

Top 10 Movies of the 1980s

Movies were definitely to hardest to narrow down to just ten. Without looking at a list or anything, I was able to come up with around 30 films that I thought were worth being on a top 10 list. I had to make some deep, painful cuts, but here is my final top ten of the Eighties.

10. Robocop (1987)
Robocop‘s got it all. Action, one-liners, hilariously over-the-top villains, real social themes, and an interesting take on the dystopian future. It’s so good I refuse to watch the sequels, since I don’t want to know what they do to the franchise.

9. Airplane! (1980)
I know this should be my number one, just pretend this is a typo. It’s rare to find a movie so loaded down with puns. There’s basically this and other Eighties comedy juggernaut The Naked Gun. And some other movies too. I don’t really know where I’m going with this. Funny movie!

8. Major League (1989)
The hardest question Flick Chart never asked me: Bull Durham or Major League? It’s a close call, that’s for sure. And if the umps had instant replay, maybe we could be more certain. But instead I’m gonna have to call what I saw, and instinct says Major League is more fun. Tough call, though.

7. Back to the Future (1985)
I think when most people think about Eighties movies, they think of Back to the Future. It’s kind of a miracle a movie like this works, since the plot is surprisingly complex, I mean, even the title is confusing if you haven’t seen the movie. Too bad the sequels couldn’t quite live up to the original. I’m not one of those fanatics that watches this all the time, but I always enjoy it when I can catch it.

6. Raging Bull (1980)
There are few movies better than Raging Bull. But this is not the list of the best movies of the 1980s. These are my favorites. And as much as I was blown away by Raging Bull, I haven’t even gone back and watched it a second time. A Hell of a film, though.

5. Die Hard (1988)
My top five are all films I’ve seen like a million times. Die Hard is definitely on my short list for greatest action movie of all time. John McClane is simply one of the best protagonists in action movies, and Hans Gruber is a terrific antagonist. It’s kind of becoming a Christmas tradition in my family, too.

4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
It’s even quotable. “You’ve managed to kill everyone else, but like a poor marksman, you keep missing the target.” “From Hell’s heart I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee.” “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one.” Star Trek: The Motion Picture is kind of a joke. Khan is undeniable.

3. Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Do heroes get any cooler than Indiana Jones? I guess you could argue for McClane, or Han Solo, but come on. A teacher who spends his free time traveling the world collecting presumably long-lost magical artifacts? Plus, he uses a whip. Anyone else would make that seem really weak. Not Indy.

2. Ghostbusters (1984)
Another comedy movie with a oddly complex plot. I’m not even sure I get the whole thing, like, why does Gozer need to transform? Just to fuck with them? Ah well, this is one of the funniest movies ever made, and I wish I was watching in right now.

1. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Can you dig it? Star Wars is certainly the most important film franchise in my life; I’ve enjoyed the whole series since I was but a boy. Empire Strikes Back gave us Yoda, Lando, Hoth, a real lightsaber fight, a shocking revelation, a long-awaited romance and almost killed C-3PO. How you gonna beat that?

80s Week: John’s Lists

Looks like were going to have a busy couple of weeks. In addition to “80s Week”, I imagine we’ll have some movie reviews next week, maybe a review of the latest installment of Ken Burn’s Baseball and I will of course begin my “Shocktober” feature, where I’ll review 31 movies in 31 days. Though until than let’s hop in our Deloreans and take a blast to the past.

Top 10 Albums of the 1980s

10. The Traveling Wilbury’s – The Traveling Wilbury’s Vol. 1 (1988)
Some of rock’s finest gathered together to jam? It’s just as much fun as it sounds as; Harrison, Orbison, Petty, Dylan and Lynne let loose on this late 80s hoedown. I think you’ll find a lot of these choices have already been discussed here in some form, so let’s keep movin’ down to the end of the line.

9. John Fogerty – Centerfield (1984)
Talented CCR frontman John Fogerty’s comeback album is a savory return to the Bayou. “The Old Man Down the Road” could’ve easily been a CCR hit and the same could be said for most of this album’s bluesy tracks. The title track could arguably be the greatest baseball rock song ever and that enough is worth standing up to cheer.

8. U2 – Joshua Tree (1987)
The trailer for The Kingdom got me into this album, isn’t that weird? “Bullet in a Blue Sky” I remember, from that moment on I was immersed.

7. Tom Petty – Full Moon Fever (1989)
It’s only got like a million hits.

6. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)
Can’t resist… Dancing, ugh, so catchy!

5. Bruce Springsteen – Born in the U.S.A. (1984)
I could’ve of been cool and picked The River but when it comes down to it this album “just is America.” The official soundtrack to the working man, Born in the U.S.A. is an important work worth saluting.

4. Kraftwerk – Computer World (1981)
Clean cut German guys making bleeps and bloops? Count me in! I’ve never considered myself a big electronic fan but this album is infectious. It’s so basic in melody, rhythm and lyrics and yet it I find myself fully absorbed. Sigh, I wish I had a better relationship with my calculator.

3. Violent Femmes – Violent Femmes (1982)
The pinnacle of underground, acoustic, folk, punk and so on. Often I find some of the most memorable albums to be the the hardest to define, so who knows what genre this is. All I know is I love the simplicity of this album and these songs are pitch perfect anthems for your your regular angsty outcast

2. George Harrison – Cloud Nine (1987)
Sometimes album just resonate with you for reasons that are hard to explain. I’m aware there may be hundreds of albums more important than what, like George Harrison’s 11th album? But I bought this not long after he died and with it’s optimistic pop melodies it’s quickly become one of, if not my favorite post-Beatles solo album.

1. Pixies – Doolittle (1989)
“Quiet, loud, quiet, loud” such a simple approach and yet the Pixies are arguably one of most influential artists of alternative music. Raw, clever, catchy, funny, they’re always entertaining whether they’re pounding out a feisty rocker or just dicking around the studio. Frank Black is one of those guys that never gives you anything less than 100%. Doolittle is an alternative masterpiece.

Top 10 Music Videos of the 1980s

10. “She Was Hot” – The Rolling Stones
It’s hardly cutting edge or even remotely notable but it’s pure 80s cheese at it’s best. I like this one part where this buff dude’s bicep explodes.

9. “Coming Up” – Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney basically miming the single off of his 1980 album McCartney II but who is his backing band? Why it’s who else but Paul McCartney. Actually the illusion is fairly convincing in the wide shots. My favorite McCartney clone is probably “Heavy Metal McCartney” but “Weird, Mustachioed, Keyboard Playing” McCartney is a close second.

8. “When We Was Fab” – George Harrison
“The Quiet Beatle” reminisces about the days of Beatlemania while odd sight gags happen around him. There’s this one part where he has four arms, oh yeah and Ringo is there too!

7. “Down Under” – Men at Work
Don’t you hate videos that take themselves far too seriously? Where you’re not even sure what the video has to do with the song? Whatever the matter, I love watching these wacky boys from down under in this verbatim collection of silly set pieces.

6. “Once in a Lifetime” – Talking Heads
I as well have a fondness for David Byrne’s spastic movements.

5. “Take On Me” – A-ha
The pictures… Gasp, they’re coming alive!

4. “It’s Tricky” – Run DMC
Who you do call when Penn & Teller steal your money a la three card monte? That’s right, Run DMC and this video really gets me moving. The editing flows perfectly with song’s rhythm and it’s a real treat seeing Run DMC teaching Penn & Teller to be cool

3. “Fat” – Weird Al Yankovic
I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I didn’t include at least one Weird Al video. This one is just one of my all-time favorites, ha, ha fat people. “Yo, ding dong, ding dong yo.” pure brilliance.

2. “Call Me Al” – Paul Simon
I first saw this video at a very young age in the 90s and loved it even before I knew who Paul Simon or Chevy Chase was. It’s so simple, so silly, and yet so perfect.

1. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
To quote my friend Colin “Well duh”

Top 10 Video Games of the 1980s

10. Altered Beast (1988)
If it wasn’t for this we may have never had “Welcome to your Doom!” as Death’s catch phrase in our videos. It can be a tricky game but if you can “bend the rules” if you know what I mean, you’ll have a lot of fun. Some of the monster transformations in this game are just awesome and I always enjoy watching the hero get ridiculously buff. The graphics are great for the time and it’s overflowing with 80s charm.

9. Pac-Man (1980)
What an uninspired choice right? What can I say? I’m a sucker for the classics. Though I never truly got to experience “Pac Man Fever” I like many have enjoyed playing it in various pizzerias over the years.

8. Frogger (1981)
The best game ever made about roadkill.

7. Joust (1982)
Such fond memories of Sean and I playing this back in the day. Of course that was on an “Atari Best of…” type cartridge but it was special nonetheless.

6. Contra (1987)
It’s hard as hell but damn, talk about action packed! As frustrated as you might get you wont be able to put it down.

5. Donkey Kong (1981)
I used to practice the Game Boy port for hours with dreams of doing at least okay in the arcade. Sadly I always cracked under the pressure but I still love the game.

4. Q*Bert (1982)
What’s going on here? Some weird creature, hopping around an isometric platform from a third-person perspective? Actually, I think the fact that this game is is different is why I like it so much, plus he swears, he’s badass.

3. Golden Axe (1989)
Definitely one of the best side-scrollers of it’s time. Brimming with skeletons, dragons, and bosses that are always about a hundred feet taller than you, Golden Axe is as much fun as ever. Nothing beats playing as an angry dwarf fighting the evil “Death Adder”!

2. Super Mario Bros. 3 (1988)
It’s like the first one but better, awesome?

1. Tetris (1984)
So addictive… I could play for about twenty years straight.

Top 10 Movies of the 1980s

10. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
One of, if not the greatest sequel of all time. It’s darker, edgier and is quoted way too often by the DaMorgue crew in our productions and what not. What? “That’s impossible!” You say? Oh no, it’s made it’s impact and it’s here to stay.

9. Die Hard (1988)
The pinnacle of 80s action movies, Die Hard has it all and more. John McClane has to be one of the funniest action heroes in cinema history and Alan Rickman is equally entertaining as his German nemesis. I love the explosions, the kills and it never fails to fill me with holiday cheer.

8. Field of Dreams (1989)
My favorite baseball movie despite the few scenes of anyone actually playing baseball. Field of Dreams is more about the myth of baseball and it’a larger than life players and did somebody say heartwarming? It’s an enchanting fantasy film with some great performances from Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta, always brings a little tear to the eye too.

7. Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)
So, so many jokes! If it isn’t some zany exchange of dialogue it’s a bizarre set piece in Pee Wee’s Big Adventure an immensely detailed movie that’s completely ridiculous. The characters are all priceless but it’s the giddy Pee-Wee himself that steals the show. If only TIm Burton could get back to making goofy films like this.

6. Big (1986)
I adore Gary Ross’ scripts that make such preposterous ideas seem believable. Something about Big almost makes it seem as if it could of been made in the golden age of Hollywood. Or maybe that’s because of it’s likable star in Tom Hanks: the Jimmy Stewart of our time. It’s heartwarming and endlessly clever and how can you not like that giant keyboard scene?

5. An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Few filmmakers have been as successful as John Landis with the blending of horror and comedy but here Landis does it seamlessly. It goes from laughs, to scares, laughs, to scares, without ever missing a beat. Rick Baker’s transformation sequence is one of the most memorable in horror movie history and it’s got three different versions of the song “Blue Moon”, I love that song?

4. This is Spinal Tap (1984)
One of the most quotable films of all time and definitely the best movie ever made about rock and roll. It’s a subtle film as I’ve discovered when watched in a group, but I never tire of it’s oddball docudrama approach and eccentric characters. The fact that the music is good only makes this film more awesome. It came out 26 years and yet it still lives on in the rock community. Turn it up all the way to eleven!

3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
I can’t think of any other film that could better sum up “Adventure”. From the exotic set pieces to the traditional stunt work Raiders is timeless. Harrison Ford propels himself to true leading man status with arguably his most entertaining performance and leads us on an adventure all around the world and back again.

2. E.T. (1982)
Moving, magical, a true classic in every right. from 1975… Maybe even to the late 90s, Steven Spielberg has created some of the most memorable films of all time. This one is a whimsical family film that excels in every department. The score, the effects, and all the little moments make this the perfect film. It’s almost too much of a tearjerker in my eyes, which gave just enough room for number one pick to squeak by.

1. The Thing (1982)
Originally a failure due mostly to the success of my number two pick (Both released in June 1982). The Thing has since become a cult classic and is now regarded as one of the best horror/sci-fi movies of the 80s. It’s always resonated with me the atmosphere that it creates. Such a feeling of isolation, complimented my Ennio Morricone’s robotic score and a strong ensemble cast. Rob Bottin’s bile producing makeup effects still hold up and the film is yet to feel dated. I watch it every year near wintertime, one of my favorites.

80s Week: C.A.T: Slippery When Wet

Bon Jovi – Sippery When Wet (1986)

222, 000 – 250,00 Years Ago – Man Walks the Earth

1492 – Columbus Discovers America

1776 – The Declaration of Independence

1984 – “Where’s the Beef?” Commercials air.

1986 – “Slippery When Wet” is released.

Prepare to transport yourself back to a 1980s strip club, kick back some brews, and get your rocks off! Cause this week’s “Classic Album Tuesday” honors none other than the pinnacle of 80s hair metal Slippery When Wet. Bon Jovi’s biggest commercial and critical success to date. With more 80s hit’s than you could bang your head to, it’s time to go forward and never say goodbye…

Still searching for that ever fleeting limelight after the release of their moderate success 7800 Fahrenheit, these Hairy Jersey Boys recruited hit songsmith Desmond Child to help pen some new tunes, but no one could of guessed that it would result in the band’s finest hour. For this release would include such super-mega hits as; “You Give Love a Bad Name”, “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “Wanted Dead or Alive” the latter of which was notably featured in the critically acclaimed web series War Story. Later cancelled for it’s controversial depiction of the Portuguese military.

True there were many distinguished Hair Metal gods in the 80s, like Winger and Dokken, but no other has had the same kind of impact or longevity as Jon Bon Jovi. If Garden State Icon Bruce Springsteen is “The Boss” than Jon Bon Jovi must be his assistant manager. Though you mustn’t overlook the talents of guitarist/songwriter/loyal sidekick Richie Sambora, who’s solo on “Raise Your Hands” could bring Satan himself to tears. The other guys are okay too I guess; Tico the drummer, that guy who looks like Goldilocks, and what’s his face. Yeah they are uh, really important.

But seriously “Livin’ on a Prayer”? That’s what it’s all about. I’ll bet if God challenged Satan to an epic battle to end all battles this would be the theme song and it would be awesome. “Ooh Wah ooh Wah” it’s like they built a robot and programmed it to rock. “Wanted Dead or Alive” is another contender for the category of “Greatest Song Ever” but it’s slightly diminished for it’s association with the dubious War Story, you folks watch out for that stuff.

It’s a shame that we’ve already reviewed or featured such classic 80s albums like Thriller and Born in the U.S.A but hey, look at the bright side “BON JOVI!” the day they break up will be the end of days. Though in all honesty, I may have exaggerated my liking of Bon Jovi just a tad.

Favorite Tracks: “Livin’ on a Prayer”, “Wanted Dead or Alive”, “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

80s Week: Colin’s Lists

I urge anyone to do whatever kinds lists they feel like doing, these are just the ones that I felt capable of doing. As far as ’80s TV, really the only show I’ve seen a whole lot of is “Cheers”, so I decided to go with my favorite music videos. So without further ado, here are the lists:
Top 10 Albums of the 1980s

Honorable Mentions: The dB’s – Stands For Decibals (1981), Husker Du – New Day Rising (1985), Paul Simon – Graceland (1986), The Pixies – Doolittle (1989), The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses (1989), and a lot more.
10. R.E.M. – Murmur (1983)
It definitely wasn’t punk, and it wasn’t really new wave either, so what exactly was Murmur? Well most people seem to think it was the first definitive album to be labeled as “alternative rock”, and for that reason I’d say this debut still ranks as R.E.M.’s definitive album. Well, that and the fact that the songs are really good.
9. Minutemen – Double Nickels on the Dime (1984)
A punk/hardcore/funk/jam trio breezes through over forty songs over the course of two discs. I can’t say I’ve heard anything quite like Double Nickels On The Dime, an album I just got into this summer, but one I’ll certainly be coming back to.
8. Run-D.M.C. – Raising Hell (1986)
This is the kind of album hip-hop needed in order for it to finally break through to the mainstream. The album even starts with Run-D.M.C. riffing on a nursery rhyme and somehow managing to show you from the get-go that they aren’t messing around, this shit is for real.
7. Elvis Costello and The Attractions – Imperial Bedroom (1982)
After an incredible run of albums that started with 1977’s My Aim Is True, Costello topped it off with his most insular and adventurous album yet with Imperial Bedroom. Costello’s song-craft is as strong as ever, but what makes the album is his and The Attractions willingness to pull the songs in all these different directions.
6. Talking Heads – Remain in Light (1980)
Speaking of bands taking their music in different directions, here’s Remain In Light. Every song is so dense and genre-bending, it’s almost as if every song has about 3 different songs stacked on top of each other. That definitely doesn’t sound like it should work, but the Heads somehow pulled it off with the help of producer Brian Eno.
5. Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)
I was almost considering keeping this album off the list, but then I listened to about the first 10 seconds “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” and realized I was just kidding myself. This album is the ’80s, and no top albums list would be complete without it.
4. Prince – Purple Rain (1984)
M. J. was certainly the biggest superstar of the ’80s, but Prince wasn’t too far behind. Purple Rain was a big reason why, as it displays every thing that made him great. He could rock his ass off (“Let’s Go Crazy”), spill his heart (“The Beautiful Ones”), shock you with his frank sexuality (“Darling Nikki”) or even turn avant-garde pop into a number 1 hit (“When Doves Cry”).
3. Beastie Boys – Paul’s Boutique (1989)
Sure License To Ill was the biggest hip-hop album of the eighties, but this album is the reason why I love the Beastie Boys. Their extensive use of obscure and not-so-obscure samples are a big part of the album’s appeal, as well the Beasties’ increasingly irreverent rhymes that see them name-checking the likes of Fred Flintstone, Jack Kerouac, and Saduharu Oh.
2. U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987)
I’m pretty sure this was the first ’80s album I ever listened to, back when I was convinced the entire decade was basically filled with nothing but shitty music. Now I know that’s not true at all, but this still stands as an impressive achievement, proving that it was still possible for a rock band to seem larger than life without looking completely ridiculous. Rock anthems simply don’t come much grander than the ones found here.
1. The Replacements – Tim (1985)
I’m not really even sure what to say about Tim other than that I love this album. Ever since the first time I heard it, there’s just been something about the scruffiness, the grandiosity, the vulnerability, and just the overall joy that can be found in rock n’ roll that this album embodies. I’ll even admit that this isn’t a perfect album, but it really doesn’t matter, considering that most of the songs on Tim have affected me in ways that few have.
Top 10 Music Videos of the 1980s

You kids out there may of heard of this thing called the music video, they were pretty big in the eighties. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
Some videos are so dumb that they’re awesome. Case in point.
As if Rakim wasn’t already badass enough.
The Pixies were so cool that they didn’t need to lip-sync. Not that they look very cool in this video.
There isn’t a whole lot in this video that makes sense to me, and yet it amuses me greatly. Especially when that asian guy shouts “Hey Ladies!”.
Is that one mannequin supposed to be masturbating in bed?
Everbody loves N64 graphics.
Unlike “Money For Nothing”, this one actually is still pretty impressive by today’s standards. Just about as playful and inventive of a music video as you could ask for.
I can’t tell if I actually like this song, or if the video is so good that it tricks me into liking it. Either way, it’s got so many things going on in it that you can’t help but be entertained.
I guess if you put David Byrne in front of a green screen, he’ll come up with some pretty wacky antics. I don’t know why this video amuses me so much, it just does.
Well duh.
Top 5 Video Games of the 1980s

My experience with ’80s video games is not very extensive, despite the fact that I’ve owned an NES. So I just decided to go with a top 5.
5. BurgerTime (1982)
I’m glad Sean exposed me to this game, even though it automatically makes me hungry.
4. The Legend of Zelda (1986)
I’ve never gotten that far in this game, but it’s definitely one of the more influential games to come out for the NES. Like I know, why the hell am I writing about video games?
3. Pac-Man (1980)
Some day I wish to own my very own Pac-man machine. It’s so intense!
2. Super Mario Bros. (1985)
I’ve played this game so many times and in so many variations, yet something about it never gets old. If only I could say I’ve beaten it on NES instead of using a save file on Super Mario All-Stars.
1. Tetris (1989)
Another game that I’ve spent hours upon hours playing. In my eyes, the sheer simplicity of Tetris is something that is unequaled and probably won’t ever truly be improved upon, despite all the spin-offs and variations that have come out over the years.
Top 10 Movies of the 1980s

It seems like the ’80s tends to get a bad rap as far as movies, due to it being the era of big-budget spectacles in wake of the more edgy, personal Hollywood films of the ’70s. But I think much like the music of the ’80s, the cinematic landscape of the decade is somewhat underrated as a whole.
Honorable Mentions: The Shining (1980), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Stranger Than Paradise (1984), Ran (1985), Do the Right Thing (1989)
10. The Right Stuff (1983)
Just a very entertaining, insightful, and altogether inspiring movie about the possibilities of American ingenuity. Space movies don’t get much better than this.
9. Brazil (1985)
As far as I’m concerned, this is a grand achievement from the always inventive mind of Terry Gilliam. There’s just no end to the whimsy and visual inventiveness on display here.
8. A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
As far as comedies go, this one has got to have some of the best comedic timing I’ve ever seen, much to the credit of it’s hilarious cast. Kevin Kline was so good they gave him the Oscar. When do you think they’ll ever give another person an Oscar for a straight-up comedy like this? I would say never.
7. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
It’s “intended cut” clocks in at nearly 4 hours and it’s worth every minute. Sergio Leone shows that he truly was much more than just a visual stylist, with this intricate tale of Prohibition-era gangsters that spans the course of 50 years.
6. Airplane! (1980)
I know Kevin would be upset if I didn’t give props to this most zany of comedies. I can see how he’s ended up watching this movie over 100 times, well sort of. The gags are so plentiful and so ingenious, that it’s easy to find something you haven’t noticed before each time you watch it.
5. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Of course we’re all big Star Wars fans here at Da Morgue, so much so that every moment of the original trilogy is basically implanted in our brains. So I don’t know what to say about Empire except “best sequel ever?”. Maybe.
4. Blade Runner (1982)
I’m surprised to see how much sci-fi has ended up on this list, since I’ve never really considered myself a sci-fi guy. But really the genre doesn’t get any more stylish, confounding, or all-together mesmerizing than Blade Runner. I’m also amazed that there was a time when Ridley Scott was capable of creating something so incredibly unique.
3. Blue Velvet (1986)
David Lynch is one strange little man, and I kinda love him for it. Every creepy depiction of small town America owes something to Blue Velvet, and you gotta love Dennis Hopper screaming stuff like “Bullshit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!”.
2. Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Woody Allen turned out a lot of great movies throughout the ’80s, but he managed to end the decade with what might very well be my favorite film of his. Sure it’s bleak, and asks a lot of tough questions, but it’s got all of the things that I love about Woody, and then some.
1. Raging Bull (1980)
Really not the most inspired or original choice, but can you really blame me? Raging Bull is about as masterful as American filmmaking gets, and really no other film of the ’80s even comes close to this masterpiece in my opinion.
And there you go, another decade bites the dust.

Welcome To 80s Week

Well another Fall season is upon us and you know what that means, it’s time for another themed week here at Da Morgue. So for the next week we’ll be taking a look at the decade that gave us Reaganomics, acid washed jeans, “Where’s The Beef?”, and of course that lovable Alf.

I know Da Morgue team really doesn’t have much business looking back at the eighties with any sense of fond nostalgia, since all of us were only alive for about a year or so of the decade. But that hasn’t stopped us from enjoying the best entertainment that the decade produced. Or at least some of us have, Sean’s put me in charge of this week since I guess he’s not much of an ’80s fan. Anyways, I’ll be surprised if these posts don’t end up seeming really lazy and slap-dash, but hey, at least we have something to write about.
Here’s how this week will hopefully turn out:
  • Tomorrow I’ll post my top 10s of movies, music, etc.
  • Tuesday, probably either me or John will do a CAT for a quintessential ’80s album
  • Wednesday, John will post his top tens
  • Thursday, Sean will post his
  • Friday, Nancy will post his lists or at least something ’80s related
  • Saturday, Probably some kind of wrap-up
So here’s to a radical week of mad postage.

The Shadow Broke Her

Mass Effect 2: Lair of the Shadow Broker

After playing through the disappointing Witch Hunt DLC for Dragon Age, I turned my attention to Bioware’s other “reconnect with your lost love” DLC, a little story called The Lair of the Shadow Broker for a certain Mass Effect 2. Offering a chance to reconnect with my Shepard’s beloved Liara and hunt down one the game’s few loose ends was a pretty enticing offer, and the resulting package is easily the best released for Mass Effect 2 yet. In fact, if you are a fan of the franchise, this is probably a necessary purchase.

If you played through the game, you’ll remember that Liara has been hunting the ambiguous Shadow Broker for years, and she became so obsessed she wouldn’t join up with Shepard when Shep asked her to come. Well with the DLC, the Illusive Man will do the hard work for the both of you and hook you up with some key intel. Then Shep and Liara can finally hunt the Shadow Broker down and blah, blah, blah. I don’t really want to give anything away, but there’s enough story here to keep you plenty satisfied for a couple hours.

The DLC, as you’d probably expect, mainly tasks you with shoot outs against a variety of tough foes. But beyond offering some nice firefights, Shadow Broker also throws in a crazy car chase sequence. Complete with funny backseat driving. It’s plenty reminiscent of that seen from Attack of the Clones, sure, but how is that a bad thing? I really enjoyed getting back into some Mass Effect 2 combat, and the story is more than enough to keep you going.

There are some nice unlocks that come after completing the DLC mission too. But I’ll let you discover those on your own too. Unless you completely hated Liara and found the concept of the Shadow Broker totally unappealing, I implore you to check out this add-on. If FPS games can get away with selling maps and guns, an achievement like Mass Effect 2 deserves the support of people buying grade-A quality content like this.

All Mines

Menomena – Mines

Portland’s own Menomena have an interesting approach to making music. Instead of writing a whole song, the band’s three members record loops and then pile it all together, letting each man put his stamp each song. This means everyone has a shot at playing a variety of instruments and singing. This unique collaborative approach means that the band can’t get lazy with a single song, and as a result makes Mines one of the better albums I have heard this year.

When you hear about a band that writes their own software so that they can approach songwriting in an innovative new way, you probably would be safe to assume that the resulting album would be impenetrably indie. And that may have been the case with the band’s first few albums (I have not heard them) but Mines is full of moments that appeal to my more mainstream alternative tastes, and some songs are borderline poppy. I went into the album intimidated, reading about how it fused jazz with outer space and other insane claims only to realize what they really mean is that the album is good. Distinct, and good.

Not to knock the singing, since the lyrics and vocals are quite good, but it is the instrumentation that steals the show on Mines. A track like “Killemall” that evolves from a lone piano into an orchestra of percussion, guitar and more is exactly the kind of song that drives itself straight into my head and keeps coming back when I least expect it. The album sounds so clean and lush that I can’t help but be addicted to it. This is a Hell of a thing.

Favorite Tracks: “Killemall,” “Tithe,” “Bote”