So, I promised during my breakdown/recap of my #UnpopularMusicOpinionHour tirade on Twitter in January that I would revisit this topic. At last, the time has come to encourage you to rediscover the lesser known works of artists that just couldn’t stick around longer.
In Addition, I’d like to hear some thoughts from the field this time. I want to hear what songs you remember from artists OTHER than their one big hit that you think are worth listening again. I may just analyze a few of them for a trilogy. But enough time wasting. Let’s get to the tunes.
Michael Sembello- “Automatic Man”
Here’s a fun fact about Michael Sembello’s smash hit “Manic” from the soundtrack from the movie Flashdance – it was never meant to back a dance film. It was meant for a horror movie; hence, it’s hurried tempo and panicked tone. But, as it turns out, genre films are a key source of inspiration for Sembello. At least, that the idea you get when you hear “Automatic Man.”
“Automatic Man” is such a delightfully upbeat and silly story of a mechanical humanoid built to dance and seduce, that you have to just sit back and enjoy for all of it’s Velveeta-like cheesy glory. With the 80’s nostalgia wave we’re currently under combined with the heavy increase in sales of older albums, I can totally see stuff like this becoming a thing again. And that’s a good thing because, as I’ve said in the past, this world needs more fun.
Deee-Lite – “Power Of Love”
Deee-Lite is one of those dance acts that should have stuck around longer to keep the world grooving for the good of the collective human heart. In fact, their appropriately titled hit “Groove Is In The Heart” is a more than adequate defense of that statement.
While their follow-up is a bit of a departure in style from their big hit (which might be a major factor in its failure to find a pop music audience), “Power Of Love” certainly follows the same spirit as “Groove Is In The Heart.” It’s a happy, easy-to-dance-to jam that combines the visual aesthetics of the 70’s with the dance/house sound of the 80’s and 90’s. Both the song and the video seek to add a splash of color to a grayed-out world.
Also, if I may devolve into hopeless romanticism, I could watch the art and fashion of Deee-Lite frontwoman Lady Miss Kier unfold in front of me all day every day and it would not be a wasted life. It’s okay, Miss Kier; I forgive you for trying to sue Sega for Space Channel 5.
Chumbawamba – “Amnesia”
Going back the Twitter hashtag storm that inspired this revisit, followers may recall my insistence that Chumbawamba, the band responsible for “Tubthumping”, deserved much better treatment – and for good reason. Their career stretched 15 years before AND after the release of their hit and during that time, they constantly experimented with their sound in the name of art. In fact, their pop success was largely an accident that came from wanting to screw around with their record label.
That said, if you’re like me and seem to remember their follow-up “Amnesia” from somewhere, you probably watched a lot of music countdowns on VH1 growing up. I wish I could explain what it is about this song that makes me gravitate to it. It seems to recreate the feeling of drifting hazily and lost in your own head space while still remaining surprisingly fast paced. Most people need to channel the sounds of Pink Floyd to get that effect, but not Chumbawamba.