July 22, 2002
11:06 AM   Subscribe

Like, Omigod! Rhino Records' latest orgy of nostalgia, The '80s Pop Culture Box, arrived in stores this week. The package boasts seven disks, 142 songs, and an impressive array of extras, including liner notes by Jamie Malanowski of Spy magazine, so this may be all that you need to become an instant '80s expert. If the $99.98 sticker price is too steep for you, and you're already an expert, though, you can try their contest for a chance to win a set (and a whole bunch more!) Gag me with a spoon!
posted by yhbc (47 comments total)
Track listing:

Whip It - Devo

Video Killed The Radio Star - The Buggles

Empire Strikes Back (Medley) - Meco

Another One Bites The Dust - Queen

Celebration - Kool & The Gang

The Breaks (Part 1) - Kurtis Blow

Let My Love Open The Door - Pete Townshend

Call Me - Blondie

Keep On Loving You - REO Speedwagon

Turning Japanese - The Vapors

Lost In Love - Air Supply

9 To 5 - Dolly Parton

I Love A Rainy Night - Eddie Rabbitt

Sailing - Christopher Cross

Just The Two Of Us - Grover Washington, Jr. with Bill Withers

Cars - Gary Numan

Ah! Leah! - Donnie Iris

Sweetheart - Franke & The Knockouts

Shake It Up - The Cars

General Hospi-Tale - The Afternoon Delights

The Stroke - Billy Squier

Dancing With Myself - Billy Idol

Working For The Weekend - Loverboy

Jessie's Girl - Rick Springfield

Genius Of Love - Tom Tom Club

Centerfold - J. Geils Band

At This Moment - Billy & The Beaters

Harden My Heart - Quarterflash

Hold On Loosely - .38 Special

Theme From 'Greatest American Hero' (Believe It Or Not) - Joey Scarbury

Take Off - Bob & Doug McKenzie

Super Freak (Part 1) - Rick James

867-5309/Jenny - Tommy Tutone

Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes

Time - Alan Parsons Project

Gloria - Laura Branigan

Maneater - Daryl Hall & John Oates

The Theme From Hill Street Blues - Mike Post featuring Larry Carlton

Valley Girl - Frank Zappa

Da Da Da (I Don't Love You You Don't Love Me Aha Aha Aha) - Trio

You Dropped A Bomb On Me - The Gap Band

Hungry Like The Wolf - Duran Duran

The Look Of Love (Part One) - ABC

Tainted Love - Soft Cell

Rock This Town - Stray Cats

Lies - Thompson Twins

Words - Missing Persons

Don't You Want Me - The Human League

Love Plus One - Haircut One Hundred

Down Under - Men At Work

Steppin' Out - Joe Jackson

I Want Candy - Bow Wow Wow

Come On Eileen - Dexys Midnight Runners

Mickey - Toni Basil

Twilight Zone - Golden Earring

You Should Hear How She Talks About You - Melissa Manchester

Key Largo - Bertie Higgins

Pac-Man Fever - Buckner & Garcia

Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Bonnie Tyler

Africa - Toto

Goodbye To You - Scandal

Puttin' On The Ritz - Taco

Jeopardy - Greg Kihn Band

She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby

Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant

Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) - Eurythmics

Our House - Madness

The Salt In My Tears - Martin Briley

Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper

Talking In Your Sleep - The Romantics

Major Tom (Coming Home) - Peter Schilling

Always Something There To Remind Me - Naked Eyes

In A Big Country - Big Country

One Thing Leads To Another - The Fixx

Der Kommissar - After The Fire

Suddenly Last Summer - The Motels

Karma Chameleon - Culture Club

Let's Go To Bed - The Cure

Too Shy - Kajagoogoo

Maniac - Michael Sembello

Sister Christian - Night Ranger

Cum On Feel The Noize - Quiet Riot

Owner Of A Lonely Heart - Yes

Mr. Roboto - Styx

I'm So Excited - Pointer Sisters

Back On The Chain Gang - The Pretenders

I Want To Know What Love Is - Foreigner

Sunglasses At Night - Corey Hart

Missing You - John Waite

99 Luftballons - Nena

Tenderness - General Public

They Don't Know - Tracey Ullman

Heaven - Bryan Adams

White Horse - Laid Back

Let The Music Play - Shannon

Let's Hear It For The Boy - Deniece Williams

Cool It Now - New Edition

Ghostbusters - Ray Parker Jr.

Footloose - Kenny Loggins

We're Not Gonna Take It - Twisted Sister

Rock You Like A Hurricane - Scorpions

The Glamorous Life - Sheila E.

Obsession - Animotion

Shout - Tears For Fears

Take On Me - A-Ha

Don't You (Forget About Me) - Simple Minds

Walking On Sunshine - Katrina & The Waves

Voices Carry - 'Til Tuesday

Weird Science - Oingo Boingo

You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) - Dead Or Alive

'Miami Vice' Theme - Jan Hammer

Life In A Northern Town - The Dream Academy

Kyrie - Mr. Mister

Every Time You Go Away - Paul Young

We Built This City - Starship

St. Elmo's Fire (Man In Motion) - John Parr

Addicted To Love - Robert Palmer

Axel F - Harold Faltermeyer

Rhythm Of The Night - DeBarge

You Look Marvelous - Billy Crystal

Heartbeat - Don Johnson

Everybody Have Fun Tonight - Wang Chung

Venus - Bananarama

Walk Like An Egyptian - Bangles

Paranoimia - The Art Of Noise with Max Headroom

If You Leave - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Keep Your Hands To Yourself - Georgia Satellites

What You Need - INXS

Walk This Way - Run-D.M.C.

Rumors - Timex Social Club

Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House

Holding Back The Years - Simply Red

I'll Be Loving You (Forever) - New Kids On The Block

Tuff Enuff - The Fabulous Thunderbirds

Since You've Been Gone - The Outfield

Only In My Dreams - Debbie Gibson

Never Gonna Give You Up - Rick Astley

La Bamba - Los Lobos

Wild, Wild West - The Escape Club

Don't Worry Be Happy - Bobby McFerrin

Right Here Waiting - Richard Marx

Roam - The B-52's

Yay! I've been waiting for a collection that has "In a Big Country" and "Don't Worry Be Happy" on one disc!
posted by ColdChef at 11:16 AM on July 22, 2002

Any collection that starts with Devo makes me want to run for my life.

Saving grace: "Take Off," by Bob and Doug McKenzie.
posted by adampsyche at 11:18 AM on July 22, 2002

Uh-oh, you guys are not going to like my swap CDs, then ...
posted by yhbc at 11:21 AM on July 22, 2002

Best of song of the 80s: "They Don't Know," by Tracy Ullman. Ah, that explosive little "baby" after the guitar break, that last chorus with background-singing Kirsty MacColl holding the high note...
posted by Faze at 11:24 AM on July 22, 2002

Close your eyes for a moment. Picture yourself listening to this collection. Your cd player is on "random."

Imagine the jump between I'll Be Loving You (Forever) - New Kids On The Block to You Look Marvelous - Billy Crystal and then to We Built This City - Starship. I have a feeling that the police are going to find many copies of this collection at crime scenes.
posted by ColdChef at 11:26 AM on July 22, 2002

There are some good tunes in there among the overplayed or simply awful. But I always seem to end up liking the the "other song" by most of these bands -- you know, the one that wasn't the massive hit?

So I'll take "World Where You Live" over "Don't Dream It's Over" by Crowded House, "It's Different For Girls" over "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson, and so on.

Also: yes, "They Don't Know" is simply divine. Both the Tracey Ullman and Kirsty MacColl versions.
posted by nstop at 11:32 AM on July 22, 2002

Believe it or not, I'm walking on air.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 11:37 AM on July 22, 2002

There's a picture in my head from high school days that goes with every damn one of those songs. I spent all of high school and college in the '80s (graduated high school in '85, started in '81; graduated college in '89) and it was the soundtrack for those days.

I'll always remember the time someone in my class (Catholic all-girls' high school) tried to get permission to play "Angel is a Centerfold" by J. Geils at a school Mass, by pretending the name of the song was just "Angel." The nuns were too wise for her, I suspect, which is too bad--I envision a scene like in the Simpsons where the old lady organist plays "Inna Gadda Davida" and the confused congregation all sings along.
posted by GaelFC at 11:45 AM on July 22, 2002

nstop, there's a series out there that are hard to find (at least here), they're imports from Germany called "Pop & Wave" and they are 2CD sets. There's at least two, I had v1 and it got ripped off and my husband searched high and low until he found another one but it was v2. They say both Columbia Records and Sony Entertainment on them, and they are laden with "the other song" aside from say, two exceptions out of 36 tracks. I point this out because this was why I wanted them in the first place. (:

I dig Rhino, they did the Hang The DJ series I have of 'modern rock' hits from 86, 87, & 88. They seem to get it right. Not that I ever need to hear another Richard Marx song again, but aside from that, this looks like a good set. Now if I could only get them to let me enter the contest and stop telling me to fill out the entire form...

What's a swap cd?
posted by verso at 11:46 AM on July 22, 2002

Swap CDs - Part One; Part Two.
posted by yhbc at 11:54 AM on July 22, 2002

I'll always remember the time someone in my class (Catholic all-girls' high school) tried to get permission to play "Angel is a Centerfold" by J. Geils at a school Mass, by pretending the name of the song was just "Angel."

My GF went to a Catholic Girls School and the jukebox in her cafeteria had "You Shook Me All Night Long" on it. They tried to convince the nuns it was a song about "dancing" all night. Nuns ain't that stupid. They allowed it to be played only at night dances, not during lunch. Somehow, that made it acceptable.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to find a way to get all those AC/DC dancing schoolgirls out of my head.
posted by ColdChef at 11:59 AM on July 22, 2002

verso - this the same compilations??
posted by niteHawk at 12:08 PM on July 22, 2002

no smiths?
posted by panopticon at 12:10 PM on July 22, 2002

Your girlfriend's all-girls high school had a jukebox on the cafeteria? How cool is that? Our Catholic girls' school cafeteria barely had anything--not even a kitchen. We all ate out of vending machines, which made us the envy of kids at other high schools in the area and probably set us all on a path towards a lifetime of junk food junkiness.

One of the main "feeder" grade schools for my high school was Highland Catholic (St. Paul, MN). I remember one girl wearing her grade school shirt to gym and peeling off the 'L," so it read, with perfect spacing, "HIGH AND CATHOLIC."

The nuns? Not amused.
posted by GaelFC at 12:11 PM on July 22, 2002

Cameo - "Word Up." Wish it was there. Otherwise, I'm off to buy it...
posted by ltracey at 12:17 PM on July 22, 2002

Jeez, I missed so many of these--and it seems like only yesterday. *sigh* And Der Kommisar ...by After The Fire? Oh, be still my heart.
posted by y2karl at 12:28 PM on July 22, 2002

... hmm, no Prince either. Or Madonna. Or Springsteen. But at least they got Kajagoogoo. Thank god.
posted by whatnot at 12:29 PM on July 22, 2002

"Whip It." Sigh. Will that song ever be allowed to fade away gracefully?

I was listening to the college station the other day, and they played "I Saw My Baby Getting Sloppy" off "Are We Not Men? We Are Devo." Now, that was some groundbreaking punk. If Devo hadn't done "Whip It," they'd be a perennial on every Pitchfork critic's list of "criminally underrated bands."
posted by transona5 at 12:38 PM on July 22, 2002

no Prince either. Or Madonna. Or Springsteen.
I suspect that by the time a song appears on a compliation like this, the artist has long been out of the profit picture, and the rights have devolved to one or another organized crime entity -- who will milk it for eternity (see "What I Like About You", "Walking on Sunshine", etc., which are on every compliation in the world). Mega-stars like Prince, Madonna or Springsteen have the clout to hang on to a piece of the action, and keep their songs out of these dumping ground anthologies.
posted by Faze at 12:48 PM on July 22, 2002

Where's Rock the Casbah?
posted by Fenriss at 12:49 PM on July 22, 2002

... no Yaz, no Howard Jones, no Asia.
posted by whatnot at 12:56 PM on July 22, 2002

Yeah. I tried filling out the form for that contest, but it kept telling me that I needed to fill out the whole thing before it would submit. Presumably, my not ticking the "I'd like to receive email" box made my entry invalid. Meh, I'm a child of the 80's, but that doesn't mean I'd like to receive 80's-themed spam, or 80 pieces of spam for that matter.
posted by digital_insomnia at 1:01 PM on July 22, 2002

:: looking grumpy :: "Our House," instead of "One Step Beyond." "Let's Go to Bed" instead of "Charlotte Sometimes." "Let My Love Open the Door" instead of "Split Skirt." "Words" instead of "Mental Hopscotch." And "Valley Girl" instead of ALMOST ANYTHING ELSE by Zappa.

Not even going to get into their choices for Oingo Boingo, Joe Jackson, and the utter lack of 80's ska (and no, the Madness and General Public tracks DO NOT COUNT...)

If they were going to put "Obsession" on there, how 'bout the original by Holly Beth Vincent and Michael DesBarres?!

I applaud them for trying to do it, but I'm pretty disappointed by their choices. Waaaaa!
posted by metrocake at 1:41 PM on July 22, 2002

I love Rhino but they keep repackaging the same songs. They did the "New Wave Hits of the 80's" series and then repackaged them in the "Modern Rock" series. They have done this with Soul music, and 70's music too. This was great when much of the material wasn't available on CD. Since cd's came out in the 80's I have most of the songs I want from this collection already on CD. I'll pass.

And yes their form didn't work for me either and I already subscribe to their list. They should at least give the option to say that you already subscribe.
posted by chainring at 2:01 PM on July 22, 2002

I was having the same problems with the form so I checked the subscribe box and used a different e-mail address, that I don't check very often.

It still didn't work.
posted by nath at 2:15 PM on July 22, 2002

Quick scan through titles.... sigh of relief. Not a single band that I was actually listening to in the Eighties. Not that I couldn't recite the lyrics of 99% of the songs listed there, all of which have taken up residence in my brain without my permission and are now impossible to dislodge.

But no Gang of Four, Au Pairs, Crass or Three Teens Kill Four. On the other hand, come to think of it, where's The Cult (She Sells Sanctuary)? And Flock of Seagulls--the band that defined bad hair for the ages? And why not Enola Gay as the representative Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark track? (Hanging on with fingernails to rapidly receding sense of hipness).
posted by jokeefe at 2:37 PM on July 22, 2002

:: still going! :: New Order? Echo and the Bunnymen? Killing Joke? X?!
posted by metrocake at 2:44 PM on July 22, 2002

[prints list for kaazalite search]
posted by grum@work at 2:46 PM on July 22, 2002

Exactly Grum... Who'd honestly spend money on such a widely disseminated chunk of music? I hardly doubt a book would make it all worth it.
posted by KnitWit at 2:52 PM on July 22, 2002

The Clash, Talking Heads, Laurie Anderson, Peter Gabriel, King Crimson's Discipline....

posted by jokeefe at 2:53 PM on July 22, 2002

Cocteau Twins, Siouxsie and the Banshees, How Soon is Now.

Okay, I'll stop now. (Digging out turntable).
posted by jokeefe at 2:58 PM on July 22, 2002

metrocake, why would they include anything by X when they'd much rather sell you the whole X catalog (note the other listings in the "you might also enjoy" box).

A lot of you are missing the point - these songs were not chosen and put together to be the best musical moments of the decade - as we've all pointed out, they're not. But they are all bits and pieces of pop culture - the stuff that you not only knew about and heard, but couldn't get away from. Also, as was pointed out above, any of the big acts that still control their catalog wouldn't give them the right to use any of their songs anyway - so no Clash, U2, Prince, any number of others.
posted by yhbc at 2:59 PM on July 22, 2002

the utter lack of 80's ska

Yeah, I remember when ska was all the rage in the '80s. Not.
posted by kindall at 3:03 PM on July 22, 2002

What, no Psychic TV?
posted by davebush at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2002

I couldn't enter the contest, either. Has anyone successfully completed the form? Maybe it rejects you if you have an answer wrong?
posted by Miss Beth at 3:57 PM on July 22, 2002

Wot, no Frankie Goes To Hollywood?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 5:49 PM on July 22, 2002

I tried several times to enter (and I know I had the answers correct), clicking both the yes and no options for the newsletter, and it didn't work. Then I clicked on the "text-only" newsletter option, and it worked fine.
posted by sassone at 6:55 PM on July 22, 2002

I hadn't done it before, but I just entered with no problem. You get a different "Thanks for Entering!" screen. I also left the newsletter option blank, and it took it anyway. Dunno.
posted by yhbc at 6:58 PM on July 22, 2002

And what about "88 Lies About 44 Women"?
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:03 PM on July 22, 2002

Kindall -- don't remember much, do ya? :)
posted by metrocake at 5:34 AM on July 23, 2002

holding back the years :) simply red? YES!
posted by kliuless at 6:02 AM on July 23, 2002

Many of you don't realize that this box is intended for a boring mainstream American audience. Au Pairs were never released in America. Killing Joke were never top 40. King Crimson, Cocteau Twins, Laurie Anderson? They deserve a place in another box. They don't belong in a box of mostly schlock.

Maybe when they do an obscure 80's box (of preferably non-U.S. artists) we'll see a mix of better music and not the top American stuff that's in this collection. btw - I live in the U.S.
posted by chainring at 6:16 AM on July 23, 2002

But Cheap Trick isn't on there, either...and they're not obscure...
posted by metrocake at 8:30 AM on July 23, 2002

Track listing + kazaa = ahh.

well, that was nice. i'm always looking for a good playlist to whip up. i'm suffering from "music burn" lately. a wealth of music at my fingertips, and i always end up downloading stuff i don't like. anyone else get that?
posted by fnord_prefect at 9:33 AM on July 23, 2002

Many of you don't realize that this box is intended for a boring mainstream American audience.

Oh, we know. This was just a chance to wallow in nostalgia by dredging up the names of bands and of music long gone by... so one more time: The Raincoats and The English Beat--Save it for Later, one of the most perfect pop songs ever written.
posted by jokeefe at 12:35 PM on July 23, 2002

Here's what I'd keep:

Video Killed The Radio Star - The Buggles
Cars - Gary Numan
Ah! Leah! - Donnie Iris
Words - Missing Persons
She Blinded Me With Science - Thomas Dolby
Electric Avenue - Eddy Grant
Voices Carry - 'Til Tuesday
If You Leave - OMD
Roam - The B-52's

'83 thru '88 was an era of pop music I never want to relive again.

My '80's additions:

Never say never - Romeo Void
The One Thing - INXS
Power and the Passion - Midnight Oil
How Soon is Now - Smiths
Blue Monday - New Order
Head Like a Hole - Nine Inch Nails
Sanctuary - Cult
Christine - Siouxsie and the Banshees
Motorcrash - Sugarcubes
Mandinka - Sinead O'Connor
Move out - Yaz
(Reader's choice) - Depeche Mode

"Moving in Stereo" is technically 1978, but I think most of us (guys, anyway) remember it from "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" (1982)
posted by kurumi at 12:37 PM on July 23, 2002

While Prince is missing, Rhino did seem to somehow get their hands on Sheila E.'s "The Glamorous Life," which was Prince-written, Prince-produced, Prince-performed (except for vocals and percussion), and, I would have thought, Prince-controlled. Apparently there are some gaps in his hegemony over his back catalogue. If so, a track by the Time (but not "Jungle Love") would also have been welcome.
posted by macrone at 4:50 PM on July 23, 2002

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