Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'll Be Seeing You/'80s Pop



James Gray’s We Own the Night begins movingly with a montage of black-and-white still photographs (archival? staged?) that show New York City cops at work. Accompanying these images is the melody line, played on trumpet, of “I’ll Be Seeing You” featuring Jackie Gleason’s orchestra. It’s one of the many songs written for and sung mostly by women during WW II.

“I’ll Be Seeing You” [mp3], here in a duet by Iggy Pop and Françoise Hardy, is a familiar chestnut in the jazz repertory. Rosemary Clooney made a version of it on her WW II ‘concept record,’ For The Duration (1991), that collects songs sung from the point of view of the ‘waiting woman.’ Every time we say goodbye/ I die a little. For all we know/we may never meet again. These foolish things/remind me of you. No love, no nothin’/till my baby comes home. I’ll be seeing you/in all the old familiar places.

We Own the Night itself is also about the women (mainly Eva Mendes’ Amada, but also Marat’s wife) pushed to the margins, left behind, by men at war. (See Noel Vera’s post on the film for more.)


* * *

Immediately following that opening B&W montage, we cut to the exterior of an NYC club called “El Caribe,” scored to Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Which reminds me that the Debbie Harry catalog contains at least two terrific songs with Caribbean roots: the well-known “The Tide is High” [mp3] (on The Best of Blondie) and the much lesser-known but equally good “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” [mp3] (on her solo Def, Dumb and Blonde from 1989).

The film also includes one of the earliest rap/singing hybrids, Blondie’s “Rapture,” although my favorite example of this genre—actually, my single favorite pop song of the 1980’s—is Chaka Khan’s “I Feel For You” [mp3], on the album of the same name (1984). It was written and recorded by Prince on his self-titled record in 1979, and features both Stevie Wonder on harmonica and also Melle Mel of Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five. There are so many high points on this recording: the stuttering spoken-word opening by Mel; the presence of both synth bass and bass guitar, which creates a nice textural tension; the killer hook (at 1:22 and 1:30, then repeated) of a descending four-note figure on ‘slapped’ bass; and Stevie's harmonica solo. The late, great Arif Mardin arranged and produced.


* * *

A parlor game, if you feel like it: your single favorite (no ties or multiples!) pop song of the 1980’s?


* * *

Old-school hip-hop legend Kool Mo Dee’s entertaining, unclassifiable book, “There’s a God on the Mic” (2003), critically evaluates MC’s from hip-hop history. (He also evaluates himself!) Each MC gets an essay, a lyric excerpt, and a table of scores based on the following criteria: originality, concepts, versatility, vocabulary, substance, flow, flavor, freestyle, vocal presence, live performance, poetic value, body of work, industry impact, social impact, longevity, lyrics, battle skills. He awards values on a 100-point scale and chalks up totals to come up with a ranking of the top 50 MC’s.

Here’s his list of the top 15 MC’s of all time: (1) Melle Mel (2) Rakim (3) KRS-One (4) Big Daddy Kane (5) Kool Mo Dee (!) (6) Grandmaster Caz (7) LL Cool J (8) Chuck D (9) Notorious B.I.G. (10) Lauryn Hill (11) Nas (12) Queen Latifah (13) Tupac (14) Kool G Rap (15) Jay Z.


* * *

Some reading. Paul Arthur in Cineaste (winter 2006) on Brakhage and the translation from celluloid to TV screen.

Discovering what looks good on a TV screen is a trial-and-error process. Some films simply demand a larger-than-life scale and thus shrink into triviality; others possess such delicate coloration or iconographic intricacy that they barely register in electronic formats. Brakhage’s five-part Dog Star Man (1961-64) is among his best-known films and the only feature-length text selected for inclusion [on the Brakhage Criterion DVD]. Regrettably, neither its dense layers of superimposition nor its jolting combinations of macro- and micro-spaces are particularly receptive to digital translation. Morever, the central figure of an ax-wielding climber, an autobiographical projection of Brakhage himself, looked rather less than heroic on my living-room appliance. On the other hand, subtle gradations of color among several chosen film stocks made the technological leap in The Act of Seeing with One’s Own Eyes (1971), part of a visual ensemble transforming grisly autopsy procedures into a lambent suite of human meat shapes and textures. By the late Eighties, Brakhage had segued almost completely from photographic depiction to brief bursts of rhythmic abstraction painted directly onto film stock. Possibly due to the fact that light on a television screen glows from behind the image, as in stained-glass windows, or due to the nature of pixels versus film grain, Brakhage’s vibrant celluloid paintings tend to retain their original vividness.


* * *

From Adrian Martin’s book Phantasms, a simple, strong, lucid definition of a critic: “[A]s Daney once remarked, critics should be those who either know something or love something — or, even better, know why they love something, and then know how to share that special knowledge with the public.”

63 Comments:

Blogger Brian said...

Happy to see/hear a music post, girish!

I'll take your challenge. Lots of contenders, but I think I'm settled on my answer (for now anyway): Kraftwerk's Tour de France.

Honestly, though, I think I've gotten too old or something to appreciate most pop music that isn't wrapped up in some kind of nostalgia for my younger days. I loved hearing I Feel For You and to a lesser extent the Tide is High again, but that's probably because they're already in my bloodstream. Hearing I'll Never Fall in Love Again for the first time ever, probably, it struck me as nothing more than a pale copy of the earlier Blondie song with banal lyrics. Maybe all Blondie songs have banal lyrics; I've never really thought much about them before. But I still enjoy hearing all the songs from Best of Blondie that I used to like. As long as it's not too often.

November 28, 2007 4:30 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Brian, I'm not sure I know "Tour de France"! I'll have to search for it on iTunes. I think I'm only familiar with Kraftwerk's 70s records.

I remember Blondie and Chaka Khan from my younger days but only vaguely and indistinctly. This is music that has had a large (and continuous) impact on me in the last 5-10 years. Chaka Khan's best-of compilation (Epiphany, 1996) is worth its weight in gold. I went back and picked up a half-dozen solo albums by her but the comp is still the best record in her catalog.

I'm actually a big fan of Blondie. Their Parallel Lines (1978) strikes me as a masterpiece, one of the high points of 70s popular music. (Last night, via Walter, I discovered Carrie "Sleater-Kinney" Brownstein's blog; she mentions the record.)

Thanks for humoring me by taking up the challenge, Brian!

November 28, 2007 7:16 AM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Thanks for quoting me, Girish! I always enjoy your entries on music. Your mention (in the same breath) of the Iggy/Hardy track and Debbie Harry put me in mind of the excellent JAZZ AT ST-GERMAIN CD, where Harry sings a wonderful version of Juliette Greco's "Il n'y a plus d'apres" with Jazz Passengers, and there's also a tremendous rendition of Boris Vian's "Les Joyeux bouchers" by Catherine Ringer and the Renegade Brass Band - Ringer of Les Rita Mitsuko, as immortalised by Godard in the '80s! Your discussion of Chaka Khan's great, great track reminded me of filmmaker-critic Philip Brophy's analysis of it back in the 80s: if you listen closely, you will hear that the crowning moment of the production is when, in place of an expected cymbal crash, there is the sound of a 'roaring crowd'. Incredible! My favourite track of the 80s is probably something like "Absolute" by Scritti Politti - not just nostalgia, because Green returned last year with a fantastic new album!

November 28, 2007 7:29 AM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

"Some Journey" by Suzanne Vega.

November 28, 2007 7:57 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Adrian, I'm glad to know about the Jazz at St. Germain CD. It sounds great. I'm also a huge Scritti Politti fan, and adore Cupid & Psyche 85 and White Bread Black Beer. (In addition to "Absolute", also "Perfect Way," "Small Talk," "The Word Girl," "Wood Beez (Pray Like Aretha Franklin)" etc.)

Two more interconnections: Iggy and Debbie do a great cover of "Well Did You Evah?" (taking over from Frank and Bing in Charles Walters' High Society) on the invaluable Cole Porter tribute record Red, Hot & Blue (1990). And Chaka Khan has recorded a wonderful cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere" arranged and played by David Gamson of Scritti Politti.

And honestly, I hope Phantasms finds a large global audience someday; this is my second time reading it within a year, and it's a 'hidden' classic (at least 'hidden' to many of us in North America). Perhaps the possibilities of electronic publishing on the Web will help change that one day.

November 28, 2007 8:05 AM  
Blogger Ed Howard said...

That quote from Phantasms had me all ready to go make an Amazon order and add it to my reading pile, and lo and behold it's OOP and going for $90. That happens to me way too often. Damn.

November 28, 2007 9:55 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Ed, I requested the book through Inter-library loan; I think the copy they sent me was from the Vassar library. But I'm sure you can do the same through a public or college/univ. library in your town.

November 28, 2007 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Filmbrain said...

I saw We Own the Night with the Cinetrix when she was in town, and both of us were a bit confused about the music -- the film is set in the late 80s, yet all of the songs are circa 1979-83.

Some have suggested that it's due to the fact that the film is set in Brooklyn, which, to be fair, was a bit behind (when compared to Manhattan), but not that many years. Certainly a club of that size would have been playing Madonna, Prince, etc.

As for 80s music -- well, those were my oh-so-important teen years, and I'd be hard pressed to choose a single favorite song. But in the interest of your parlor game, I'll go with Heaven 17's Let Me Go.

November 28, 2007 10:21 AM  
Blogger dave said...

Scandal's 'Goodbye to You' is unbeatable.

Tupac at 13? no Eminem?
ummm...

Yes, that is a spectacular quote from Adrian's book, and one that really gets to the heart of the matter.

I've been thinking a lot about how certain 'experimental' film images would be possible on a tv... the 3:2 pulldown is likely to destroy the rhythms of flickr films, Brakhage, etc, etc. Perhaps the solution is to speed them up, leaving each frame intact but changing the runtime? for some films it might be closer to the intended viewing experience, even as perception of individual elements becomes more difficult.

Maybe what's needed is a camera that shoots at 24x25x30 frames per second, allowing for different frames to be selected for tv broadcast, european theatrical and north american theatrical releases. This still doesn't solve the problem for frame-specific filmmakers, however. then there's the problem of space... film mags would be the size of elephants, and current hard drives would fill up before the slate! perhaps this is a solution for motion pictures 100 years from now, though such apparati would probably de-democratize filmmaking all over again...

November 28, 2007 3:36 PM  
Blogger bradluen said...

Today it's New Order's "Temptation". Tomorrow it'll be a different New Order song.

And while we're here, my MCs list (now 70% cred-free): 1. Chuck D 2. Eminem 3. Ghost 4. Buck 65 5. Andre 3000 6. Boots Riley 7. Missy 8. Posdnuos 9. LL Cool J 10. Lyrics Born.

November 28, 2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger jmac said...

"Kiss" by Prince. This song is from 1986?!

:)

November 28, 2007 10:27 PM  
Anonymous Anuj said...

"Dancing With Myself" by Billy Idol

November 28, 2007 10:46 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks for playing along, y'all.

Filmbrain -- You've probably seen this NYT piece on James Gray from a couple of months back, but he mentions the music issue in it.

Also, I read that you (meaning, Benten) are releasing Aaron Katz's Dance Party USA on DVD; it's on Amy Taubin's year-end top 10 in the new Artforum.

Brad -- Great MC roll you have there. For me personally, the big omission on Kool's list was Missy.

Dave -- That's some good stuff to munch on...

Got the new issue of Artforum in the mail today. Here are a couple of the year-end top 10 lists:

James Quandt:
These Encounters of Theirs (Straub/Huillet); Pour vos beaux yeux (Henri Storck, 1929); 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days (Mungiu); Useless (Jia); Tarahi V (Haris Epaminonda); La Morte Rouge (Erice); Fengming, A Chinese Memoir (Wang Bing); Les Amours d'Astree et de Celadon (Rohmer); Alexandra (Sokurov); At Sea (Hutton).

Amy Taubin:
Zodiac; Paranoid Park; Eastern Promises; Razzle Dazzle: The Lost World (Ken Jacobs); No End in Sight (Charles Ferguson); Terror's Advocate (Barbet Schroeder); Dance Party USA; Michael Clayton; Southland Tales; Blade Runner & Killer of Sheep.

November 28, 2007 11:33 PM  
Anonymous jim emerson said...

Song: "Can't Hardly Wait" by The Replacements (1987). It's at or near the top of my "I Cannot Be Miserable During This Song" list.

Adrian: I didn't listen to Scritti Politti in the '80s and don't remember anything about it except the name. Imagine my surprise and delight when a friend played "White Bread Black Beer" for me last year. What a record!

November 28, 2007 11:57 PM  
Anonymous Jim Flannery said...

Gang of Four's "To Hell with Poverty." Because lyrics like "In this land/right now/some are insane/and they're in charge" don't go out of date. Unfortunately.

November 29, 2007 1:54 AM  
Anonymous Filmbrain said...

Girish -- I hadn't seen that Times article, thanks! Still, I find his explanation a bit dodgy.

And thanks for passing on the fantastic news about Taubin & Artforum! I'll be sure to include this in our promotional materials.

Did you see Taubin's Film Comment article on mumblecore. I was thrilled that she referred to Dance Party, USA as being in her "pantheon of coming of age films." I couldn't agree more. (And that's not just because I'm releasing it!)

November 29, 2007 2:16 AM  
Blogger Ryland Walker Knight said...

"Wanna Be Startin Somethin" by Michael.

I sure was wee in the 1980s but my love of this song is rooted in memory, not retrospective delight.

November 29, 2007 2:47 AM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Spooky coincidence: on the very day we are talking about '80s pop greats and I mention Catherine Ringer of Les Rita Mitsuko, the other half of that group, Fred Chichin, dies of cancer at age 53. Both of them are seen at length in Godard's SOIGNE TA DROITE (1987) - Jacques Aumont once wrote that you really see the look of love on screen when Fred gazes at a singing Catherine. And Fred's dad apparently started a film magazine back in the '60s.

November 29, 2007 2:53 AM  
Blogger girish said...

I'd love to take a crash course in 80s French pop; what little I've heard has captured my ear. e.g. Jane Birkin's "Quoi" and the ingenious use Resnais and Jaoui/Bacri made of it in On connait la chanson.

November 29, 2007 7:41 AM  
Blogger weepingsam said...

I thought I posted this last night - but my vote for One Pop Song, 1980s, is George Michael's "Father Figure"...

November 29, 2007 7:51 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

--My favorite pop song of 1980s is O SUPERMAN (1981) by Laurie Anderson. (I’m not sure if it should be called a pop song or not, but at least it reached number two on the pop chart of UK.)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hhm0NHhCBg

I also like its new version--OH SUPERMAN (2005) by M.A.N.D.Y. vs. Booka Shade featuring Laurie Anderson
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fQ5vOikvwQ

--Talking about Chaka Khan, I love her scene the most in the documentary STANDING IN THE SHADOW OF MOTOWN (2002, Paul Justman).

--My most favorite Deborah Harry’s song is END OF THE RUN in the album DEF, DUMB AND BLONDE (1989). I also like her in the TV series WISEGUY (1987-1990), but she appeared late in the series.

--If I don’t remember it wrongly, there’s scene featuring a music video of Les Rita Mitsouko in THE WITNESSESS (2007, Andre Techine), which successfully captures the atmosphere of the 1980s.

--My favorite 1980s French songs include SAGE (COMME UNE IMAGE) (1980) by LIO.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtlq3lTHa3A

November 29, 2007 10:32 AM  
Blogger girish said...

CelineJulie, I enjoyed your 1980s pop music post; thanks for including all those youtube links.

November 29, 2007 12:18 PM  
Blogger The Shamus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

November 29, 2007 5:38 PM  
Blogger The Shamus said...

Had to scratch that previous one. It's gotta be: "Don't Dream It's Over," Crowded House. A song that is pretty much perfect in every way.

November 29, 2007 5:54 PM  
Blogger acquarello said...

My pick would be The Blue Nile's Stay. (although the music video's pretty dated, the song isn't).

I'd say the coolest film-related 80s video though would have to go New Order's Blue Monday, with animation by none other than Robert Breer, who gets extra props for having taught at Cooper Union (my alma mater). ;)

November 29, 2007 8:28 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

What, no love for Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'Relax?'

November 29, 2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Thanks for the mention too, girish...

November 29, 2007 11:41 PM  
Blogger Ed Howard said...

I'm not much of a pop guy, let alone 80s pop, but New Order really does it for me for some reason. I'd vacillate between picking "Temptation" or "True Faith" as my favorite pop song of the 80s. I think it's gotta be "Temptation." The perfect blend of bouncy and melancholy.

November 30, 2007 12:02 AM  
Blogger celinejulie said...

Thanks for the link, Girish.

I'm not sure about the exact title of the Booka Shade's song I mention. Sometimes it is mentioned as OH SUPAMAN.

I love New Order. But my most favorite song of them is "1963".

November 30, 2007 3:57 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Well, this post has inpired more youtubing than I've done in quite a while. Not having grown up with MTV or cable, I missed all this. Though I don't know if O Superman or To Hell With Poverty (which were both a bit before my time anyway) were broadcast there anyway.

But I definitely never knew that Robert Breer had made a New Order video, acquarello. Thanks for the tip! I also didn't know that Katheryn Bigelow had directed Touched By the Hand of God as a hair-metal parody! I don't think I could pick one favorite New Order song, which is probably why I chose Kraftwerk instead for this parlor game instead.

November 30, 2007 5:04 AM  
Blogger acquarello said...

Heheh, I grew up pre-cable and MTV too, so most of my music video exposure came from U68 during the 80s which broadcasted in the New York metropolitan area. It was a precursor to MTV with its 24 hour music channel format. They also used to broadcast the campy Uncle Floyd Show, which featured some pretty cool bands like Squeeze and The Smithereens. Ah, good times! :)

November 30, 2007 8:28 AM  
Blogger Daniel said...

I don't know about favorite song from the 80s, but I do hold a special love for Audio Two's TOP BILLIN: http://youtube.com/watch?v=aY4NATTrl84&feature=related

November 30, 2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger craig keller. said...

The passing of Fred Chichin is sad news indeed. (What exactly does a "dazzling cancer" connote, btw? Three French newspapers yesterday all used this term...)

Two classic Rita Mitsouko-related clips:

-The video for their awesome breakthrough single "Marcia baïla".

-Catherine Ringer squares off against Gainsbourg on a French chat show (c. 1986/87) over her time making porn films ("the modern adventure").

craig.

November 30, 2007 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Andy H. said...

The Church - "Under the Milky Way"

November 30, 2007 1:33 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

You asked for it, evoking my youth. As a caveat, I have to say that the 1980s was probably the last decade that I even paid attention to the radio and its pop hits. My true love at the time was ECM jazz.

1980

Without question the song of the year for me was Irene Cara's "Fame", which I believe also won the Oscar that year. "Fame" and "Out There On My Own" heralded Cara as a soulful new talent, though she sadly evaporated after a few studio albums. Other notable entries that I listened to on my Walkman were: Olivia Newton-John's "Magic"; Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust"; Kool & the Gang's "Celebration"; Pat Benetar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"; Christopher Cross and "Ride Like the Wind"; and the burgeoning promise of Michael Jackson's "Rock With You."

1981

Rick Springfield's "Jessi's Girl." A sparse year for me.

1982

Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes crooning that love lifts us "Up Where We Belong" from An Officer and A Gentleman was the earworm of the year. Two of our generation's most gifted vocalists. Cocker's recent cameo on Across the Universe was that film's best moment. And Jennifer's albums, though never very successful commercially, remain lapidary favorites. Following closely behind "Up Where We Belong" is Men at Work asking "Who Can It Be Now?" with its squawking sax. And wasn't this the year of Michael Jackson's "Thriller"? To this day I swear that M. Night Shyamalan looks like Michael Jackson in that Landis video. I'm a bitch, I know. Though speaking of Michael Jackson, I'd have to say he's the king of the '80s—no?—with Thriller and Bad.

1983

Some killer songs that year. The Eurythmics singing "Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)", firmly secured Annie Lennox as one of the voices of our generation. And then there was that catchy flash-in-the-pan "Come On Eileen" by Dexy's Midnight Runners. Makes me want to put on a skirt and dance a jig, y'all. Of course, I'm always looking for excuses.

1984

Only two words for 1984. Tina Turner. A friend of mine dragged me kicking and screaming to The Boarding Room, a small club in San Francisco at the time, where we secured a front table, mid-stage, and watched Tina launch her Private Dancer tour. With her crotch right in my face, I almost turned hetero. Man, it was a temptation. Less than a half year later when she returned to the Bay Area she was playing the Cow Palace. Other notable divas of the year: Cyndi Lauper just wanting to have fun and a young upstart Madonna singing "Like A Virgin" (which always reminds me of that comment Bette Midler made that year when she said that the closest Madonna came to being a virgin was giving birth in a stable).

1985

Tears for Fears reminded us that—whether we want to admit it or not—"Everybody Wants to Rule the World." Welcome to my world. This was the year that MTV really grabbed me by the nape of the neck, especially with A-Ha's animated wonder "Take On Me." Then, of course, there was Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings."

1986

I got a little bored with the '80s right around this point when I realized that all my dreams of the '70s had been co-opted and commodified. I kind of stopped listening to the radio and took refuge in oldie goldies.

1987

Suzanne Vega's "Luka" kept looping through my mind until I thought I was going to have to commit myself to a child abuse center.

1988

I first heard Tracey Chapman's "Fast Car" late at night on an MTV video and—like the rest of the world—recognized a fresh new talent. So did the Grammys. Didn't she win just about every damn award there was? Probably one of the most boring Grammys broadcast ever, except for that year Phil Collins won everything. There should be some law about fair distribution.

1989

Fine Young Cannibals "She Drives Me Crazy" is still one of my favorite songs of all time. It gave me hopes for the '90s, even as the AIDS pandemic was devastating my community, achieving its singular fire for me in the decade to come. But that's a whole separate sad entry, underscoring perhaps that the '80s really were the Me Decade just before the fall.

Oh, and lest I forget, I can make you cry singing "I'll Be Seeing You." It's one of my favorite ballads. I'm heavily influenced by Billie's version.

November 30, 2007 1:41 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Also, I'm heavily steeped in 80s French pop, if you'd like a CD, Girish.

November 30, 2007 1:49 PM  
Blogger Gareth said...

craig --

A "cancer fulgurant" is one that evolves at exceptional speed (he was diagnosed two months ago).

November 30, 2007 4:01 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Speaking of Up Where We Belong, I almost literally ran into that song's co-writer, Buffy St. Marie, when she was at the Denver Film Festival almost twenty years ago. I refrained from asking about the apparent hypocrisy of writing a song for An Officer and a Gentleman after launching a career with the anti-war song, Universal Soldier.

A film inspired song that periodically rattles in my memory is In a Lonely Place by The Smithereens with Suzanne Vega.

November 30, 2007 8:37 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

I had no idea Buffy was co-author on that song!! You can't really blame her. Like I was saying, by the mid-80s all our early ideals were being coopted and commodified.

November 30, 2007 9:52 PM  
Blogger Dan Sallitt said...

Not my favorite 80s song, but maybe my favorite 80s pop song if you define pop narrowly: Roxette's "The Look."

Lio is a Catherine Breillat actress: she stars in Sale comme une ange and makes an appearance, along with nearly every other living Breillat female lead, in Une vieille maitresse.

December 01, 2007 2:03 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

So I'm not the only one that liked Tracy Chapman? What's she done since, by the way?

And speaking of Queen, can't not mention Bohmemian Rhapsody, Radio Ga-ga, Fat Bottomed Girls (my favorite, and I don't mean the song) and Mercury's collaboration with Bowie, Under Pressure.

And no love for Police, or Sting? Every Breath You Take, King of Pain, Synchronicity 2, Fields of Gold, The Russians...

December 01, 2007 3:46 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Like Brian, I haven't done this much Youtubing (and iTuning) in a long while. Michael, that's a memoristic rendering of the '80s through its pop music.

When I first moved to the States in the late 80s, I was hungry for live Western pop/rock, having heard it only on records until then. There's an amusement park outside Buffalo called Darien Lake that used to be the best live concert venue in these parts. I remember seeing the Smithereens open for Squeeze; Debbie Harry open for the Ramones; and New Order on the Technique tour....And I had no idea about Breer and the "Blue Monday" video!

December 01, 2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Some reading:
-- Dave Kehr gives us a preview, at his blog, of the "Ford at Fox" mammoth dvd set.
-- Michael Guillen interviews Laura Linney.
-- Dan on the Romanian film fest in NYC.
-- David Bordwell on Wyler and Mizoguchi.
-- Andrew Tracy, in Reverse Shot, on No Country for Old Men.
-- Adrian's monthly column at De Filmkrant:
"Poets - at least since the silent movie days of American poet Vachel Lindsay - have always been attracted to cinema. Writing a poem in response to a film - creating a parallel text to go alongside the memory of a screening woven from thoughts, impressions, sensations, reveries born in the darkened picture theatre - is an irresistible creative gesture."

December 01, 2007 10:43 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Just added to the Netflix queue this morning:
Lubitsch's The Doll (an amazing film); Johnnie To's Exiled; Pascale Ferran's Lady Chatterley; and Superbad.

December 02, 2007 7:59 AM  
Blogger girish said...

And also, thanks to Brian, the teen film Lucas (1986) featuring Winona Ryder, which I'd never heard of.

December 02, 2007 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Best 80's pop song: "Look of love" by ABC. It has it all, the synth, the spoken word interlude, the drama.

Although I was tempted to pick some Scandal instead, in my heart I know it's ABC.

December 02, 2007 12:58 PM  
Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz said...

I'd have to go with "Melt With You." One of the greatest prom songs of all time.

December 02, 2007 1:09 PM  
Blogger Ed Howard said...

Hey Girish,
Just a reminder, as promised, that the Short Film Week blog-a-thon has started as of today. I'm working on my first entry, hopefully others are as well!

December 02, 2007 1:11 PM  
Blogger Matt Zoller Seitz said...

Addendum: Blasphemous though it may be to claim such a thing, I think Nouvelle Vague's slowed-down, reflective cover version of "I Melt With You" might be better than the original.

December 02, 2007 1:14 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Thanks for the tip of the hat, Girish.

December 02, 2007 3:46 PM  
Anonymous partisan said...

The Boys of Summer by Don Henley. For once he gets it right:

Other songs for the decade:

1980: "Cars" Gary Numan
1981 "Once in a Lifetime" Talking Heads
1982 "Avalon" Roxy Music
1983 "Every Breath you Take" The Police
1984 "Let's Go Crazy" Prince
1986 "Life in a Northern Town" The Dream Academy
1987 "With or Without You," U2
1988 "I Get Weak" Belinda Carlisle
1989 "Sad Clown" Sarah MacLachlan

By the way "Wishing if I had a Photograph" is definitely the most underrated song of all time

December 02, 2007 5:57 PM  
Blogger Peter said...

Girish: Based on the title alone my favorite new Netflix release is Shira: The Vampire Samurai starring the immortal Adrian Zmed.

I'm getting the John Brahm Fox films from the Denver Public Library this Tuesday.

December 02, 2007 7:43 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

girish, I'll be curious to hear what you think of Lucas. It's one of the films I related to and cherished most as a teenager, even though I was disappointed in the way it ended. I'm glad for a chance to see it on the big screen in February.

December 03, 2007 1:34 AM  
Blogger Pacze Moj said...

REM's "Radio Free Europe"!

...not that I'm really old enough to remember the 80s.

December 03, 2007 3:16 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, all. Ed, I look forward to reading the blog-a-thon entries.

The semester is heading off into the sunset, but not before one more week of classes (this week), final exams next week, and tons of grading before it's all over...

Some reading material:
-- Two from Jonathan Rosenbaum: first, on the films of Anna Biller, that he saw in Torino; and second, on Lubitsch and Wilder, in Stop Smiling magazine.
-- The new issue of Cineaste includes several Web exclusives.
-- Two new pieces at Order of the Exile, the Rivette website: A conversation between Rivette, Roger Leenhardt, and Louis Marcorelles; and a David Pratt-Robson-translated Rivette Cannes press conference from 1991.
-- Ian Johnston on the films of Naruse at the site Not Coming To A Theater Near You.

December 03, 2007 2:11 PM  
Anonymous Ferdy said...

Can I go with the entire Purple Rain album? If not, then "Purple Rain" followed by "When Doves Cry". Prince is the king of the 80s to me.

December 03, 2007 2:44 PM  
Anonymous jesse said...

To be honest, offhand I can't think of a single thing from the 80's that I like (well, unless I count myself, of course :D) ).

Thanks for the Hardy/Iggy duet though... I've been aware of it for a long time but had never actually sat down and listened to it.

-jesse

December 03, 2007 2:44 PM  
Blogger aaron said...

Late entry in this thread, but couldn't pass up the chance to divulge my favourite 80s pop song. It's by Dexy's Midnight Runners, sure -- but it's not "Come On Eileen" (which is great, just the same), it's "Geno", a tribute to soul singer Geno Washington. I'm told it was a smash hit in England. Also, if we're to stick with Dexy's, "The Celtic Soul Brothers" isn't too shabby (and tying it in cinematically, Jim McBride used the song in his remake of BREATHLESS).

December 04, 2007 7:35 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hi there, Ferdy, Jesse, Aaron.

I feel both excitement and ruefulness at the end of each semester: excitement because of the fresh new start and high hopes for the next semester; and ruefulness for the things that didn't get accomplished this time around. Oh well, there's always next semester...

Looking to slap up a post here at some point today.

December 05, 2007 8:52 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Everyone's listing the '80s songs you love, but what about the '80s songs that made y'all wince?. They do exist, y'know.

Click the link at your own risk. You have been warned.

December 05, 2007 8:16 PM  
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