Saturday, November 21, 2009

Your Daddy's Synthpop

“What is it about gay English synthpop duos from the ‘80s? They have style. They have relevance. They have staying power. They have a musician who is content to hide behind a computer during live shows while the singer commands the stage.”

I wrote that as the opening to a review of Pet Shop Boys’ Cubism DVD a couple of years ago. At the time I was referring specifically to the Boys and Erasure. Those same observations are also reported on and expanded upon in the excellent BBC documentary Synth Britannia.

If you’re a fan of pop music... hell, if you’re a fan of music, you need to watch this amazing documentary covering the genesis and evolution of synthpop in the UK. From the earliest heartbeats in the late ‘70s to the world-moving earthquakes of the ‘80s, this is a fantastic, uniquely British story that needed to be told. Influences like Kraftwerk and J.G. Ballard are given their due, while the growth of the genre is explored through the words and work of the people who were on the ground as the movement took shape.

Eight of the nine segments are available on YouTube. For whatever reason, that last 10-minute segment is nowhere to be found (I believe it’s a copyright issue in the US), but viewing what’s here will fuel your playlist selections for days!
(Don't believe me? Check out the tracklisting from the program listed below!)

Credit to the always great folks over at Slicing Up Eyeballs for the heads up on this.

Program Tracklist
1. Depeche Mode - New Life

2. Wendy Carlos - William Tell

3. Wendy Carlos - Clockwork Orange Main Title

4. Kraftwerk - Autobahn

5. The Clash - White Riot

6. The Normal - Tvod

7. The Normal - Warm Leatherette

8. The Future - 4 Jg

9. The Human League - Being Boiled

10. Donna Summer - I Feel Love

11. Cabaret Voltaire - Seconds Too Late

12. Cabaret Voltaire - Nag Nag Nag

13. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Messages

14. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Enola Gay

15. Joy Division - Atmosphere

16. John Foxx - Underpass

17. Throbbing Gristle - Still Walking

18. Throbbing Gristle - Hot on the Heels of Love

19. Fad Gadget - Back to Nature

20. Silicon Teens - Memphis Tennessee

21. Gary Numan - Are Friends Electric?

22. Gary Numan - Cars

23. Visage - Fade to Grey

24. The Flying Lizards - Money

25. Depeche Mode - New Life

26. Depeche Mode - Just Can't Get Enough

27. The Human League - Don't You Want Me

28. Heaven 17 - Penthouse & Pavement

29. Cabaret Voltaire - Landslide

30. Soft Cell - Tainted Love

31. Yazoo - Only You

32. Yazoo - Don't Go

33. Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Maid of Orleans

34. Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams

35. Ultravox - Vienna

36. Kraftwerk - The Model

37. Depeche Mode - Everything Counts

38. Depeche Mode - Master and Servant

39. Pet Shop Boys - West End Girls

40. New Order - Ceremony

41. New Order - Blue Monday

42. Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder - Together in Electric Dreams

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