Thursday, October 1, 2009

Italo Disco

Remember: you were a teenager, you always had your walkman on (maybe the Toshiba model that had an FM/AM radio that you could swap in and out like any other tape), you had a Ferrari Testarossa poster on your wall. The year? 1984, maybe 1985? Now you look back and think of the great music they used to play on the radio: The Cure, New Order, Echo and the Bunnymen. Well, wrong you are! What you really used to listen to was... Italian Disco!

Well, there's not much that can be salvaged from that style. It sounds horribly dated, and it was probably horrible then too, except kids didn't know any better (nothing has changed since, I'm afraid). The songs were catchy and the synthesizers were just so cool. Who cared about the lyrics, or the fact that all the songs were built the same way? Still, here's a few that aren't all that bad. Yeah, c'mon, admit it: you're gonna enjoy it and you're still gonna vote "lame" in that little box at the bottom of this post. It's ok.

Live is Life was a huge hit in around 1985. There were actually two different versions getting airplay at around the same time: one by Opus, and the other one by Stargo, and both charted (the same thing happened to Self Control: both versions, by Laura Branigan and by Raf, became big hits in 1984). For whatever reason, I hate the Opus version, and I looove the Stargo version. It has some kind of poignancy (yep). We used to all sing it aloud while playing cards after lunch at school.

Really? She's lip-syncing? No way!

Here's another one that still sounds ok: the video is awesome, with P. Lion playing the synth superimposed on pictures of children.

I'm saving the best for last. Valerie Dore wouldn't have looked out of place on a label like 4AD. It's like Lush before its time (just wait till you hear that lovely chorus), but replace the guitars with synths. Plus, she has freaky eyes:

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