Today is the first of three consecutive months of a much delayed Record Store Day 2020. I have always gone to these days since back in 2009, but this year, I am waiting for the last day of this event to be held on the last Saturday of October. The releases scheduled for today and next month really don’t interest me much, plus the pandemic is heating up in the places where I like to go. However, as much as I would LOVE to do some bin diving, I am using a laser-focused approach to RSD, which is my suggested way to attack this event. I am focused on one release in October and that’s it. But, please do enjoy the day because we need to support our independent record store owners. They have always been the lifeblood of the music industry. Plus, vinyl remains the best medium for the enjoyment of music. I know my long-time buddy Mark Kline (The man is an electronics genius, well, just a genius, but he is a huge proponent of Tidal. God bless him! I’ve always needed his expert advice in my life.) will disagree, but when it comes to my music, I prefer the old-fashioned method.
So, let’s jump into this crystal clear pool of water known as Day 3 of 1987.
The Cult – Electric (1987). The Cult was probably the first band that metalheads and Goth kids could agree upon. And, this album, one of the first non-rap Rick Rubin productions, exploded from my speakers just begging to be cranked. Their uncanny mix of alternative trappings and Zeppelin-esque power chords propelled The Cult into a higher echelon of popularity.
The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987). They finally did it! The Cure broke through the American market for some well-deserved commercial success. Is this their best album? Not really. Remember, this is a double album, so there is a little filler. However, it contains quite possibly the quintessential Cure pop song in “Just Like Heaven.” I just smiled when the rest of the world latched unto a band I had been praising forever.
The Dukes of Stratosphear – Psonic Psunspot (1987). The Dukes of Stratosphear were actually XTC, and 1987 ended up being a HUGE year for XTC. This album represented the second release for the band. On this one, The Dukes pay homage to the psychedelic bands of the mid-Sixties, most notably the Syd Barrett-led Pink Floyd, as well as a plethora of other bands found on the Nuggets CD box sets. This is a brilliant piece of an Eighties update of a Sixties sound that LA’s Paisley Underground (a loose coterie of musicians that included The Bangles, The Three O’Clock, Dream Syndicate, The Rain Parade, among others) was doing at the time, only the Dukes were honoring the English side of things. Remains one of my favorites for the year.
The Sisters of Mercy – Floodland (1987). What can you say about a Goth band who took their band name from a Leonard Cohen song? I came for the band’s name, but there moody music made me stay. This album represents another step toward a thing called industrial rock that would become epitomized by Nine Inch Nails, though The Sisters are NOT as aggressive. This band is a harder edged Cocteau Twins.
The Smiths – Louder than Bombs (1987). So sue me! Yes, this is technically a compilation album, but of non-album singles, B-sides and other oddities. Yet, the double album plays like a studio album. It is perhaps, the band’s last great statement.
U2 – The Joshua Tree (1987). This is the album which made U2 the kings of our generation, musically speaking. And, the megastardom was much deserved. This remains a terrific artistic statement without ever sacrificing the band’s sincerity or power. Side 1 remains as good of a side of an album as has even been put to wax.
Warren Zevon – Sentimental Hygiene (1987). By 1987, Zevon was wasting his talent a bit through drink. Then, he hooked up with the members of R.E.M. to form a band they called The Hoodoo Gurus and record a few songs, most notably a terrific reworking of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret.” After that artistic success, the group went into the studio to record a Zevon album, and this is their result – the best Zevon album of the Eighties.
Whitesnake – Whitesnake (1987). I’ve never really been a fan of the band with the most racist/sexist name on the planet. But, this album is catchy. And, for a brief shining moment, both the band and Tawny Kittan reached superstar status. But, I do give credit where credit is due, and this guys did hit paydirt.
XTC – Skylarking (1987). As I said earlier, XTC had a big 1987. This album actually got the whole thing rolling as they paid homage to Sgt. Pepper on that album’s 20th anniversary by doing an updated reworked version of it. Produced by rock god Todd Rundgren, the band fulfilled all of their artistic potential on this album and followed it up with their brilliant Dukes persona. Plus, how can you deny an album that had a left field hit with a song about atheism that was originally intended as a B-side? As I will continue to say, “Only in the Eighties.”
That makes 622 albums down now. Peace.